Cannibal & the Headhunters

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Cannibal & the Headhunters
Cannibal & the Headhunters.png
Cannibal & the Headhunters in 1966
Background information
Origin East Los Angeles, United States
Members Robert Zapata - drums
Charlie Munoz - lead vocal
Dean Roubieck - guitar
Ron Reyes - lead guitar
Karl Carrasco - keyboard
Dave Goldstein - keyboard
Art Sanchez - bass
Past members Frankie (Cannibal) Garcia
Robert Jaramillo
Joe Jaramillo
Richard Lopez

Cannibal & the Headhunters are an American band from East Los Angeles. They were one of the first Mexican-American groups to have a national hit record, "Land of a Thousand Dances", recorded on the Rampart label. They were the opening act on The Beatles' second American tour, backed up by the King Curtis band.[1] They played at the historic Shea Stadium concert on August 15, 1965 headlined by The Beatles.[2]


They were discovered by Rampart Records label owner and founder Eddie Davis—and were among the 1960s Mexican-American musicians and singers who pioneered the "East Side Sound" of Los Angeles, a musical phenomenon that attracted international attention.[3]

Richard "Scar" Lopez and Robert "Rabbit" Jaramillo founded the group[4] in 1964; the other group members were Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia and Joe "Yo Yo" Jaramillo. The band was originally called 'Bobby and the Classics'.[5] Barely out of high school, they came from Ramona Gardens and Estrada Courts Housing Projects of East Los Angeles, and were inspired by the African American doo wop groups in their neighborhoods. Garcia attended Andrew Jackson high, in East LA. He frequently sang spontaneously while walking around campus. He had a very strong voice. This group toured recorded and performed together for only eighteen months, before they broke up due to personal conflicts.

Their version of "Land of a Thousand Dances" was a cover version of the original Chris Kenner tune, arranged and produced by Max Uballez with Garcia, and engineered by Bruce Morgan.[citation needed] The record reached #30 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1965. The "na, na, na, na..." lyric roll was a mistake performed by Garcia during a performance in which he forgot the lyrics in mid-song and simply improvised. Wilson Pickett recorded the song into a national hit for himself in 1967, also using the "na, na, na, na" lyric.[citation needed]

Garcia died in 1996, aged 49. Joe Jaramillo died of cirrhosis of the liver in 2000, and Lopez died of lung cancer on July 30, 2010, aged 65.[6]


  1. ^ Quiñones, Ben (2005-12-28), "Naa Na Na Na Naa: How the West Coast Eastside sound changed rock & roll", L.A. Weekly[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Cannibal & the Headhunters: 1960s Chicano R&B Hit Makers by Mark Guerrero.
  3. ^ The Musical Beatles Invasion wasn't the only significant Pop event of 1964 Archived 2011-07-09 at the Wayback Machine.,", 2004 (accessed July 27, 2010)
  4. ^ Gary James, Interview With Richard "Scar" Lopez,
  5. ^ Gustavo Turner, Richard "Scar" Lopez, Founding Member of Pioneering East LA Chicano Rock Combo Cannibal and the Headhunters, Dead at 65, LA Weekly, 19 August 2010
  6. ^ Frankie Garcia's death. Variety.

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