Los Lobos, the iconic East Los Angeles rock band best known for their hit version of “La Bamba,” will receive the BMI Icon Award during the organization’s 24th annual Latin Awards. The event, to be hosted by BMI president & CEO Mike O’Neill and Delia Orjuela, BMI VP of Latin Writer/Publisher Relations, will be held March 21 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Formed in 1973 by David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Louie Perez and Conrad Lozano — fellow students at Garfield High School in East L.A.– Los Lobos (the group also includes Steve Berlin and Enrique Gonzalez), have been doing Latin music long before Latin music was cool, blending rock ‘n roll with Chicano roots.
The group, bilingual and bicultural before the concept became a buzzword, rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987 with their cover of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba,” the same year they won a Grammy in the-then newly instated category of Best Mexican American Performance for the song “Anselma.”
Los Lobos’ exploration of the musical landscape has continued unabated, spanning Latin, folk, rock and even R&B. They’ve collected three Grammy awards along the way, plus Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
The BMI Icon Award, whose past recipients include Gloria Estefan, Paul Simon, Dolly Parton and Carlos Santana, is presented to songwriters who have had unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.
“Los Lobos have been musical ambassadors to the Mexican-American community,” said BMI’s Orjuela in a statement. “Their music reflects the diversity and musical heritage of America, weaving together blues, rock, norteño, and cumbia.”
During the March 21 ceremony, BMI will also honor the Latin songwriter, song and publisher of the year plus the writers and publishers of BMI’s most-performed songs of the past year.
This will also mark the first time ever that BMI expands its criteria for determining winners; in addition to terrestrial radio performances, data will also include streaming and satellite radio.