Los Lobos – La Bamba

First Hit #1: August 29, 1987

Now here’s a throwback, a soundtrack hit made to recall a Richie Valens rock-influenced cover of a traditional song. So it’s several layers removed from the original, and unfortunately it’s also one of those songs that I just hate.

It’s not Los Lobos’ fault, they do a good job and have some pretty impressive guitar work thrown in there for good measure. No, it has nothing to do with the song, which is simple but reasonably catchy. Instead, it’s because this is a song that was overplayed within an inch of its life when I was kid, thrown on whenever someone wanted to make something sound ‘fun’ by having a song that is a bit up tempo and a bit silly, with lyrics nobody can understand anyway – I live in a part of the world with very few Spanish influences – so they don’t distract from the ‘good times’ that aren’t actually that fun. This is the kind of thing you get in a school assembly in elementary school, in other words. Hearing it so often, and associating it with stuff that I didn’t enjoy, has kind of sucked all the joy out of it. Objectively, it is a pretty fun song, but I just associate it with misery.

I imagine this is exactly what kids today are going to think about Psy in 20 years.

This entry was posted in 1987 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Los Lobos – La Bamba

  1. RBerman says:

    Valens’ original was a great early example of folk rock, so nothing to complain about there. Los Lobos imitate Valens so well that they deserve credit for fidelity, if not creativity. This is not a track that would have attracted any attention in 1987, next to Madonna (the sound of the early 80s) and U2 (the sound of the 90s), if it wasn’t also an entry in that very 80s category of “singles off of movie soundtracks.”

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