The San Francisco Story
“Latin rock” grew out of a diverse and innovative music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area, shaped by the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.
Following World War II, San Francisco’s Mission District was home to Latinos from many countries. Latin music clubs in the Mission, North Beach and Broadway hosted both Mexican and Caribbean acts with Cal Tjader’s Latin jazz quintet gaining national attention in the 1950s.
In the mid-1960s, the United Farm Workers’ strike, led by César Chavez and Dolores Huerta, coincided with the founding of the Black Panthers in Oakland, the free speech movement in Berkeley and with a growing anger over the disproportionate sacrifices of Black, Chicano and Puerto Rican soldiers in the Vietnam War. This multi-racial political activism in the Bay Area had a musical counterpart in innovative and racially integrated bands like Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Tower of Power, Malo and Azteca.