The Five Most Blatant Rock En Español Ripoffs of English-Language Songs

Categories: Español Music
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E tu Cafe Tacuba?

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As if you needed another excuse to hate Mexicans and their Latino cousins, here's another one: rock en español artists are some of the most notorious rhythm robbers on the planet.

At its best, this genre combines the rhythms of its native lands with influences from the rest of the world. At its worst, however, it's just straightforward hijacking of the grooves of a group (usually from the 1980s), hijacks that happened because they knew said bands would never pay attention and get angry, and because us Latinos are already used to pirateria to begin with.

Most Latinos will know this list, but for you gabachos who've never bothered with Latin alternative because you're afraid of listening to music in Spanish that's not the mariachi at your favorite Sunday brunch, prepare to be as flabbergasted as Artie Lange was when he realized Led Zeppelin ripped off a bunch of African-American artists for their music.

1. Los Teen Tops' "La Plaga" versus Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly

This game started early--like, 1950s early. One of the first rock 'n' roll groups in Mexico, Los Teen Tops, made their name by shamelessly taking the entire song structure of "Good Golly Miss Molly"--the piano, the screamed lyrics, the bass, almost everything except the original's bawdy lyrics.

One of the members of Los Teen Tops, Enrique Guzman, would continue the rip-off game via his daughter, Alejandra Guzman, who covered her dad's rip-off in the 1980s.

2. Enanitos Verdes' "Guitarra Blancas" versus the Police's "Driven to Tears

Enanitos Verdes is one of the longer-lasting groups in rock en Español, Argentines who get little critical acclaim but sell out shows because of their easy-going arena rock. "Guitarras Blancas" is a classic, written at the end of the Dirty War, a cry by Argentina's youth for the dictatorship to let them live. If it's frenetic energy seems to sound like the Police, it's because its opening guitar rhythm...

...comes directly from the Police's "Driven to Tears." Fast-forward to about 2:30, and you'll find a surprise!

3. Early Caifanes versus The Cure


Caifanes remain one of the titans of rock en español, but in the early days they were a blatant Cure ripoff--just look at that album cover! From the shaky lettering (aping the Cure's "Pornography") to the ratty hair and their songs about doom and gloom, I'm surprised Robert Smith never filed a restraining order against them. Thankfully, leader Saul Hernández evolved his gloom, looking inward toward indigenous Mexico and arena rock, so his youthful days of un-originality are excused.

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