This page features related musical artists who have passed
on, "related" meaning to the the content of this website,
i.e. Chicano, Latino, Tejano, Eastside Sound, and East L.A.
musicians. Also included are some who were influential
contributors to Chicano culture in general.
wrote two #1 hits, "Undercover Angel," as a solo artist, and
"Angie Baby," by Helen Ready. He also co-wrote "Rock &
Roll Heaven," by the Righteous Brothers. Alan O'Day passed
away at the age of 72 on May 17, 2013 after a long battle with
brain cancer. Alan grew up in Coachella, CA where he was a
member of local bands as a teenager, including the Renes, who
consisted of Alan and six Chicanos. I met Alan through my
friend, publicist Joe Ortiz, who played a couple of Alan's
I had the pleasure of knowing him, as well as doing a gig and
session with him. Although he had a home in Westwood, CA
and also lived in Nashville, TN in recent years, Alan will be
laid to rest in his beloved Coachella.
songwriter, arranger, who was a member of the original Tierra in
1972, participating on their first two albums. After
attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he was
keyboardist and arranger for Poncho Sanchez for 22 years.
He was an extraordinary musician who had the respect of all his
peers, and most importantly a beloved person. David passed
away on April 9, 2013 of a brain aneurysm.
David Torres is far left
keyboardist, who was
an original member of Yaqui in the early 70s. Larry's
father owned Cronen's music store in Montebello, CA, a place
where many East L.A. musicians bought musical equipment in the
60s and beyond. Larry passed away on April 9, 2013.
Larry Cronen top right
Robert "Bobby" Gurrola
guitarist with the
popular 1960s East L.A. band, The Counts. Bobby's first
band was Bobby & the Esquires, in which he was a singer and lead
guitarist. Bobby passed away on September 25, 2012 from
prostate cancer. Click
to visit a webpage dedicated to his life.
(b. Blake Baker Cunningham, Jr.)
singer/songwriter/musician/recording engineer from Memphis,
Tennessee. B.B. co-wrote and sang the 1967 hit song, "Let
It All Hang Out," with his band The Hombres. B.B.'s song
was later covered by John Mellencamp. In 1997 he joined
Jerry Lee Lewis as his bassist, a job he held for the last 16
years. In 1972, B.B. engineered eight of my songs
including perhaps my best recording, "I'm Brown." I had
the pleasure of recording with B.B. at Independent Studios in
Studio City in 1972. John Valenzuela, Rick Rosas, Ernie
Hernandez and I enjoyed working with B.B. and thought he
captured our sound better than anyone we had worked with.
He was a gentle soul and very easy to work with. B.B.
Cunningham had been working as a security guard due to Jerry
Lee's less frequent touring in recent years. Tragically,
on October 13, 2012. B.B. was shot and killed after he came to
the aid of another security guard during a shootout at the
Memphis apartment complex where they worked, according to
police. B.B. Cunningham was 70 years old.
Mexican boxer, who
was the number one contender for the lightweight title in the
late forties. He was a great, and very popular fighter in
his time, particularly in Los Angeles, where his fights would
regularly sell out the Olympic Auditorium. His record was
79-22-5, with 44 knockouts. Before Oscar De La Hoya, Bobby
Chacon, Mando Ramos, and Art Aragon, there was Enrique Bolaños.
Bolaños passed away on Monday, June 4, 2012 in Pasadena,
California at the age of 87 of heart failure. Enrique was my nino (godfather).
rock and jazz
guitarist and educator, played with many East L.A. bands
including The Royal Checkmates, The Runabouts, Sly, Slick, & the
Wicked, Thee Midniters, After Dark, Backstreet, Yesterday's
Dream, and the Mad Latins. Lemos, who grew up in City
Terrace, earned a Phd in information systems and was a professor
at Cal State Los Angeles. Ron Lemos, who had been battling
colon cancer for years, passed away at the age of 63 at his home
in Walnut, CA on March 3, 2012.
long time bassist
for Tierra passed away due to a stroke on January 21, 2012 in
Tierra (c. early 80s)
Steve Falomir is front left
a talented and respected guitarist/saxophonist who played sax with
The Premiers of "Farmer John" fame in the mid-60s and guitar
with Ruben & the Jets, produced by Frank Zappa, in the early 70s. Tony passed away
at his home in Bruceville, Texas on December 19, 2011 at the age
of 66 after a two year battle with prostate cancer. Tony
also played on tracks on several Frank Zappa and The Mothers
albums. Duran also toured with Zappa's Grand Wazoo
Orchestra, as well as The Mothers in 1972. A true veteran
of and contributor to the "Eastside Sound," Tony also played
with Thee Ambertones in the 60s, Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia in
the 70s, and Little Willie G. of Thee Midniters in the 80s.
Tony Duran was buried at Oak Wood Cemetery in Waco, Texas on Dec 21st,
here to view his obituary.
