Comfort and music to fly (to spend your quarantine and not die of boredom)
As much as Argentines love The Beatles and The Rolling Stones or even Michael Jackson, they love their homegrown musical genre, Rock Nacional, so much more. Rock Nacional is a uniting force for Argentinians, just like football, and it’s something that all Argentines are fiercely proud of.
Deep Into History
Rock Nacional was born in the mid 1960’s, when musical influences from the United States and the United Kingdom made their way to Argentina. Many of the British and North American singers were also part of the hippie movement, such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix who inspired the artistic scene in Buenos Aires, El Bolsón y Capilla del Monte, where the seeds of Rock Nacional were first sown.
Some of the main artists of this time were musicians such as Tanguito and Miguel Abuelo, who frequented La Cueva, a club in Buenos Aires which was to become Argentina’s version of The Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles started out.
Biggest Rock Nacional leaders
Often referred to as “The Godfather of Argentine Rock”, Charly García has been a part of some of the most influential bands of the Rock Nacional genre, such as Sui Generis and Serú Girán. His earlier work in the 1970s was often political, commenting frequently on the military government before he became a successful artist. He had a major comeback in the late 2000s after spending a year recovering from addiction, and is still in music. He released his latest album in March 2017, but it was Pequeñas Anécdotas sobre las Instituciones which is still considered his best material to this day.
Luis Alberto Spinetta
Often cited alongside García as one of the most influential figures in the Latin American rock scene, Spinetta and García were usually considered rivals, but the truth is that they were equals until they collaborated on an unfinished song called Rezo por vos.
Spinetta released four impressive albums as part of his band Spinetta Jade, before disbanding in 1984 for his solo career. Another collaborative project, Spinetta y los Socios del Desierto, also became a stalwart of Rock Nacional, cementing Spinetta’s place in the Argentine rock hall of fame. In 2009 he performed a show in Buenos Aires which was referred to as “the greatest gig of the decade”.
Norberto Aníbal Napolitano, commonly known as Pappo, is another leading figure in Argentina’s Rock Nacional and had famous fans such as BB King, who praised him for his guitar skills. His most important musical project was Pappo’s Blues, a band which he fronted for many years in the 70s before reforming and releasing music again in the 90s. But he also had a prolific solo career and was one of the most popular musicians in Argentina for a long time. His legacy lives on larger than life since his death in 2005.
Soda Stereo/Gustavo Cerati
Soda Stereo and its lead singer Gustavo Cerati are without a doubt the most influential Rock Nacional band that have achieved worldwide fame. Soda Stereo was one of the most popular national bands throughout the 80’s and 90’s, and was given the MTV Latin Legend award in 2002, the first of its kind.
After its split in 1997, Cerati became really popular because of his avant garde sound that, alongside Soda Stereo’s pop, he used to reinvent himself over and over again one record after the other until he suffered a stroke during a concert in Caracas. He was in a coma for four years before passing away in 2014.