In the 1960s young Nuyoricans (Puerto Ricans born in New York) expressed their mixed cultural experience in the style of the Latin boogaloo, which combined the rhythms of the cha cha cha, son montuno and pachanga with an R&B back beat. Early precedents for this kind of mix included Ray Barretto’s 1961 hit, El Watusi.
In 1966 the term “boogaloo” first appeared in song and album titles of Nuyorican musicians such as Ritchie Ray and Joe Cuba (perhaps inspired by Detroit R&B duo Tom and Jerrio’s 1965 album, Boo-Ga-Loo). Boogaloo songs mixed Spanish and English lyrics and often included the shouts and exclamations of a raucous house party, reflecting the social environment in which the music was enjoyed. A few boogaloo songs, such as Joe Cuba’s 1966 hit, Bang Bang, also made it onto Top 40 radio.
Some veteran bandleaders at first dismissed the style as a no-talent teenage fad, but in the late 1960s they rushed to cash in on its success. The Latin boogaloo had faded by 1970 (displaced by salsa), but its mixture of Latino and African American musical influences established a model that continued to shape other musical genres, such as salsa, R&B, disco and hip-hop.