The Premiers (c.
Tony Duran is far left holding
Tony Duran (early
painter/muralist/sculptor passed away July 24, 2011
at the age of 70 after a long battle with cancer. "Magu"
was part of the ground breaking legendary artist's group Los
Four in the early 70s. His work was featured in museums
and galleries, as well as in the Hollywood & Vine subway station
and other public places. He was one of the first Chicano
artists to establish an international career.
legendary saxophonist and vocalist, who played and recorded with
great and diverse artists such as Lionel Hampton, Ray Charles,
Spike Jones, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, Duane Eddy, Big Mama
Thornton, and Ry Cooder. He played on Cooder's 2003
"Chavez Ravine" CD, including on Lalo Guerrero's new version
"Los Chucos Suaves." Gil Bernal passed away on July 17,
2011 of congestive heart failure at the age of 80. Gil's
saxophone graced classic records such as "Rebel Rouser" by Duane
Eddy, and "Youngblood," "Searchin'," and "Smokey Joe's Cafe" by
a talented East L.A
guitarist/vocalist who was part of
the "Eastside Sound" in the 1960s, having been a member of many
bands most notably, The Emeralds. He also
worked as a recording engineer at Capitol Records in the '80s.
His main instruments were trumpet and guitar and he was a good
vocalist. Bones passed
away at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, California on July 3,
Thee Emeralds (c.
Sammy "Bones" Ramos (front
Tejano music pioneer and innovator, passed
away on January 29, 2011 at the age of 66. Tony was born in San Angelo, Texas
in 1944. In 1968, after
graduating from Berklee School of Music in Boston,
Guerrero returned to Texas with his trumpet and jazz
stylings and incorported them into Tejano music as a
member of Little Joe & the Latineers. In 1973, he
formed his own band, Tortilla Factory, who toured
extensively and spread the new sound though Texas,
California, Illinois, and other parts of the U.S.
Tortilla Factory was nominated for a Grammy award in
2006 and were also inducted into the Tejano Hall of
Fame. Tony's son, Alfredo Antonio Guerrero, who's a member of Tortilla Factory will carry on the
the band and his father's legacy.
alto saxophonist and co-founder of The
Mixtures passed away at the age of 69 on December 26, 2010 in San Diego,
from complications of prostate cancer. To fans of
the "Eastside Sound," The Mixtures are best known for two
of their classic recordings, "Olive Oyl" and "Stompin' At the
Rainbow." After playing with The Mixtures and a
stint in the army, Jess earned bachelors and masters
degrees in speech pathology and audiology at San Diego
State. He was a professor at his alma mater,
teaching teachers in the fields of special education and
here to go to a Jess Porras memorial page.
The Mixtures (c.
Jess Porras (standing center)
original bassist for The Premiers passed away on December
22, 2010 at home in Cathedral City, California at the age of 65
from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Premiers,
whose record "Farmer
John" reached number 19 on the national charts in 1964,
were the first East L.A. band to score a national hit.
Frank Zuniga is survived by his wife of 44 years, Joanne and his
three children Frankie, Tony, and Juanita.
The Premiers (c.
Frank Zuniga (top center
A. Velasquez aka "Spider"
lead guitarist with 60s
East L.A. band, The Desires passed away on Sunday
November 28th, 2010 in West Covina, CA at the age of 65.
Velasquez was co-writer of the "Eastside Sound" classic
"Dance With Me," which was first recorded by his band
and later by The Blendells and Mark & the Escorts in the
mid-60s. Velasquez later played with Little Willie
G. of Thee Midniters and God's Children, who had both
Little Ray Jimenez and the aforementioned Little Willie
G. as lead vocalists. He also served in the U.S.
army from 1963-1967. Stationed in Germany he
served as an engineer on the Pershing Missile Project,
earning him three distinct service medals.
timbalero, percussionist, band leader, and composer passed away
on November 4th, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 67.
Rudy was a member of El Chicano starting in the early 1970s and
in recent years up to the time of his passing. Regalado
was also a member of Yaqui in the early 70s and his own group,
Chevere, in recent years.
Richard "Scar" Lopez
founding member of Cannibal &
the Headhunters, the East Los Angeles vocal group that
scored a national hit in 1965 with their version of
"Land of a Thousand Dances." Lopez passed away at
the age of 65 of lung cancer on July 30, 2010 in a
convalescent hospital in Garden Grove, California.
Cannibal & the
Richard "Scar" Lopez
(2nd from left)
whose spectacular success teaching advanced
mathematics to students who had been considered "unteachable" at
East L.A.'s Garfield High School attracted national attention.
His story was told in the acclaimed film "Stand and Deliver"
(1988), and Escalante became a national hero. Jaime
Escalante passed away at the age of 79 after a long battle with
cancer on March 30, 2010.
keyboardist for 60s "Eastside Sound" band
Ronnie & the Pomona Casuals, passed away on March 19,
2010 at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California..
