|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2009)|
|Origin||Caguas, Puerto Rico|
|Years active||1977–1997, 2007–2009|
Further information: List of Menudo membersOriginal lineup (1977–1979):
Final lineup (2007–2009):
Carlos Emmanuel Olivero
José "Monti" Antonio Montañez
Emmanuel Jose Vélez Pagán
Christopher Nelson Moy
José Bordonada Collazo
Menudo was a Puerto Rican boy band that was formed in the 1970s by producer Edgardo Díaz. Menudo was also one of the biggest Latin boy bands in history, releasing their first album in 1977. The band achieved much success, especially during the 1980s, becoming the most popular Latin American teen musical group of the era. The group disbanded in 2009.
Success in the 1980s
In the late 1970s, the group released several moderately-successful albums (including "Fuego", which yielded hits "Ella A-A", "Fuego" and "A Bailar!") and new members replaced the original ones. Then in 1981, the album Quiero Ser launched the group—now René Farrait, Johnny Lozada, Xavier Serbiá, Miguel Cancel, and remaining original member Ricky Melendez—into stardom. It included hit songs like "Quiero Ser", "Súbete A Mi Moto", "Rock En La TV", "Claridad", and "Mi Banda Toca Rock".
Menudo became very popular throughout Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, including Brazil; they also had a fan base in Spain and the rest of Europe. They also became the first-ever boy-band that had its own private jet: Diaz was able to afford a Lockheed JetStar that had belonged to American President Richard Nixon and the Shah of Iran and to get Menudo's name emblazoned on both sides of the fuselage.
In 1982, Charlie Masso replaced René Farrait, debuting with Menudo on the album Por Amor. During this boom of popularity, fans started calling themselves contagious to the "Menuditis", similar to today's "Bieber Fever", or the "Menudomania". They were so popular that they starred in their own feature films: Menudo: La Pelicula, and Una Aventura Llamada Menudo. Aventura starred Gladys Rodríguez as "Señora Mía" and included songs such as "Clara" and "A Volar".
During their first visit to New York in early 1983, Ray Reyes replaced Xavier Serbiá. Their American fanbase grew, especially among the young, as evidenced by "Menudo on ABC", a series of 4-minute music spots that aired during the Fall 1983 season of the American Broadcasting Company's youth-oriented Saturday-morning programming block. They also sang the theme song for ABC's Rubik, the Amazing Cube. Miguel Cancel became the first member to voluntarily quit the group. According to a 1998 interview, he was unhappy that a sudden voice change rendered him unable to sing his songs, so he opted to leave before his scheduled departure. He was replaced by Roy Rosselló. Menudo signed a 6-year multimillion-dollar contract with RCA International and released their Spanish album A Todo Rock.
In 1984, Robi Rosa (now known as Draco Rosa) replaced Johnny Lozada just in time for Menudo to release their first English-language album, Reaching Out, which featured the theme track "Like a Cannonball" for the Hollywood movie Cannonball Run 2; and their first Portuguese album, Mania, both featuring versions of some of their Spanish hits. During the first half of 1984 Menudo toured the U.S. and Brazil.
In July 1984, Ricky Melendez, the sole remaining original member, left the group in a huge concert in his birth town, Caguas, Puerto Rico. The only Menudo member to last 7 years in the group, he was replaced by the group's most popular alumnus worldwide: Melendez's namesake Ricky Martin, whose Menudo debut was their next Spanish album, Evolución. During this time, Menudo's popularity reached parts of Asia including Japan and the Philippines, and the group made English-language commercials for Pepsi, Scope, McDonald's, and Crest. They also made a guest appearance on the popular American children's program Sesame Street. Then, much to the surprise of fans and himself, Ray Reyes was the next to leave the group due to a growth spurt and voice change. In a 1998 interview, Reyes stated he was caught off-guard, during a Menudo interview in 1985, the interviewer asked who was next to leave the group and Edgardo Díaz named Ray, considering that Charlie was the oldest and had been in the group the longest.
