In the list of the best Latin American rock albums, published by the prestigious magazine Rolling Stone, there are 6 Colombian works. The ranking was published on September 18 on the website of La Gaceta and includes the 50 best rock albums in Latin America. The selection was made by Argentine journalist Ernesto Lechner and aims to “not only measure the impact of the works on the Latin American music market but also the combination with local rhythms that go far beyond what a work by an English-speaking group offers.”
“Spanning six decades from the 1960s to the present day, these albums summarize the sounds of Latin American rock & roll in its most ambitious and transcendent form,” the magazine says in its justification for the selection.
“Aterciopelados’ “La Pipa de la Paz” ranks third
Of the 6 Colombian works selected, the one that stands out, ranking third and making it to the podium, is the album “La Pipa de la Paz” by the Bogota-based band Aterciopelados. The alternative rock group formed by Andrea Echeverry and Hector Buitrago is celebrating 30 years of success in 2023.
“La Pipa de la Paz” was the third studio album by the group, released at the end of 1996. Released in compact disc format, it was also the last to be released on vinyl.
Produced by Phil Manzanera in London, the album allowed Aterciopelados to become the first Colombian group or artist to receive a nomination for the top award at the English-speaking Grammys: Best Latin/Alternative Album. The work includes some of the group’s most notable hits: “Cosita seria,” “No necesito,” “La voz de la patria,” and “Baracunatana.” The album also featured the single “Te juro que no,” a duet with Spanish singer Enrique Bunbury, the voice of the band Héroes del Silencio, who were also produced by Manzanera.
“La Pipa de la Paz” was only surpassed in Rolling Stone’s list by “Bocanada” by Argentine Gustavo Cerati and “Re” by the Mexican band Café Tacvba, which claims the top spot in the prestigious selection.
The other Colombians on the list
The next Colombian album on Rolling Stone’s list is “El Rock de Mi Pueblo” by Carlos Vives, the Santa Marta born artist, which ranks 26th. The magazine writes, “Directed with a punky touch by Elvis Costello’s producer, Sebastián Krys, El Rock de Mi Pueblo makes a compelling case that vallenato is Colombia’s equivalent of rock.” The album was released in 2004 and features singles such as “Voy a olvidarme de ti” and “Como tú.” The publication also highlighted the work of Vives’ beloved accordionist, Eligio Cuadrado. “It helps that the songs simmer from start to finish, animated by strident 4/4 drums and the volcanic accordions of Egidio Cuadrado,” the magazine continued.
In 42nd place is the third Colombian: Juanes, with his album “Un día normal,” released in 2002 and featuring international hits like “La paga.” “It’s no wonder that audiences worldwide went crazy for this second effort: the Latin flair of ‘La Paga’ could wake the dead, and the splendid chorus of ‘Es Por Ti’ justifies its status as a million-seller. Bonus points for the elegant version of ‘La Noche,’ a tropical gem from Colombian legend Joe Arroyo,” wrote the North American magazine.
Two Colombian rock classics on the list
At 36th place, one of the classic groups, perhaps little known to younger audiences, appears: La Nueva Banda with their album “La Gran Feria” from 1973, considered by experts as one of the first works of progressive rock in Colombia. Active for only 2 years, the band was composed of Jaime Cordoba, Orlando Betancur, Juan Carrillo, and Gustavo Caceres. They disbanded in 1974.
The other classic group that also made the Rolling Stone selection is Genesis, which ranks 44th with their self-titled album released in 1974. The selectors point out that the work was recorded in just 4 days and that it is a “mixture of folk-rock with radiant Andean melodies.”
The group was born in 1970 in a hippie commune in the Usme district of Bogota and was formed, among others, by Humberto Monroy, Edgar Restrepo Caro, Armando Narvaez, and Federico Taborda. The band was active until 1992, when its leader, Humberto Monroy, considered “the father of Colombian rock,” died of a heart attack at the age of 46.
The newer generation also recognized
Finally, the magazine also acknowledges the work of one of the younger successful bands in its selection of the 50 best albums of the best Latin American rock. This is Diamante Electrico, a group formed by Juan Galeano and Daniel Alvarez, who with their 2021 album “Mira lo que me hiciste hacer” make it to 49th place on the list. The album by the Bogota-based band includes hits like “Sueltame,” “Bogota,” and “Cuando quieras llegar.”
The group opened for The Rolling Stones at their concerts in the Colombian capital in 2015 and 2016.