MUSICAL STYLE

Pachuco Boogie

Pachuco boogie was a Mexican American dance music that alternated between African American and Afro-Caribbean styles. In the late 1930s young Mexican American men and women rejected by both American and Mexican society invented a counterculture that expressed social tensions through attitude, fashion, dance and eclectic musical tastes. Known as pachucos and pachucas, they favored zoot suits and big band swing.

In the late 1940s Don Tosti, a Mexican American composer from Texas who moved to Los Angeles as a teen, and Lalo Guerrero, a Mexican American guitarist from Arizona now known as the "Father of Chicano Music," created Mexican American jump blues, or pachuco boogie, which used swing, boogie woogie and rumba rhythms with lyrics in Spanish and caló, the pachuco’s hipster language. Recorded in 1948, Tosti's Pachuco Boogie was the first million-selling Latin song.

Pachuco boogie exuberantly transformed the painful “in-between” experience of Mexican American fans, brought together Chicano, Anglo and African American audiences and laid the foundation of Chicano music.

Don Tosti
Pachuco Boogie
El Monte Legion Stadium, San Gabriel Valley, 1960s
Lalo Guerrero
The Latin Grammy Awards