Yo Ho! Nightrider here!

In this installment of Hidden Gems, we’ll take a look at a landmark album from 1969 that cemented the music genre of Balada Rockmántica: Los Ángeles Negros (The Black Angels).

Los Ángeles Negros is a Chilean band that formed in 1968 when Cristián Blasser, Mario Gutiérrez, and Sergio Rojas created the group. When they heard of a band tournament by a radio station, they recruited Germaín de la Fuente as lead vocals. The band was inspired by artists like The Beatles except for de la Fuente; he wanted to sing boleros. They mixed both genres to create Bolero-Beat, also known as Balada Rockmántica. After winning the contest and recorded the single lp “Porque Te Quiero”/”Día Sin Sol” the director of Chile’s Odeon Records, Jorge Oñate, asked the band to make an album for his company. Since Gutiérrez and de la Fuente only showed up, Oñate quickly hired three studio musicians: drummer Luis Ortiz, bassist Miguel Ángel “Nano” Concha, and keyboardist Jorge González. They created the band’s first album Porque Te Quiero and released it in 1969. Then in October 1969, the group finished their second album Y Volveré and cemented their legacy to popular music.

The studio musicians Ortiz, Concha, and Gutiérrez were influenced by psychedelic funk and incorporated it into the band’s repertoire. Some of their signature songs are in this album; they would be covered by musicians or sampled by hip-hop artists such as The Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Funkdoobiest and many others.

Here are a few tracks of great interest as well as who sampled the tracks:

  • “Cómo Quisiera Decirte” is translated loosely as “I really want to tell you.” De la Fuente’s vocals show amorous emotion and contemplation while the band’s bluesy-psychedelic rhythm leaves a smorgasbord of sampling for today’s artists. Here’s Funkdoobiest’s “Lost in Thought” from their 1995 album Brothas Doobie.
  • “El Rey Y Yo” is translated as “The King And I.” The lyrics are simply a similarity between a king and the narrator: they lost their respective “kingdoms” due to their lover taking it all away after trouble. The Beastie Boys famously sampled this over-sampled classic near the end of their song “The Move” from their classic album Hello Nasty.
  • “Y Volveré” is a cover of the French singer/songwriter Alain Barrière’s song “Emporte-moi” with new lyrics by de la Fuente.
  • “Tanto Adiós” is a breakup song with de la Fuente singing about how too many goodbyes lose their meaning altogether. Non-Prophets sampled this piece for their song “Bounce” from their 1999 album Drop Bass.

One cannot bounce their head to the melodies produced by Los Ángeles Negros and stand in awe by Germaín de la Fuente’s vocals. After 50 years, their second album Y Volveré is still fresh and is still sampled heavily by up-and-coming artists; their beats are that good!