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Los Tigres del Norte

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Los Tigres del Norte
Los Tigres del Norte at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California.
Background information
OriginSan Jose, California
GenresPacific Norteño, Norteño with Sax
Years active1965 (1965)–present
LabelsDiscos Fama
MGM Music
Profono Internacional
Gran Vía Musical De Ediciones
Discos DLB
MembersJorge Hernández
1968–present Hernán Hernández 1968–present
Eduardo Hernández 1988–present
Luis Hernández 1996–present
Óscar Lara
Past membersFreddy Hernández (Deceased)
Raúl Hernández 1968–1995
Guadalupe Olivo 1968–1988, 1997–2001

Los Tigres del Norte (English: The Tigers of the North) are a norteño band from San Jose, California.[1] Originally founded in the small town Rosa Morada in the municipality of Mocorito,[1] Sinaloa, Mexico, with sales of 32 million albums,[2] the band is one of the most recognized acts in regional Mexican music, due to their long history and their successes within the Mexican community in the diaspora. The band is famous for its political corridos, some of which have been censored, even in its own country. The band is the only Mexican group to win 7 Grammy awards and 12 Latin Grammys. In addition, the band has made 40 films alongside the Almada brothers (Mario and Fernando) among other well-known Mexican actors.

The band's style is based on regional music of Mexico, using mainly instruments such as the electric bass (or double bass), accordion, bass, drums, and sometimes other percussion instruments. The lyrics in their songs fluctuate between the romantic and the corrido. In recent years the band has begun to make music in a new genre called narcocorrido, in which they narrate the experience of members of drug gangs operating in Mexico. The narcocorrido song "Muerte Anunciada", for example, stands out, as it is dedicated to the legendary Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, "El Jefe de Jefes." In that song, the band tells the story of the power and influence of the now imprisoned Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Another of their famous narcocorridos, "The Queen of the South", is based on a novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte from which a television series was made based on the Spanish writer's work. They have become famous in Mexico and the United States, especially in California and Texas, mainly due to the large number of Mexicans living there. They also have found considerable fame in Colombia.

The band won a Grammy Award in 1988 for their album Gracias, América sin Fronteras, and twelve years later their album Herencia de Familia won the award for Best Norteño Album at the first ever Latin Grammys. A year later, in the second edition of the awards, they were nominated again for Best Norteño Album, this time for De Paisano a Paisano, and Best Regional Mexican Song for the song of the same title from that album.


Jorge Hernández performing in August 2008

The band was started by Rosa Morada [es], Mocorito, Sinaloa, Mexico natives Jorge Hernández, his brothers, and their cousins. They began recording after moving to San Jose, California in the late 1960s, when all the members were still in their teens.[3] They were sponsored by a local record company, Discos Fama, owned by an Englishman named Art Walker, who took them under his wing and helped them find jobs and material, as well as recording all of their early albums.[3]

Los Tigres del norte were at first only locally popular, but took off after Jorge and Art Walker heard a Los Angeles mariachi singer perform a song in early 1971 about a couple of drug runners, Emilio Varela and Camelia la Texana. There had been occasional ballads (corridos, in Mexican terminology) about the cross-border drug trade ever since Prohibition in the 1920s, but never a song as cinematic as this, featuring a woman smuggler who shoots the man and takes off with the money. After getting permission to record this song, Los Tigres del Norte released "Contrabando y traición" ("Contraband and Betrayal") in 1974.[4] The song quickly hit on both sides of the border, inspired a series of movies, and kicked off one of the most remarkable careers in Spanish-language music.

