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

Categories: Español Music
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E tu Cafe Tacuba?

See Also:
*Cafe Tacuba - The Observatory - 8/13/12
*Tri Tone FINALLY Gives Southern California a Latin Alternative Music Festival
* Leo Dan Brings Latin Baby-Makin' Music to West Coast Theater

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.jpg

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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23 comments
ReynSilver
ReynSilver

" I didn't grow up with New Wave music, so the first time I heard this song, I assumed it was by Venegas"

 

And THAT says it all.  I did grow up listening to New Wave music, and then moved to Mexico in the 90's where I was introduced to Cafe Tacuba, Caifanes, and Julieta at the height of the movement. I never saw rip-offs (except for the "look" Caifanes had, but Soda Stereo also had that look, it was the style). Caifanes already had pre-hispanic sounds and influence in their first album

 

Your other correlations may be right, but for these three artists, you are just dead wrong- you have to try REALLY hard to even imagine a so-called rip-off. 

obdumey
obdumey

"As if you needed another excuse to hate Mexicans and their Latino cousins..."Um... what? 

Tammy Wong
Tammy Wong

Every country rips off "American" music. It's a compliment. Y'all had nothing better to write about?!

Esther Landin
Esther Landin

They forgot to add Selena's "Fotos y Recuerdos" and The Pretender's "Back on the Chain Gang" to the list.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano

@lillitot When I learn Euskadi, I'll do that list, then!

Joel Montes
Joel Montes

also, I doubt The The has a monopoly on the accordion. Particularly when German Polka music has be present in the SW USA and Northern Mexico since the first German immigrants arrived in the late 19th Century. Don't mean to be apologetic for Latin Rock, but the review lacks substantial research...

Joel Montes
Joel Montes

I would propose, although sacreligous, El Tri, as the most unoriginal rock en espanol band of all time. They were a direct rip off of AC/DC with their fanatical followers acting more like punks at a gig at the Olympic than heavy metal head bangers

Joel Montes
Joel Montes

to go halfway back with you for the fun of it. Caifanes, in their first album where already incorporating indigenous and Mexican music, as well as reinterpreting classic "latin" choruses. Beside the fact that the Cure "borrowed" from other bands before them, precluding them from being the sole "death rock, gothic, et al" band of the late 70's and on, I think your point is moot

Joel Montes
Joel Montes

I thought every modern pop band was a rip off of The Beatles, Beach Boys, or Rolling Stones. And every alternative band was a rip off of The Stooges, Velvet Underground, or Ramones. Guess I was wrong...

vjcorona55
vjcorona55

@DuranSports Now you got me thinking about who said that on a commercial. "Diga no a la pirateria"

gabbyglez
gabbyglez

Can someone help me figure you who ripped off who?  Compare La Ley's "Fuera de Mi" and Switchfoot's "Dare You to Move"  specially the chorus.  When I first heard "Dare You to Move" as background music for the movie "A Walk to Remember" I thought it was La Ley.  Does anybody know what I'm talking about?  I even played both at the same time on the chorus and it sounds the same.

tomleykis
tomleykis

@GustavoArellano Anything by Maná = bad Sting impression.

serafin3020
serafin3020

Mikel Erextun's "Esta Luz No Se Apagará" was a sampling of The Smith's version "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out"

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano

@tomleykis The Professor knows to trash Maná?! You really do know it ALL!

Twiggystar
Twiggystar

@tomleykis @gustavoarellano Any Mana song it's worse than all the teeny Disney kids and boy bands combine! They have 'Angel' in every song!

Twiggystar
Twiggystar

@GustavoArellano seriously 'tocayo' o es 'tocallo' ? Mana it's the worse thing to ever happen to México. Worse than El Cartel & PRI.

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