El Chicano

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El Chicano
Years active 1969 – 2000s
Labels MCA Records
Past members Bobby Espinosa
Freddie Sanchez
Mickey Lespron
Andre Baeza
John De Luna

El Chicano is an American chicano rock and brown-eyed soul group from Los Angeles, California, whose style incorporates various modern music genres including rock, funk, soul, blues, jazz, and salsa. The group's name is from Chicano, a term for United States citizens of typically Mexican American descent.[1]


El Chicano, originally formed by Freddie Sanchez under the name The VIP's arose during a period of increasing Chicano consciousness in America. Their initial hit, Viva Tirado, was a jazzy soul rock rendition of Gerald Wilson's original song about a bullfighter. The song did very well on Los Angeles radio and remained #1 for thirteen straight weeks. Other notable tracks recorded by El Chicano are the funky Tell Her She's Lovely as well as a cover of Van Morrison's 1967 hit, Brown Eyed Girl.

Original members of El Chicano include Bobby Espinosa, Freddie Sanchez, Mickey Lespron, Andre Baeza, and John De Luna. Ersi Arvisu was lead singer. During the 1970s, new members Rudy Regalado, Max Garduno, Danny Lamonte, Brian Magness, Jerry Salas, Joe Pererria. joined the group.[1]

On their 1970 albumViva Tirado the group covered the Herbie Hancock jazz standard "Cantaloupe Island". The song was one of nine songs which included the hit single "Viva Tirado" which went gold.

El Chicano continues to be active with a combination of original and new members. They performed on the 2009 PBS pledge break special, Trini Lopez Presents the Legends of Latin Rock, along with Thee Midniters, Tierra, and Gregg Rolie (of Santana and Journey fame).[1]

Original keyboardist, Bobby Espinosa ‒ who laid down Hammond organ on some of El Chicano's most recognizable tracks ‒ died on February 27, 2010.[2] Former percussionist, Rudy Regalado, who spent twelve years with the band died on November 4, 2010.[3] Latin percussionist of former Santana renown,[4] Walfredo Reyes, Jr., recorded with the band from 2010 to 2012,[5] and is currently performing with the band Chicago.


  • Ersi Arvisu, lead vocals
  • Andre Baeza, congas - 1970
  • John De Luna, drums - 1970
  • Bobby Espinoza, organ - 1970 - Died February 28, 2010
  • Max Garduno, congas
  • Danny Lamonte, drums
  • Mickey Lespron, guitar - 1970
  • Brian Magness, bass
  • Joe Perreria, bass
  • Rudy Regalado, timbales - Joined circa 1971, died November 4th, 2010
  • Walfredo “Wally” Reyes, Jr. - 2010 - 2012
  • Jerry Salas, lead vocals, guitar - Joined in 1973
  • Rudy Salas, guitar
  • Steve Salas, vocals
  • Freddie Sanchez, bass - 1970 [6][7][8][9]



Year Title US[10] US
US Jazz[10]
1970 "Viva Tirado"
1971 "Revolucion"
1972 "Celebration"
1973 "El Chicano"
1974 "Cinco"
1975 "The Best of Everything"
1976 "Pyramid"
1998 "Painting the Moment"

Main singles[edit]

Year Title US[10] US
1970 "Viva Tirado - Part I"
1971 "Cubano Chant"
1972 "Brown Eyed Girl"
"Satisfy Me Woman"
1973 "Last Tango in Paris"
"Tell Her She's Lovely"
1975 "Baretta's Theme"
1983 "Do You Want Me"
1984 "Let Me Dance With You"

See also[edit]