In norteño form, Los Tigres del Norte have been able to portray "real life" in a manner that strikes a chord with people across the Americas. Many of their most popular songs consist of tales or corridos about life, love, and the struggle to survive in an imperfect world. They regularly touch on the subject of narcotics and illegal immigration, but they have also shared stories of love and betrayal between a man and a woman. Together, the band and its public has turned norteño music into an international genre. The band has modernized the music, infusing it with bolero, cumbia, rock rhythms, and waltzes. They also prominently incorporate a saxophone into some of their songs. As a result, it can be said that they also perform norteño with sax in addition to traditional accordion-led norteño.[citation needed]

Tania Libertad with Los Tigres del Norte on May 17, 2007

On January 9, 2007, Los Tigres del Norte was honored as a BMI Icon at the 14th annual BMI Latin Awards. Los Tigres, who were saluted that evening with an all-star musical tribute, were being honored as BMI Icons for their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers." They joined an elite list that includes such Latin music giants as Juan Luis Guerra and Carlos Santana.[5]

On October 16, 2009, Los Tigres del Norte held a Concert in Guadalupe, Nuevo León (outside of Monterrey) at the Annual Expo Guadalupe that lasted 12 hours, breaking their own record of 9 hours from previous year. It began on Saturday night and ended on Sunday at 9 a.m., not uncommon for Los Tigres del Norte. They are known for having encores at their concerts that can last more than an hour after the scheduled ending of the concert.[citation needed]

They have performed before the United States Armed Forces in Japan and South Korea.[6]

Tigres del Norte in Bogota 2019

In 2010, the band made headlines by joining in a massive international boycott of the U.S. state of Arizona, in response to the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.[7]

On October 8, 2013, Los Tigres del Norte played at an immigration reform rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Their set list included songs that underscored the themes the rally would address including “La Puerta Negra” (1986), “De Paisano a Paisano” (2000), and “Mis Dos Patrias.” The band was introduced by then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Mexican-American singer-songwriter and actress Lila Downs also accompanied the group in a series of duets.[8]

In 2014 Los Tigres del Norte released the album Realidades, which contains the song “Era Diferente” (meaning “She Was Different”) about a lesbian teenager who falls in love with her best friend; according to lead singer and songwriter Jorge Hernández, this is the first time a norteño group has ever written a gay love song.[9][10]

The band had sold 32 million records as of 2007.[11] As of 2015, they had won 7 Grammy Awards, 6 Latin Grammy Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[12][10] They received the Special Recognition (Spanish language) Award at the 26th annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2015, for their song "Era Diferente" ("She Was Different").[13] The band ranked number 15 in the list for "The 30 Most Influential Latin Artists of All Time" by Billboard magazine.[14]

In 2018, many artists sought permission to record at Folsom Prison, more so for the 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash's recording there. However, Los Tigres del Norte was the only act authorized by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In fact, Los Tigres are the only band to record an album at Folsom since Johnny Cash released his 1968 opus.[15]

All group members are naturalized American citizens.[16]

The group's lyrics have been cited as examples of leftist sentiment in popular music.[17]


In May 2000, Los Tigres del Norte founded the Los Tigres del Norte Foundation, which is committed to fostering appreciation and preservation of Mexican and Mexican-American folklore. The Los Tigres del Norte Foundation donated $500,000 to the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, which was used to digitize over 32,000 Spanish-language recordings contained in the Strachwitz Frontera Collection.[18]


  • Jorge Hernández – director, lead vocals, accordion
  • Hernán Hernández – bass, vocals
  • Eduardo Hernández – accordion, alto saxophone, bajo sexto, vocals
  • Luis Hernández – bajo sexto, vocals
  • Óscar Lara – drummer

Former members[edit]

  • Raúl Hernández – bajo sexto, vocals (left the group in 1996 to become a soloist)
  • Lupe Olivo - saxophone, accordion (left the band in 1988 due to health problems, rejoined in 1996, and left again in 2001. He has since performed in Raúl Hernández' band)
  • Freddy Hernández - percussion (died from a heart attack in a hotel how room in 1993)[19]

Select discography[edit]