Raymond Acevedo took over Reyes' spot in 1985 and Menudo released their second English-language album, Menudo which contains the songs "Hold Me" (#62 Billboard Hot 100, RCA 14087) and "Explosion", both with lead vocals by Robi Rosa. They also released their next Spanish album, Ayer Y Hoy, and their second Portuguese album A Festa Vai Comecar. They successfully toured Brazil, performing before hundreds of thousands of fans, but there were allegations of the tour being poorly organized: the capacity for a concert in Rio de Janeiro was 60,000 but 70,000 tickets were sold, and 2 women died. In São Paulo, a 100,000-capacity stadium was sold-out with 200,000 people, and in the São Paulo city of Campinas, rain delayed a concert for 4 hours. The film Mixed Blood featured scenes in which Menudo was indirectly showcased, such as one with a Menudo poster on a wall and one where characters shopped at a "Menudomania" store.
In 1986, Roy Rosselló was replaced by Sergio Blass; no farewell concerts were held. The group released several albums that year, starting with their only Italian album, Viva! Bravo!, which they showcased in Italy in the San Remo Music Festival. The Spanish album Refrescante, the English album Can't Get Enough, and the Portuguese album Menudo followed respectively, then came tours of the U.S., Latin America (including Brazil), and the Philippines.
Internal conflicts and image change
In January 1987, Ralphy Rodriguez replaced Charlie just as the group began facing internal conflicts. First, Robi quit without warning in the middle of a Brazilian tour, becoming the second member to quit voluntarily. Apparently, he had written a song and presented the idea to management and they turned him down, supposedly mocking him, which prompted him to leave; they did this so they could use his song without compensating him. Robi's lawyer prevented them from using his song. Also, the group was dropped from RCA International due to low record sales, so they signed a contract with Melody International Mexico. Charlie was asked to return to the group to complete the Brazilian tour and to embark on the Summer in the Street U.S. tour and introduce new member Rubén Gómez.
At this point, the group underwent a complete image makeover, changing their look to a rougher, more rugged, rock-like look. Their music, formerly described as bubblegum-pop, underwent a similar change. They released the Spanish album Somos Los Hijos del Rock, followed by an English-Tagalog album for the Philippines titled In Action with Ralphy and Rubén. In late 1987, Ralphy's parents pulled him from the group, citing improper treatment by management; this eventually came to light in 1991 when the Menudo sex scandal broke. Charlie was again asked to fill in during the Philippines tour, which would be their last as their popularity there waned.
In early 1988, Angelo García replaced Ralphy Rodríguez and they released their final English-language album, Sons of Rock, scoring an international hit, "You Got Potential." Another song, "TLC," featured lead vocals by Ricky Martin. In August 1988, Raymond Acevedo's contract was about to expire, but he decided to leave before auditions were held for his replacement, and Menudo performed as a quartet for a few months before Robert Avellanet took over. The album Sombras Y Figuras was released at the end of the year.
After 5 years with Menudo, Ricky Martin left in July 1989 and was replaced by Rawy Torres. Martin's last concert with Menudo was in the Centro de Bellas Artes de Santurce in San Juan. The album Los Últimos Héroes soon reestablished Menudo's popularity in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, where a 5-part miniseries was shot to promote the album.
Despite their newfound success, the group kept facing problems: Angelo García left the group, breaking his contract; he was replaced by César Abreu, who only lasted 7 months. Before Abreu left, management was preparing for Sergio's departure and the debut of the first non-Puerto Rican member, Adrián Olivares of Mexico, but Abreu's exit delayed Sergio's departure. Management decided to keep Sergio for another Spanish album, No Me Corten El Pelo, featuring the Sergio/Rubén/Robert/Rawy/Adrián lineup.
In 1991, two new non-Puerto Rican members joined the group: Edward Aguilera of Spain replaced Sergio González, and Jonathan Montenegro of Venezuela replaced Rubén Gómez. Both members left a few months later.
Edgardo Díaz left Puerto Rico and held auditions in Miami, Florida, signing Miami teens Alexis Grullón, Ashley Ruiz, and Andy Blázquez, and Pecos, Texas resident Abel Talamántez. The first album with the new lineup was Detrás De Tu Mirada, which was very successful in the whole continent, especially in Peru. From then on, the Peruvian fanbase was the most important one.
Menudo continued to work, releasing an English single titled Dancin', Movin', Shakin', and a follow-up in 1993, Cosmopolitan Girl, the first of several English albums on McGillis Records. They also continued to travel through Latin America.
