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  • Lección de twist (lp + cd)-1 Lección de twist (lp + cd)-2
    LP + CD MR 384
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From the mid-50s, rock and roll reached Argentina through musicians like Bill Halley & His Comets, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chubby Checker. At the end of that decade, the Mexican band Los Teen Tops, who performed rock songs with lyrics in Spanish, were also very successful. The fame and popularity of these artists led to the emergence of the first rock musicians and bands in Argentina.

Los Jets was undoubtedly one of the most important of these early bands. The group was formed in mid-1961 and started out with four members: Héctor Ziblat (bass guitar), Jorge “Jackie” Álvarez (vocals), Guillermo Fuertes (guitar and vocals) and Héctor “Memmo” Campione (drums). After a few months, a fifth member joined the band, Martin “Chivo” Echemendi, an excellent drummer who played alongside Memmo, thus creating the first group in Argentina with two drummers. They recorded four tracks for the Opus label: ‘La paloma’, ‘Multiplicación’, ‘Lección de twist’ and ‘Okey muchachos’.

In September 1962 the line-up of Los Jets changed for the second time, as Jackie left to start a new band, Jackie y Los Ciclones. The new lead vocalist, Jorge Omar Vidal, also came from the same neighbourhood as the original line-up, the Flores district. The best years of Los Jets start at that point, as they performed a host of shows, recorded and travelled around.

Their first LP was released in July 1963 on the Opus label. It was titled “La pecosita”, and the track with the same name was the group’s first hit. During this period, their records were played frequently on the radio, they performed constantly and appeared on several television shows, where they reached mass audiences.

The group’s second LP was released at the height of their success, in mid-1964, this time on the Odeón label. A few months earlier Memmo had left the band. This album contained three versions of Beatles songs: ‘Ámame’ (‘Love Me Do’), ‘Quiero tener tu mano’ (‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’) and ‘Twist y gritos’ (‘Twist And Shout’), the third one being the title of the LP. It also included the band’s biggest hit, ‘Lana’, which was a milestone in their career, and ‘Shuripep’, a song composed by Los Jets themselves when that still wasn’t common practice.

Although some fans of the group talk about them as one of the first bands to “imitate” the Beatles, the truth is that Los Jets were part of that period that anticipated the famous ‘British Invasion’. After The Beatles conquered the United States in February 1964, Los Jets’ label, Odeón (representatives of EMI in Argentina), commissioned them to record three Beatles songs translated into Spanish, anticipating the release of the original tracks. This meant that Los Jets became the first band to perform The Beatles’ music in Argentina (and possibly in South America).

Recognising that The Beatles were going to change the pop landscape radically, Los Jets tried to evolve with the times and the third album they recorded changed direction in terms of quality of execution and production. Regrettably, Odeón decided not to release it and shortly after recording it they erased the master tape. Only two Beatles tracks survived, which were released as a single: ‘Niñito’ and ‘Te conseguiré’. According to members of the band and their inner circle of friends, this was how the group’s most powerful recording disappeared.

In these lost recordings there was a new band member, the guitarist Óscar Islas, former member of Los Ciclones. Later, in May 1965, Jorge Vidal left the group and Óscar joined permanently, while Guillermo became the lead vocalist until Los Jets disbanded in February 1966. The accompanying CD also features tracks of the only live recording of Los Jets that has survived, recorded in January 1966.

You can listen to the band’s interesting attempts to evolve and progress by playing tracks not just by new artists such as The Beatles and Los Shakers but also jazz classics such as ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and ‘Caravana’. Their rendition of Ray Charles’ famous song ‘What’d I Say’ shows the charisma of the band on stage.

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