It’s here! The long awaited book on the life of
my dad, Lalo Guerrero. Written by Lalo Guerrero and
Sherilyn Meece Mentes and published by the University of Arizona
Press, it’s written in a comfortable narrative style
with my dad telling his story in the first person. He
tells of our family history, which began in Mexico and moved
to the United States, when his parents immigrated to Tucson,
Arizona, where he was born in 1916. It’s an incredible
story of a man who came from financially humble beginnings
and became a cultural icon to Chicanos and Mexicanos alike.
There are great stories from his childhood, travels with his
musical groups, recording career, and family life. The
stories range from the very humorous to some of the most difficult
and challenging experiences of his life. Regarding yours
truly, he tells of buying me my first guitar, my first band
Mark & the Escorts, and our recording and “live”
performance experiences, including our concert in Paris.
He also writes about my brother Dan and I accompanying
him to the White House, where he received the National Medal
of the Arts from President Clinton. The book also includes
lots of great photographs from every phase of his life and
career. I was honored to be handed the almost impossible
task of putting together my dad’s discography.
It was a Herculean task gathering and organizing all the information
on his recordings, from whatever source available. I
wound up with around 700 titles! I included a few pages
of information on some of his most successful songs, the record
labels for which he recorded, his musical groups, and definitions
of the styles of music. His musical legacy is awesome,
incredibly diverse and unparalleled.
The following is the text that is
printed on the back of the book that gives a good overview
of the book: “He has been called “the father
of Chicano music” and “the original Chicano hep
cat.” A modest man in awe of his own celebrity,
he has sung of the joys and sorrows, dreams and frustrations
of the Mexican American community over a sixty year career.
Lalo Guerrero is an American original, and his music jubilantly
reflects the history of Chicano popular culture and music.
Lalo’s autobiography takes readers on a musical roller
coaster, from his earliest enjoyment of Latino and black sounds
in Tucson to his burgeoning career in Los Angeles singing
with Los Carlistas, the quartet with which he began his recording
career in 1938. Through the years, Lalo mastered boleros,
rancheras, salsa, mambos, cha-cha, and swing; he performed
protest songs, children’s music, and corridos that tell
of his people’s struggles. Riding the crest of
changing styles, he wrote pachuco boogies in one period and
penned clever Spanish parodies of American hit songs in another.
For all of these contributions to American music, Lalo was
awarded a National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton.
“Lalo” is an often funny sometimes sentimental
story that traces the musical genius of a man whose talent
has taken him all over the world but who still believes in
giving back to the community. His story is a gift to
that community and an enduring testament to a life in music.”
“Lalo: My Life and Music”
is available, in soft and hard cover, at major bookstores
(or ordered, ISBN 0-8165-2214-6), at
The following are sound bytes
of Lalo Guerrero recordings: "Tin Marin de do Pingue"
is a rock & roll song recorded c. 1955; "No Chicanos
on TV," a comedy song with a message recorded c. 1982;
and "Cuando Me Muera Por Ti," a ballad recorded
c. 1964. All three songs were written and performed
by Lalo Guerrero.