In 1992, they released 15 Años, which would be Adrián's last album with the band (he decided to leave in 1993). Ricky López replaced Adrián and the group released their 5th Portuguese album Vem Pra Mim (1993), and their 22nd Spanish album, Imagínate... (1994).
In 1995, Ricky López quit the group without warning, and again the band performed as a quartet for a few months. Ashley had also decided to leave, so auditions were held and Didier Hernández and Anthony Galindo were chosen. Ashley's farewell concert was in Panama, where the new members were presented.
In 1996 the group released their last Spanish album under the Menudo name, Tiempo De Amar. The album was very successful, producing several hit singles. In 1997, the rights and the name Menudo were sold and the band changed the name to MDO, at the time Andy Blázquez was replaced by Daniel René Weider. A self-titled Spanish album was released, increasing the group's popularity in Latin America and the U.S. MDO has continued to release albums despite some changes in management (see main article: MDO.)
In 1998 Ricky Meléndez, René Farrait, Miguel Cancel, Johnny Lozada, Ray Reyes, and Charlie Massó re-joined to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their success in Latin America, North America, Spain, and several other countries in the world. They planned the reunion concert to take place at Centro de Bellas Artes de Santurce in San Juan, as an experimental project. The show sold out so quickly and the demands for more shows was so huge they had to change the venue for a bigger one. They ended up doing the shows at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. They had an unexpected success and performed as an ensemble throughout North and Latin America until August 2015, when the group disbanded due to financial issues. They named this El Reencuentro since Edgardo Díaz threatened to take legal action if they used the "Menudo" name.
In 2000, MDO released their album Subir Al Cielo with critical success. The album lead track "Te Quise Olvidar" topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks for several weeks and became the group signature' song. The group follow-up singles "Sin Ti" and "Me Huele A Soledad" also went top 10 in the U.S., showing that they are a real group.
In 2002, former members Sergio, Rubén, Robert, Angelo and Rawy reunited under the name "Los Últimos Héroes" giving numerous concerts in Venezuela.
In early 2003, MDO officially broke up on amicable terms. The members wanted to pursue other projects. Edgardo Diaz introduced the new MDO in January 2005.
In 2004, Edgardo Diaz announced that he will be bringing a new group with the Menudo formula into the music industry. Initially expecting this new group to be named Menudo, he surprised the press and general public by naming them Tick Tock.
Also in 2004, former Menudo members Roy, Raymond, Rubén, Sergio and Andy reunited under the name and banner: Menudo: La Reunion. They were based and focused primarily on a series of 'Brazilian' tours. Sergio left due to his prior commitment with "Los Últimos Héroes", and was replaced with Anthony Galindo. Andy would later be replaced by former MDO member Caleb Avilés before disbanding in late 2005, early 2006.
In January 2005, producer Edgardo Díaz introduced the new MDO with four new members: Daniel Rodríguez, Luis Montes, Elliot Suro, and Lorenzo Duarte. The first three were among the contestants of Puerto Rican reality/talent show Objetivo Fama. This latest incarnation of the group achieved great success with their single "Otra Vez" which took them all across Latin America.
Also, in 2005, former Menudo members René, Johnny, Miguel, Ricky, Charlie, and Ray reunited once again to perform the songs that Menudo popularized during their era under the name and banner El Reencuentro: Momento del Adios making this their farewell tour. Plans are on the way to bring this production to Latin American and the U.S. Also in 2005, Sergio, Angelo, Robert, Rawy and Adrián reunited again under the name Los Últimos Héroes after their successful reunion concerts in 2002.
In 2006, former Menudo: La Reunion members, Anthony and Rubén reunited and formed the duo Blacksheep and continue touring in Brazil. To date the duo has grown a large fan base in both Brazil and Hispanic America.
In 2007, a re-release of the 1992 VHS film of Menudo The making of Dancin', Movin', Shakin'" was released on McGillis Records. Entitled Triple Threat DVD/CD Combo, the box set included the Film on DVD for the first time, along with two music CDs, Latin Teen Stars and Dance Music All Night Long, featuring hit songs by Menudo, ex-Menudo members. The single, "Dancin', Movin', Shakin'", and "Cosmopolitan Girl" was released digitally on iTunes in May 2009.
