Four East Los Angeles high school buddies formed Los Lobos (Spanish for “the wolves”) in 1973, bought traditional Mexican instruments at pawn shops and learned the norteño music of their forefathers.
They eventually incorporated electric instruments and in 1983, with The Blasters’ saxophonist Steve Berlin (who later joined the band), recorded an independent EP called . . . And A Time To Dance.
Produced by T-Bone Burnett it sold only 50,000 copies but it won many critics’ praise, and the band used the profits to buy a second-hand Dodge van and embark on their first tour of the US.
David Hidalgo and Louie Perez worked on songs for their first full-length album, How Will The Wolf Survive? – at the home of Perez’s brother-in-law. One of the songs they wrote in those sessions was A Matter Of Time – a touching ballad about a Mexican crossing the border and looking for a better world.
They entered the studio early in 1984 – once more with T-Bone Burnett. Basic tracks were recorded at the Capitol studio in LA, with overdubs and vocals recorded at a garage studio belonging to a friend of Burnett’s. Additional tracks were cut at the Warner Bros. studios.
In 1987 they contributed music to La Bamba (1987), the film based on the life of Ritchie Valens, a Chicano pop star. Los Lobos did a spirited rendition of the traditional wedding song La Bamba, with jaunty percussion and a sing-along rhythm. The single hit the #1 spot in both the US and UK charts.
Vocals, accordion, guitar
Vocals, guitar, mandolin
Drums, guitar, requinto