Although the band was based in Pomona, they were managed
by Billy Cardenas and were part of the East L.A. circuit
in the 1960s. Les passed away on March 19, 2010 at
Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California.
Latin percussionist, perhaps best
known for his work with Coke and Pete Escovedo in the
group Azteca, passed away on March 12, 2010. Known
by his fellow musicians as "El Negrito," Victor was a
product of Spanish Harlem. Pantoja also worked
with luminaries such as Willie Bobo, Cal Tjader, Gabor
Szabo, Herbie Hancock, Santana, Malo, Stan Kenton, and
(born Candido Albelando Vasquez)
founding member of Redbone
with his brother Pat, Tony Bellamy, and Pete "Walking
Bear" DePoe, passed away March 4, 2010 at his home in
Reseda, California at the age of 70. Lolly was an extremely
talented singer/songwriter and guitarist, who wrote and
sang Redbone's biggest hit "Come and Get Your Love."
founding keyboardist of El Chicano, passed
away Saturday, February 28, 2010 at White Memorial
hospital in East Los Angeles at the age of 60. His Hammond B3 sound
and style was an integral part of El Chicano's sound,
which graced their live shows and recordings.
Bobby's distinctive organ style was featured on El
Chicano's first hit record,"Viva Tirado" and his piano
and organ work contributed to the success of of their
1973 hit "Tell Her She's Lovely."
here to see video tribute to Bobby Espinoza
(born Anthony Avila)
and founding member of Redbone, passed away on Christmas
morning, December 25, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age
Redbone became established as a
Native-American rock group in the 1970s. They reached the
Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1974 with the hit
song, "Come and Get Your Love."
Tony Bellamy grew up in a family
of dancers and musicians and learned to play the flamenco
guitar as part of his musical education. Before
joining the band Redbone, Tony had performed with Dobie Gray and was a member of the San Francisco band,
Peter and the Wolves, that evolved into the psychedelic band
Redbone (c. 1972)
Tony Bellamy (2nd from left)
San Fernando, CA based singer/guitarist, who
served as lead vocalist for Tierra in the 90s and early
2000s, passed away on August 31st, 2009. Isaac also played with The Company Band and his own band,
folk musician, singer/songwriter, and half of the successful
folk duo Bud & Travis from 1958 to 1965, passed away on
Sunday, May 11th, 2009 at the age of 76. He grew up
in the Arizona border town of Nogales from where he would
often cross the border as a teenager and listen to mariachis
and soak up the music and culture of Mexico. Travis
spearheaded bringing Mexican music into the folk era of the
’60s and it was thanks to him that many non-Latino Americans
heard the old Mexican songs for the first time.
In this way Travis helped expand
the audience for Spanish-language songs in America.
Bud & Travis made about 10 albums and were often on the
bill with the likes of the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul &
Mary. They also recorded versions of “La Bamba”
and "Malaguena Salerosa," which reportedly sold
a million copies in the 1950s. I
had the pleasure to first meet Travis with my dad, Lalo, in
the 70s in Tucson, where he lived from around that time until
his passing. He was very charismatic and a very nice
man, as well as a talented musician and performer. I
wouldn't meet him again until the last few years of his life
when he was in a wheelchair and having other health problems.
Despite these challenges, he maintained a positive outlook
and kept in touch with music the best he could. He was
a special man and will be missed.
poet, author, scholar, and professor at U.C. Berkeley, passed
away in July of 2008. In April 2005, at Alfred's invitation,
I went up to Berkeley to speak about Chicano music at one
of his classes. After my presentation, we had
lunch with several of his students and had some great conversation
and a good time. In June of 2006, I took my band and
performed in Riverside, CA at an event to raise funds for Arteaga's medical procedure in Thailand. In March of
2007, I went back to the Bay area to do a lecture/performance
for Cesar Chavez day at the Marin County Civic Center.
I e mailed Alfred to let him know about it. He showed
up. Afterwords he and I, along with songwriter pc Muñoz
and Assistant public defender Jose Varela, went to lunch at
a Chinese restaurant and had some more great conversation.
Alfredo had lost a lot of weight and looked great. He
was soon to take some time off from teaching so he could travel.
That was the last time I spoke with or saw him. Alfredo
Arteaga was a great person, aside from being a brilliant poet
and scholar. My article on my trip up to Berkeley is
at this link: www.markguerrero.net/misc_38.php.
here to read an article on Alfredo Arteaga and his passing.
Latin jazz musician and band leader passed away Wednesday,
April 2, 2008 in Los Angeles. Sal started with the Armenta
Brothers and went on to form his own group the Sal Chico Band,
who was very popular in the 60s in East L.A. and around Southern
California. He retired from his band in the early 70s
after which Joe Espinoza, formerly of the Village Callers,
took it over. He renamed the band Chico in his honor,
and has kept it going ever since.
