Luis Alberto Spinetta, Icon of Argentine Rock, 1950 - 2012

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Age: 2023
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We pay homage to El Flaco (The skinny one), a man who revolutionised the music scene of Argentina forever with his unique sound, eccentricity and talent and, in doing so, captured the nation’s heart.
Singer, guitarist, composer, poet, cartoonist, and writer. Indeed, it seems there was no end to the talents of Luis Alberto Spinetta. Along with Charly Garcia, this extraordinary porteño is credited as founding Argentina’s homegrown Rock Nacional; a musical genre which – much like their love of football – Argentines remain fiercely proud of.
Born on 23rd January 1950 in Belgrano, Buenos Aires, the young Spinetta was already singing folklore and tango at family gatherings form the age of four. At 12 he had been scouted to take part in a national music competition. And at 18, alongside former classmates, Emilio del Guercio, Edelmiro Molinari, and Rodolfo García, the self-taught musician formed one of the most influential rock bands in Argentine history, Almendra.
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Featuring one of Spinetta’s most renowned compositions, Muchacha (ojos de papel) the band’s debut studio album was released in 1969 and was an immediate success. Incorporating elements of jazz, tango, and folk music, its fusion of musical genres and lyrical themes were celebrated in the album’s legendary cover art, designed by Spinetta himself.
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Through its combination of Spanish-language lyrics with progressive rock, the self-titled album revolutionised the genre of Argentine Rock overnight and converted Almendra into a household name across the country. For many, it marked the birth of ‘Spanish-language rock.’
It has been eight years since the departure of this Argentine hero, yet his legacy is still very much alive today. Whilst in 2016, his record, Los amigos, won one of the most prestigious Argentine music awards, el Premio Carelos Gardel de Oro, in 2010 the Argentinian public holiday, el Día Nacional del Músico, was even moved from November to January to honour the much-loved maestro.
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Indeed, the music of the great rockero argentino struck a major chord with listeners around the world. It is something that will never be forgotten, and something that Argentines have every reason to be proud of.
Posted 14 Jan 2021

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