(WLAX/WEUX) – Tonight in celebrating Hispanic Heritage, we share the story of how Hispanic culture and sound has influenced rock n’ roll since the very beginning. Here’s reporter Alex Stokes.
“Since the beginning of Rock and Roll we’ve seen deep influences of Latino music in Rock and Roll and all of its branches,” said John Goehrke, Director of Guest Experience.
With this electric guitar, a young Ritchie Valens wrote his smash hit reinterpretation of a Mexican folk song.
Goehrke said, “By introducing Spanish lyrics into a Rock and Roll song even that alone in 1958 hadn’t been done before, so that was groundbreaking, it was innovative and it did introduce a whole new generation of teenagers and rock and roll fans to a maybe a culture that they were less familiar with.”
His contributions join those of other artists of Hispanic heritage who have their names etched in gold on the rock and roll hall of fame inductee wall.
“Everybody from Greg Errico of Sly and the Family Stone, Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Robert Trujillo of Metallica and Linda Rondstat among others,” said Goehrke.
That last name may come as a surprise to some.
Goehrke said, “We don’t maybe think of her falling into that category of Hispanic heritage but she was very proud of her Mexican roots from her grandfather and previous generations and recorded and entire album kind of celebrating her roots.”
Precious artifacts help tell these inductees stories like Robert Trujillo of Metallica’s bass guitar, the satin vest work by sly and the family stone’s Greg Errico.
“In our brand new play it loud structural exhibit we feature the famous ‘wolf’ guitar by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead,” said Goehrke.
Goehrke says the dead fostered a powerful communal aspect.
“Jerry Garcia always talked about how he tried to break down those barriers from performer and audience, it was more about we are all sharing in this experience together.”
One musician that Gorhke says certainly has shared his heritage is Carlos Santana.
“These collaborations, it’s doing what we’ve seen in music today. It’s introducing his music to the fan bases of these other artists and vice versa,” said Goehrke.
Pre pandemic the museum has participated in events like the Annual Latino Heritage Fest but in today’s world they encourage people to make use of their free online educational resources.
Goehrke said, “Rock and roll has never been one thing. It’s never looked one way, it’s never sounded one way. If you have one image of rock and roll I would encourage you to broaden that representation.”