Best known for their global No 1 in 1987, the Los Angeleno band first emerged through the phlegm of the punk movement and are now returning to their roots
Los Lobos reached pop’s pinnacle in 1987 when their cover of La Bamba, recorded for a film of the same name, reached No 1 around the world. On their way up, and indeed back down the other side, the Los Angeles roots-rockers have mastered multiple musical styles during nearly 50 years together – from traditional Mexican folk to jump blues and avant-rock – and have earned 11 Grammy nominations (with three wins), working or appearing with Paul Simon, the Clash, film-maker Robert Rodriguez and more along the way.
Now, to move forward, Los Lobos decided to look back. Native Sons, their 17th studio album, is a wide-ranging celebration of the LA artists that inspired the band early on. With covers of well-known pop tunes by the Beach Boys (Sail on Sailor) and Buffalo Springfield (For What It’s Worth) sitting alongside rare cuts from 60s garage rockers Thee Midniters and Latin jazz legend Willie Bobo, it’s the perfect polyglot collection for this multi-faceted ensemble. “You wouldn’t run into [these artists] at the same party,” says guitarist Louie Pérez Jr. “But once they all got to the party, everyone in the band thought, ‘Hey, this is kind of fun.’”