(born Baldemar Huerta)
Texas-Mexico border singer,
who scored major hits with "Before the Next Teardrop
Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,"
passed away Saturday, October 14, 2006 in his hometown of
Corpus Christi, Texas. He was diagnosed with lung cancer
in early 2006.
The Texas Tornadoes
Freddy Fender (3rd from left)
(born Daniel Flores)
keyboardist, singer, and leader of The Champs passed away on September
19, 2006 in Huntington Beach, California at the age of 77.
He's best known as writer of the classic song "Tequila,"
which was released in January of 1958. He used the name
Chuck Rio as writer of "Tequila" because he was
signed to a different record label at the time. He continued
to use Chuck Rio as a stage name thereafter.
Chuck Rio (2nd from right)
Dick "Huggy Boy" Hugg
jockey, who was beloved by the Latino community in Southern
California for over five decades, passed away on August 30,
2006. Huggy Boy first began broadcasting with an all-night
show from the front window of Dolphin's
of Hollywood record store on East Vernon Avenue
beginning in 1951. He worked for many radio stations
in Los Angeles, including KRLA and KRTH.
talented brass man and arranger for Thee Midniters
since their early days in the 60s, passed away on March 25th,
2006 at Queen of Angels Hospital in West Covina, California.
tenor sax player with The Romancers in the early 60s, passed
away on May 23, 2005. Armando played sax on The Romancer's
instrumental albums "Do the Slauson" and "Do
the Swim," both on the DelFi label. It's Armando
Mora playing both saxes on the best known, and my favorite
track on the former album, "Slauson Shuffle."
Click here to read my article on The
The "Father of Chicano music," and my father, passed away
on March 17, 2005 in Rancho Mirage, CA at the age of 88.
Read about his memorial services on my website at the following
links: Palm Springs Services,
Lalo Guerrero (c.
Chicano musician/composer/arranger Don Tosti passed away,
August 2, 2004, at his home in Palm Springs, CA at the age
of 81. Read about his extraordinary life and career
on "My Chicano Music Articles" page, article
Don Tosti (c.
former vocalist with the duo Meep Meep & the Roadrunner,
passed away March 8, 2004. His duo recorded a single
for Eddie Davis' Boomerang label in the early 60s, produced
by Billy Cardenas and backed by Ronnie & the Casuals.
The songs recorded were "Justine" and "B Flat
Blues." Billy Cardenas called me and asked me to
put this information up on my website.
influential lead guitarist for The Blendells in the 1960s,
passed away December 26, 2003. The Blendells, from East
L.A., scored a national hit record with "La La La La
La" in 1965. Rudy and his music will be missed.
The Blendells (c.
Rudy Valona (front row right)
vocalist and pianist, who was half of the vocal duo
of Phil and Harv, passed away on February 11, 2001 in Oxnard, CA
at the age of 59. The duo was part of The Mixtures that
did several records with Phil, including the popular "Eastside
Sound" classic "Darling." The song was later covered by
East L.A.'s Salas Brothers, Steve and Rudy, who later formed the
hit band Tierra. Click
here to go to a Phillip Earl Tucker memorial page.
original member of Cannibal &
the Headhunters passed away on May 24, 2000. Along with
his brother Robert "Rabbit" Jaramillo, Richard "Scar"
Lopez, and Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia, Joe toured
with The Beatles in 1965 as a result of their national hit
record "Land of a Thousand Dances."
Cannibal & the
Headhunters (c. 1965)
Joe "Yo Yo" Jaramillo (top left)
lead vocalist who
began his career in the mid-60s with Thee Enchantments, who were
part of the golden age of the "Eastside Sound" in East Los
Angeles. In the late 60s, Serrano was a member of Cannibal
& the Headhunters with Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia. In the
early 70s, he shared lead vocal duties with George Ochoa in Olde
Tyme Religion (Warner Brothers Records) and Yaqui (Playboy
Records). He picked up again singing with Frankie Garcia
in Cannibal & the Headhunters and took over the Cannibal role
with Frankie's blessings when Garcia retired due to health
issues. Eddie Serrano passed away at Los Angeles County/USC
Medical Center on Tuesday August 25, 1998 from injuries he
sustained on August 17, 1998 when he was hit by a hit and run
driver near Monterey Road and Huntington Drive in the South
Yaqui (c. 1972)
Serrano is back row right)
lead singer of Cannibal & the
Headhunters passed away on January 21, 1996.
Frankie, who grew up in East Los Angeles, came up with
the "na na na na na" hook on the group's 1965 hit record
"Land of a Thousand Dances." Cannibal & the
Headhunters toured with The Beatles that year, starting
with the historic show at Shea Stadium in New York.