As pre-teens, brothers Rudy and Steve Salas performed in Los Angeles, California's greater Eastside community rock ‘n’ roll dance circuit, playing a cross-genre style of music incorporating elements of rock and pop as well as R&B, jazz, and salsa. The Salas brothers were joined by David Torres and Andre Baeza to form the band El Chicano, which evolved into Tierra with the addition of Bobby Navarrete, Joey Guerra, Steve Falomir and Philip Madayag in the early 1970s.
With a distinct Latin-influenced R&B sound, Tierra broke out of the L.A. scene in 1980 with their national hit version of the Intruders' Together, which reached Number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. As the first Latino band to have four songs on the national chart, Tierra made Chicano R&B a forum for social commentary and paved the way for other Chicano and Latino artists like fellow Eastside natives Los Lobos and Miami’s Gloria Estefan.
Although their national success was limited to the early '80s, Tierra persisted and the group has released over a dozen albums since their formation almost forty years ago and is an enduring presence in the Latin R&B genre. Hailed as the “Best R&B Vocal Group” by Billboard Magazine and others, Tierra has had a lasting impact on the popular music of America.