Los Lobos PhotoFORMED: 1973, East Los Angeles, CA

Los Lobos were one of America's most distinctive and original bands of the '80s. They may have had a hit with "La Bamba" in 1987, yet that cover barely scratches the surface of their talents. Los Lobos are eclectic in the best sense of the word. While they draw equally from rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music, their music never sounds forced or self-consicious. Instead, all of their influences became one graceful, gritty sound. From their very first recordings their rich musicality was apparent; on nearly every subsequent record they have found ways to redefine and expand their sound, without ever straying from the musical traditions that form the heart and soul of the band.

After releasing an independent EP in the late '70s and an EP in 1983, Los Lobos delivered their first major-label album, How Will the Wolf Survive, in 1984; it received an enormous amount of critical acclaim, as well as a dedicated following of fans. In the next four years, they released a marginally successful attempt to make their wildly eclectic sound palatable for a pop audience (By the Light of the Moon), a soundtrack of old Ritchie Valens songs that was a hit (La Bamba), and an album of traditional Mexican music (La Pistola y El Corazon). The band took two years off and returned with The Neighborhood in 1990; the album was a varied and powerful rock & roll record that was better than anything they had released in six years. Kiko, released in 1992, brought the band into more experimental territory, without ever abandoning their graceful songwriting.

Los Lobos released a career retrospective, Just Another Band from East LA: A Collection, in 1993. The following year, David Hidalgo and Louie Perez released a side project called Latin Playboys, which also featured producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake. In 1995, the group released a children's album called Papa's Dream. In the spring of 1996, Los Lobos released Colossal Head, the proper follow-up to Kiko. This Time appeared three years later. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide