Prolific singer/songwriter/guitarist Lalo Guerrero, known as the “Father of Chicano Music,” died March 17 in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 88.
One of the legendary forces in Chicano music, Guerrero first gained recognition with the song “Cancion Mexicana,” which he wrote when he was in his teens.
He enjoyed a career that spanned more than six decades. His hits, dating back to 1949’s “Chicas Patas Boogie” and “Vamos a Bailar,” cover a wide range of genres, including bolero, ranchera, Tejano and mambo. Guerrero, one of the first artists to write bilingual songs, also recorded more than 25 children’s albums as part of the “Las Ardillitas de Lalo Guerrero” collection.
Throughout his career, Guerrero was signed to several labels, including Vocalion in the ’30s, Imperial in the ’40s and RCA Victor from 1957 to 1972. He collaborated with multiple artists, from Vicki Carr to Los Lobos.
“Lalo is the first great Chicano musical artist and the historian and social conscience of that
community,” Linda Ronstadt says in a statement.
Guerrero received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991 and was inducted into the Tejano Hall of Fame.
He is survived by wife Lidia and four children.