The recasting of the band was profiled in a MTV reality series entitled Making Menudo that had launched as a primetime series on October 25, 2007, but was later pushed to afternoons due to low ratings. The series ended on November 20, 2007. The new members were José Bordonada Collazo, Chris Moy, Emmanuel Vélez Pagan, José Monti Montañez, and Carlos Olivero. The group disbanded in early 2009.
2011 compilation release
Menudo released in January 2011 a compilation of English songs on iTunes, some of which had been previously unreleased. The album is titled Enchanted Island.
- 1977 Los Fantasmas [Original Members]
- 1978 Laura [Original Members]
- 1979 Chiquitita [New Member: René]
- 1979 Felicidades [Same as above]
- 1980 Más, Mucho Más [New Member: Johnny]
- 1980 Es Navidad [New Member: Xavier]
- 1981 Fuego [Same as above]
- 1981 Xanadu [New Member: Miguel]
- 1981 Quiero Ser [Same as above]
- 1982 Por Amor [New Member: Charlie]
- 1982 Una Aventura Llamada Menudo (Movie Soundtrack) [Same as above]
- 1982 Feliz Navidad [Same as above]
- 1983 A Todo Rock [New Members: Ray and Roy]
- 1984 Reaching Out (English) [New Member: Robi]
- 1984 Mania [Same as above]
- 1984 Evolución [New Member: Ricky Martin]
- 1985 Menudo (English) [New Member: Raymond]
- 1985 Ayer Y Hoy [Same as above]
- 1985 A Festa Vai Começar [Same as above]
- 1986 Viva! Bravo! (Italian) [New Member: Sergio]
- 1986 Refrescante [Same as above]
- 1986 Can't Get Enough [Same as above]
- 1986 Menudo (Portuguese) [Same as above]
- 1987 Somos Los Hijos del Rock [New members: Ralphy and Rubén]
- 1987 In Action (English-Tagalog) [Same as above]
- 1988 Sons of Rock [New member: Angelo]
- 1988 Sombras Y Figuras [New member: Robert]
- 1989 Los Últimos Héroes [New member: Rawy]
- 1990 Os Ultimos Herois [New member: César]
- 1990 No Me Corten El Pelo [New member: Adrián]
- 1991 Detrás De Tu Mirada [New members: Alexis, Ashley, Andy & Abel]
- 1992 Dancin', Movin', Shakin' [same as above]
- 1992 15 Años [Same as above]
- 1993 Vem Pra Mim (Portuguese) [New member: Ricky López]
- 1993 Cosmopolitan Girl [same as above]
- 1994 Imagínate... [Same as above]
- 1994 If You're Not Here (1994 remake version) [same as above]
- 1996 Tiempo De Amar [New members: Anthony & Didier]
- 2007 Let's Talk About Love [Monti, JC Gonzalez and Jorge Gabriel]
- 2007 More Than Words [Carlos, Chris, Emmanuel, José, and Monti]
- 2011 Enchanted Island [compilation of Menudo English hits some that had never been released to the public]
- 1982 Rene [Various]
- 1983 Adiós, Miguel [Various]
Films and Television
- 1981 Menudo: La Pelicula
- 1982 Una Aventura Llamada Menudo
- 1983 Menudo on ABC
- 1992 on YouTube
- 2007 Making Menudo (TV Series)
|Single||Year||Hot 100||Latin Songs|
|"Sabes A Chocolate"||1984||—||—|
|"If You're Not Here (By My Side)"||1984||—||—|
|"Não Se Reprima"||1984||—||—|
|"Like A Cannonball"||1984||—||—|
|"Please Be Good To Me"||1985||—||—|
|"Baci Al Cioccolato"||1986||—||—|
|"Te Vere A Las Tres"||1987||—||45|
|"You Got Potential"||1988||—||—|
|"Historia Del Primer Amor"||1988||—||34|
|"Besame En La Playa"||1991||—||26|
|"Dancin, Movin, Shakin"||1992||—||—|
|"Juras De Amor"||1993||—||—|
- Andersen, Kurt; Simpson, Janice C. (June 27, 1983). "Show Business: A Puerto Rican Pop Music Machine". Time. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- Top Pop Singles 1955–1999. Joel Whitburn. 2000. Record Research Inc. p. 429. ISBN 0-89820-139-X
- Tubular: Three big helpings of Menudo, with a twist
- "Menudo Discography at Discogs". discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.