Formed: 1982, Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico
members: adolfo Ángel, keyboards, musical director (born fresnillo, zacatecas, mexico, 1963); gustavo Ángel, guitar, vocals (born fresnillo, zacatecas, mexico, 1968); fernando Ángel, bass; karlo vidal, drums; jonathan amabiliz, percussion.
best-selling album since 1990: cómo te recuerdo (1998)
hit songs since 1990: "mi vida eres tú," "una tarde fue," "como tú"
At the turn of the twenty-first century, Los Temerarios found themselves kings of the hill in the regional Mexican subgenre known as grupero. The term refers to a band that plays ballads or tropical cumbias and does not give any member top billing.
Brothers Adolfo and Gustavo Ángel realized they wanted to go into music in the late 1970s, when their father rented a rehearsal room to local musicians. In 1982 they recruited their cousin, Fernando, to play bass. They recorded their first album for CBS Records in 1983. Their first hits, the ballads "Copa Rota" and "Por Ella Lloramos los Dos," foreshadowed the group's penchant for sentimentality and drama. The deep-pocketed label insisted on providing them with a producer, but even as greenhorns, Los Temerarios took charge of production and arrangements. Adolfo writes most of their material, drawing from personal experience.
However, their twangy norteño-grupero fusions did not meet sales expectations, and in 1987 the group signed with the Monterrey, Mexico, independent label Disa. While there the group adapted to a more urban, ballad-centered sound. Gustavo's voice had matured into a piercing tenor that was equal parts Art Garfunkel and George Michael. Decked out in sport coats and slacks, the group added a pop sheen to a genre stigmatized by some in Mexico as working-class.
Los Temerarios reached a creative peak with the album Mi Vida Eres Tú (1991), whose stirring title track juxtaposed mariachi trumpets with a stately, echoing beat. The cumbia track "Esa Mujer" became a staple at Mexican dance halls thanks to Fernando's staccato bass lines and Adolfo's ethereal synthesizers.
The album was the first under the Ángels' label, AFG Sigma Records, which eventually signed more than fifty artists but was locked in a hopeless battle for market share with the dominant player, FonoVisa. The Angels got out of the business side of things in 1996 when they sold AFG Sigma to FonoVisa. Their new label's promotional muscle helped make them Mexico's most popular grupero act by 1998.
As the 1990s ended, the group continued to evolve toward pop, using more acoustic guitar and piano and fewer drum machines. For the quintet's 2002 CD, Una Lágrima No Basta, Adolfo played a greater role, writing all the songs and singing or sharing lead vocals on four cuts. The title track, the album's first single, is a heartbreak-themed ballad with a doo-wop rhythm and calliope-sounding keyboard riffs. "Por Qué Será," a lovely power ballad, uses steel guitar to impart country shadings. "Comer a Besos" demonstrates the subtle but contagious grooves of the group's cumbias. Unfortunately, Adolfo, who sings like a smoother, blander Ringo Starr, takes an ill-advised turn as lead vocalist on the track. Adolfo also sings lead on another creative track, the flamenco "Gitana Baila." Although he is a talented tunesmith, his lyrics are more simplistic than those of his songwriting idols, Juan Gabriel and José Alfredo Jiménez.
Spot Light: Cómo Te Recuerdo
with the 1998 album cómo te recuerdo, which was certified platinum by the recording industry association of america for sales exceeding 1 million units, los temerarios became the best-selling act in grupero music.
los temerarios have always been more about a sound than poetic or deep lyrics, and cómo te recuerdo represents the culmination of their layered, echoing production. the title track presents a gorgeous introduction complete with acoustic guitar, congas, and strings. gustavo's honeyed tenor squeezes every last drop of conviction out of the heartbroken lyrics. "bella pero mala" incorporates touches of piano and twangy guitar. the track also illustrates adolfo's predilection for less-than-subtle lyrics about his personal life: "she fell in love with someone, and that someone left her alone, / all alone, and she came back," he proclaims with resignation. the album's design represented a quantum leap for the group, which left behind the low-budget packaging typical of the genre in favor of a twenty-four-page booklet. but it also took more than a worthy album to get them to the top of the grupero heap. the genre heavyweights los bukis and bronco broke up in 1996 and 1997, respectively, clearing the way for los temerarios, whose fraternal bond has held them together for over two decades.
Although Los Temerarios' tightrope walk between rootsy regional Mexican and sugary pop has sometimes alienated hardcore fans in both camps, their sugary melodies and inoffensive lyrics have helped them remain radio staples since the late 1980s.
Mi Vida Eres Tú (AFG Sigma, 1991); Tu Última Canción (AFG Sigma, 1993); Camino del Amor (FonoVisa, 1995); Cómo Te Recuerdo (FonoVisa, 1998); En la Madrugada Se Fue (FonoVisa, 2000); Una Lágrima No Basta (FonoVisa, 2002).
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