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Bridges

Chapter 7: The Secret Latin Sounds of Rock & Roll

[OPENING CHORD OF "HARD DAY'S NIGHT," THE BEATLES]

WASHBURNE: (OC) One of the worst things that could happen to the Latin Music industry was the Beatles and the popularity of Rock and Roll in the mid-1960s (VO) because really that captured the youth in the United States and in the Caribbean, for that matter.

FLORES: (VO) I loved my Rock 'n Roll. I loved the Beatles. I was affected by all of that. (OC) The sixties, with the advent of Rock and Roll, R&B, changed the music scene even in East Harlem. Because now you have a third generation that's coming up. They're coming up in the projects. Now this is my generation. And they're much- even much more English-speaking than their predecessors.

COLON: At that time, you know how could we sit down and start listening to Rock and Roll, as good as it was because I like the rhythm patterns, the drums especially, all the things they did... But you know, musically, we're talking about music -saxes, trumpets, this and that, the brightness and soft and loud...

[FOOTAGE: BEATLES AT SHEA STUDIUM 1965]

SULLIVAN: "Here are the Beatles!"

COLON: (VO) I'm not talking about popularity and playing a concert with 60,000 people. You know? We never were able to do that!

[FOOTAGE: BEATLES AT SHEA STADIUM SING "TWIST AND SHOUT"]

Ironically many early rock songs, like "Twist and Shout" covered by the Beatles, contain Latin influences in their chord progressions, bass lines and rhythms.

[BEATLES PLAY "TWIST AND SHOUT"]

[FOOTAGE: BROADWAY, NYC]

[MUSIC: ISLEY BROTHERS "TWIST AND SHOUT"]

They were the work of songwriters and producers in New York, in the Brill Building, located just four blocks away from the Palladium.

[FOOTAGE: BRILL BUILDING FACADE]

Many were Mambonicks...

[STILL: DOC POMUS AND MORT SHULMAN]

like Doc Pomus and Mort Shulman, who wrote hits for the Drifters including "Save the Last Dance for Me."

Pomus would call their work "Jewish Latin."

RUBINSON: (VO) The influence of the Latin music on Rock and Roll was seminal, seminal. (OC) Latin music was everywhere, it was universal for us growing up in the fifties and naturally, when the musicians then turned to the recording industry, and started writing songs, producing records and so forth, (VO) people started making music that they had heard all their lives which became the Latin influence on Rock and Roll, and particularly on Pop music.

[FOOTAGE: THE KINGSMEN perform "LOUIE LOUIE"]

Other classic songs have a direct lineage from Latin music like "Louie, Louie."

[KINGSMEN: "Louie, Louie..."]

It was the Kingsmen's version of an R&B record, which in turn was based on a Cha-Cha-Cha... written by Cuban René Touzet.

[STILL: RENE TOUZET album cover]

[FOOTAGE: ROLLING STONES perform "SATISFACTION"]

The riffs and rhythms of Latin music became part of the rock arsenal.

One, Two, Cha Cha Cha.

Compare the Beatles' "Day Tripper"...

[STILL: THE BEATLES "DAY TRIPPER"]

with this Machito record from the forties.

[STILL: MACHITO ALBUM COVER "FREEZELANDIA"]

Or "Caramelos," a Cuban hit from 1960...

[STILL: SONORA MATANCERA]

...with the Young Rascals "Good Lovin'"

[FOOTAGE: YOUNG RASCALS perform "GOOD LOVIN'"]

RUBINSON: (OC) When the records came out with the Cuban or the Latin influence in them, the people had no idea what they were hearing. They never heard it before. They just loved it.

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