Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
In 1962 while watching a bullfight in Tijuana,...more »
Alice Bag
L.A.'s first female punk lead-singer was...more »
The Premiers
Performing across the nation in Dick Clark...more »
1954: Operation Wetback
After World War II, American attitudes toward...more »
1968: Brown Berets/East LA Walkouts
Using their uniforms to express “Brown Pride,”...more »
1970: Chicano Moratorium Committee
The Chicano Moratorium Committee formed in 1970...more »
1943: Zoot Suit Riots
Despite the fact that many young Mexican...more »
Don Tosti
An accomplished jazz musician and composer, Don...more »
Linda Ronstadt
Previous generations of Mexican American...more »
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
In 1962 while watching a bullfight in Tijuana,...more »
Cannibal and the Headhunters
Enamored by Cannibal and the Headhunters...more »
The Zoot Suit
Accepted neither as American or Mexican, U.S.-...more »
Pachuco Boogie
Pachuco boogie was Mexican American dance music...more »
The Bullfight
In 1962, while watching a bullfight in Tijuana...more »
El Monte Legion Stadium, San Gabriel Valley, 1960s
Teenagers of all races from all over Los...more »
As pre-teens, brothers Rudy and Steve Salas...more »
El Chicano
El Chicano had a hit in 1970 with Viva Tirado....more »
East L.A.-based band Quetzal mixes Mexican and...more »
Los Illegals
In the early 1980s Los Illegals spotlighted the...more »
The Brat
The Brat released their 1980 EP Attitudes on...more »
Rosie Mendez-Hamlin
In 1959, 14 year-old Mexican American Rosie...more »
Los Lobos
Los Lobos is one of most original, eclectic,...more »
Los Lobos Poster
Los Lobos helped East L.A.’s signature...more »
Lyrics to "The Neighborhood"
Lyrics written by Louie Perez of Los Lobos....more »
Ritchie "Valenzuela" Valens' 1958...more »
Ritchie Valens
Born Richard Valenzuela, Ritchie Valens was the...more »
Canciones de mi Padre
Backed by Mariachi Vargas, one of Mexico’s finest...more »
El Vez
El Vez, the Elvis translator, brings the...more »
Lalo Guerrero
Known as the “Father of Chicano Music,...more »
East Side Revue Poster
The West Coast East Side Revue at Shrine...more »
The Plugz Poster
Young musicians in Los Angeles continue to...more »
30 Seconds Over Portland Concert
Featuring The Bags with lead singer Alice Bag....more »
The Brat at Club Vex
In East L.A., Club Vex unleashed bands that...more »
La Brat Concert Poster
In the late 1970s, disenfranchised Mexican-...more »
Memory Dance Poster
In the early 1960s, the “Eastside sound...more »
St. Aphinsus Youth Club Presents:
Teen Dance & Show...more »
Los Illegals
Los Illegals, formed in 1979, were an...more »
Since releasing its debut album in 2003, Proyecto...more »
Mark Guerrero and Tango
Mark Guerrero with Chicano Rock band Tango....more »
Left to Right: Ernie Hernandez, Richard Rosas,...more »

The Los Angeles Story

Shaped by its historical and geographical connection to Mexico and its unique intersection of multicultural communities, the rock and roll scene in Los Angeles influenced the nation.

By the 1920s Los Angeles was the west coast’s major hub for Spanish language music recordings and live performances by Latino artists from the Southwest, New York and the Caribbean. During the Great Depression the mass deportation of U.S. citizens of Mexican descent devastated the thriving Latino music scene. But, after World War II, a new generation began to create a unique scene.

The majority of children of Mexican American veterans returning from WWII primarily spoke English and grew up in multicultural working-class neighborhoods east of downtown. The Mexican American sound they created was characterized by its give-and-take with African American musical communities south of downtown, English language lyrics and Latin American musical traditions. The vigorous R&B, rock and roll, punk and hip-hop scenes of L.A.’s Chicano Eastside have helped shape American popular music, even as the constant infusion of immigrant laborers from Mexico and Central America continue to provide new musical ideas and identities.

Interviews & Commentary

We were basically singing, doing our whole set dodging stuff, dude, through our entire set, but we played the whole set, and then YNT asked us to go back to their dressing...
Willie Herron
Playing for the Busboys
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Jukebox Highlights
Los Angeles