How Will the Wolf Survive?

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How Will the Wolf Survive?
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1984
GenreChicano rock
Blues rock
Heartland rock
LabelSlash/Warner Bros.
ProducerT Bone Burnett, Steve Berlin
Los Lobos chronology
...And a Time to Dance
How Will the Wolf Survive?
By the Light of the Moon

How Will the Wolf Survive? is the major label third album of Los Lobos. In 1984, it was ranked #30 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 455[1] on the magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


In 1983, the band released an extended play entitled ...And a Time to Dance, which was well received by critics but only sold about 50,000 copies.[2] However, the sales of the EP earned the group enough money to purchase a Dodge van, enabling the band to tour throughout the United States for the first time.[2] The group began composing How Will the Wolf Survive? at the home of Pérez's brother-in-law, a time in which several songs, including "A Matter of Time", were written. Pérez explained, "We'd sit down with a guitar, a tape recorder and a jar of Taster's Choice, and we were coffee achievers all afternoon."[2]

The album's title and the title song were inspired by a National Geographic article entitled "Where Can the Wolf Survive", which the band members related to their own struggle to gain success in the United States while maintaining their Mexican roots.[2] Drummer Louie Pérez recalled, "It was like our group, our story: What is this beast, this animal that the record companies can't figure out? Will we be given the opportunity to make it or not?"[2]


On How Will the Wolf Survive?, the band experimented with various genres, including styles reflective of the group's traditional Mexican roots.[3] "I Got Loaded" features influences of R&B, while "A Matter of Time" blends country and blues sensibilities.[3]

Both "A Matter of Time" and "Will the Wolf Survive?" discuss the lives of immigrants in the United States.[3] "A Matter of Time" is about a Mexican crossing the border in search of a better life.[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[7]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[8]
The Village VoiceA[9]

Critical reaction to the album was favorable. Mark Deming's retrospective review gushed, "While rarely flashy, even a casual listen offers all the proof you might need that Los Lobos were a band of world-class musicians, with David Hidalgo's guitar work especially impressive throughout."[4] Robert Christgau praised the group's originality: "Their debut LP makes it sound as if they invented the style. Who did the original of that one, you wonder, only to discover that you're listening to the original."[9]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Don't Worry Baby" (Cesar Rosas, Louie Perez, T-Bone Burnett) – 2:43
  2. "A Matter of Time" (David Hidalgo, Perez) – 3:55
  3. "Corrido #1" (Rosas) – 2:42
  4. "Our Last Night" (Hidalgo, Perez) – 3:08
  5. "The Breakdown" (Hidalgo, Perez, Burnett) – 4:12
  6. "I Got Loaded" (Camille Bob) – 3:20
  7. "Serenata Norteña" – 2:53
  8. "Evangeline" (Hidalgo, Perez) – 2:43
  9. "I Got to Let You Know" (Rosas) – 2:35
  10. "Lil' King of Everything" (Hidalgo, Perez) – 1:19
  11. "Will the Wolf Survive?" (Hidalgo, Perez) – 3:41


Additional personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

The album spent 34 weeks on the U.S. Billboard album charts and reached its peak position of #47 in early March 1985.[11]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f "100 Best Albums of the Eighties – Los Lobos: How Will the Wolf Survive?". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Deming, Mark. "How Will the Wolf Survive – Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation.
  4. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "How Will the Wolf Survive? – Los Lobos". AllMusic. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ Miller, Debby (January 17, 1985). "How Will The Wolf Survive?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Los Lobos". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 495–96. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  8. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  9. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (December 25, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Billboard 200: March 9, 1985". Billboard. 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2016.