  • 1968: Juana La Traicionera/Por El Amor A Mis Hijo
  • 1971: Cuquita (remastered by Fonovisa in 2001)
  • 1972: El Cheque (remastered by Fonovisa in 2001)
  • 1974: Contrabando Y Traición (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1975: La Banda Del Carro Rojo (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1976: Pueblo Querido (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1977: Vivan Los Mojados (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1978: Numero Ocho (remastered by Fonovisa in 2001)
  • 1979: El Tahúr (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1980: Plaza Garibaldi (remastered by Fonovisa in 2001)
  • 1981: ...Un Día A La Vez! (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1982: Éxitos Para Siempre... (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1983: Carrera Contra La Muerte (last album under Fama label) (rerecorded at Profono in 1984)
  • 1983: Internacionalmente Norteños/La Tumba Del Mojado (first album under Profono label [now Fonovisa])
  • 1984: Jaula De Oro
  • 1985: A Ti Madrecita (reissued in 2015 with 4 new songs)
  • 1986: El otro México (reissued in 1994)
  • 1986: Gracias!... América... Sin Fronteras (reissued in 1989)
  • 1988: Ídolos Del Pueblo (last album with Lupe Olivo)
  • 1989: Corridos Prohibidos (first album with Eduardo Hernández)
  • 1989: Triunfo Sólido – Mi Buena Suerte
  • 1990: Para Adoloridos
  • 1991: Incansables!
  • 1992: Con Sentimiento Y Sabor (Tan Bonita)
  • 1992: Una Noche Con Los Tigres Del Norte
  • 1993: La Garra De...
  • 1994: Los Dos Plebes
  • 1995: El Ejemplo (last album with Raúl Hernández before becoming soloist)
  • 1996: Unidos Para Siempre (first album with Luis Hernández & Guadalupe Olivo returning to the group)
  • 1997: Jefe De Jefes
  • 1998: Así Como Tú
  • 1999: Herencia De Familia
  • 2000: De Paisano A Paisano (last album with Lupe Olivo)
  • 2001: Uniendo Fronteras
  • 2002: La Reina Del Sur
  • 2004: Pacto De Sangre
  • 2005: Directo Al Corazón
  • 2006: Historias Que Contar
  • 2007: Detalles Y Emociones
  • 2008: Raíces
  • 2008: Tu Noche Con Los Tigres Del Norte
  • 2009: La Granja
  • 2010: El Rugido De Los Tigres Del Norte
  • 2011: MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres Del Norte And Friends
  • 2014: Realidades
  • 2015: Desde El Azteca
  • 2016: Ataud
  • 2019: Los Tigres del Norte At Folsom Prison
  • 2020: Y Su Palabra Es La Ley: Homenaje a Vicente Fernández
  • 2022: La Reunión Deluxe


  • 1984: Los Tigres Del Norte
  • 2021: La Reunión
  • 2024: Aquí Mando Yo


Los Tigres del Norte[edit]

  • "Por Amor A Mis Hijos"
  • "De Un Rancho A Otro"
  • "El Cheque"
  • "El Ausente"
  • "Mi Gran Cariño"
  • "Sufro Porque Te Quiero"
  • "Polka Texas"
  • "Las Tres Mujeres"
  • "Los Sufrimientos"
  • "El Sordo Mudo" (side 2 track)
  • "La Cochicuina"
  • "Ya Cambiara Mi Destino"
  • "Las Tres Mujeres"
  • "Mi Caballo Ensillado"
  • "Morena De San Francisco"
  • "Hermosa Luna"
  • "Rio Magadalena"
  • "El Que Tanto Te Amo"
  • "Quien Te Viera"
  • "Adolfo Mi Compadre" (1984)
  • "La Puerta Negra/Poppurri Mexicano" (1986)
  • "Rap Norteño" (single-only release)
  • "Un Cuento De Navidad"
  • "La Mesa del Rincon/La Navidad De Los Pobres" (1995)
  • "Duro"
  • "Mujeriego" (feat. Don Francisco)
  • "Por Amor"
  • "Aguas Revueltas"
  • "El Enfermito"
  • "La Bala" (2014)
  • "Tu Carcel" (feat. Marco Antonio Solis)
  • "Ataud" (2016)
  • "Cuando Seas Grande" (feat. Alejandro Sanz, Gloria Trevi, and J Balvin)
  • "Para Sacarte De Mi Vida" (feat. Alejandro Fernandez)

