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.