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Hermanitas Rodarte - "Dile Pajarillo"
  • Hermanitas Rodarte - "Me Voy De Estas Tierras"
  • Lupita Alatorre - "No Es Culpa Mia"


Through their career, Los Tigres del Norte have appeared in numerous Mexican films, many of which are based on some of their hit songs. In genre, they range from action to drama. Many of the actors in these films include Mario and Fernando Almada, Eric Del Castillo, Pedro Infante, Jr., Jorge Reynoso, Lucha Villa, Cecilia Camacho, and Bernabe Melendez "El Gatillero".

In December 2016, media reports stated that Amateur Films would be producing Jefes De Jefes, a feature-length documentary about Los Tigres del Norte's history and cultural influence; no release date was announced.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Work Category Result
1987 El Otro México Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album Nominated
1988 Gracias!...América...Sin Fronteras Won
1989 Ídolos Del Pueblo Nominated
1990 Corridos Prohibidos Nominated
1992 Para Adoloridos Nominated
1993 Con Sentimiento Y Sabor (Tan Bonita) Nominated
1994 La Garra De... Nominated
1998 Jefe De Jefes Nominated
2004 La Reina Del Sur Nominated
2007 Historias Que Contar [es] Best Norteño Album Won
2008 Raíces Won
2009 Detalles Y Emociones [es] Won
2010 Tu Noche con los Tigres Del Norte Won
2012 MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres Del Norte And Friends Best Banda or Norteño Album Won
2016 Realidades (Deluxe Edition) Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Los Tigres del Norte - About
  2. ^ Wiltz, Teresa (February 18, 2007). "Fierce Enough to Bite". Washington Post. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Wilkinson, Alec (May 17, 2010). "Alec Wilkinson, "Immigration Blues," The New Yorker magazine, May 24, 2010". Newyorker.com. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "Música". www.univision.com.
  5. ^ "Los Tigres del Norte To Be Honored as BMI Icons at 14th Annual Latin Awards". bmi.com. January 9, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  6. ^ "Visión Hispana". Visionhispanausa.com. April 15, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  7. ^ El Correo de Guanajuato: "Tigres del Norte, participan en boicot contra Arizona" Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
  8. ^ Montgomery, David (2013). "Los Tigres provide soundtrack for immigrants' lives."The Washington Post. Retrieved on April 27, 2014.
  9. ^ "Realidades - Los Tigres del Norte | Releases". AllMusic. October 7, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Yezmin Villarreal (March 21, 2015). "Los Tigres del Norte Are Making Gay Norteño History". Advocate.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  11. ^ article in Washington Post, February 18, 2007
  12. ^ "Grammy Winner search". grammy.com. April 30, 2017.
  13. ^ "Norteño Kings Los Tigres del Norte on Being Honored for Gay Love Song 'Era Diferente': 'This Brings Us Great Pride'". Billboard. March 21, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  14. ^ "The 30 Most Influential Latin Artists of All Time". Billboard. April 28, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Exposito, Suzy (August 9, 2019). "See Los Tigres del Norte Perform at Folsom Prison in New Documentary". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  16. ^ Rohter, Larry (June 27, 2014). "Los Tigres del Norte Breaks Boundaries". The New York Times.
  17. ^ [1] 18 July 2017
  18. ^ "Los Tigres Del Norte". www.lostigresdelnorte.com.
  19. ^ "Freddy Hernandez". April 20, 1993.

External links[edit]