Menudo was a Puerto Rican boy band that was formed in the 1970s by producer Edgardo Díaz, releasing their first album in 1977. The band achieved much success, especially during the 1980s, becoming the most popular Latin America's teen musical group of the era.
During its course, the band had several radio hits. Their success led them to also release two feature films: Una Aventura Llamada Menudo and Menudo: La Película.
The band was a starting point for stars like Ricky Martin and Robi Draco Rosa, who were members during their youth.
Menudo was founded by Puerto Rican producer Edgardo Díaz in the late 1970s. After the success he had with the management of the Spanish teen-group La Pandilla (1973-1976), Díaz returned to Puerto Rico to form a new group. As opposed to La Pandilla, his idea was to form an all-boys group where the members would rotate as they grew older, with the intention to keep the group young. A member would be replaced when he reached his 16th birthday, his voice changed, he grew facial hair, or grew too tall.
The first incarnation of the band included two groups of brothers: Díaz's cousins Ricky Meléndez, Carlos Meléndez, Oscar Meléndez, and Fernando Sallaberry and Nefty Sallaberry. The name of the group came after an incident during their second rehearsal, where Díaz's sister entered the driveway of the house they were at and, puzzled by finding five young boys dancing and singing in the garage, she loudly exclaimed: "¡Qué mucho menudo hay aqui!" ("What a lot of young folk we have here!"). The phrase stuck, and the group was thus named Menudo.
In the next few years, Menudo toured Puerto Rico, performing at shopping malls, fiestas patronales (a citywide yearly celebration), and other events. In 1977, they released their first album, titled Los Fantasmas. The title track was a hit for the group, and they were able to get a regular TV show on Telemundo Canal 2 every Saturday night. After that, they followed with a second album titled Laura.
Success in the 1980s
During the late 70s, the group released several albums that were moderately successful, during which new members replaced the original ones. However, it was in 1981 that the album Quiero Ser launched the group into stardom. The line-up of the band at this time was Rene Farrait, Johnny Lozada, Xavier Serbia, Miguel Cancel and Ricky Meléndez, the only remaining original member. The album included hit songs like "Quiero Ser", "Subete A Mi Moto", "Rock En La TV", "Claridad", and "Mi Banda Toca Rock".
The group became very popular throughout Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, including Brazil. During that time, Diaz was able to afford a Lockheed JetStar that had belonged to American President Richard Nixon and the Shah of Iran. The plane carried Menudo's name on both sides of the fuselage and made it the first boy band ever with its own private jet. The group also had a fan base in Spain and the rest of Europe.
In 1982, Rene Farrait was replaced by Charlie Masso and debuted with Menudo in the album Por Amor. During this boom of popularity, terms like "Menuditis" and "Menudomania" surfaced in the popular language, much like the Beatlemania years before. Their popularity was such that they even starred in their own feature film called Una Aventura Llamada Menudo. The film starred Gladys Rodríguez as "Señora Mía", and included songs like "Clara" and "A Volar".
In early 1983 during their first visit to New York, Xavier Serbia gave way to new member Ray Reyes. Their American fan base grew, especially among the young, as evidenced by "Menudo on ABC", a series of four-minute music spots that aired during the Fall 1983 season of the American Broadcasting Company's youth-oriented Saturday morning programming block. They also sang the theme song for ABC's Rubik, the Amazing Cube. Miguel Cancel became the first member to voluntarily quit the group. According to an interview made in 1998, he was unhappy that he was not able to sing his songs after a sudden voice change and opted to leave before his scheduled departure, thus being replaced by Roy Rosello. Menudo signed a 6-year multi-million dollar contract with RCA International. During this year, they also released their Spanish album A Todo Rock.
In 1984, Johnny Lozada was replaced by Robby Rosa (now known as Robi "Draco" Rosa). With Robby, Menudo released their first English album Reaching Out which featured the theme track "Like a Cannonball" for the Hollywood movie Cannonball Run 2 and their first Portuguese album Mania, both featuring versions of some of their Spanish hits. Tours took place in the U.S. and Brazil during the first half of 1984.
In July 1984, Ricky Melendez, who was the only original member remaining, left the group in a huge concert held in his birth town, Caguas, Puerto Rico. He became the only Menudo member to last seven years in the group. He was replaced with who would become the group's most popular alumnus around the world, Ricky Martin. With Martin, Menudo recorded their next Spanish album Evolucion. Their popularity even reached parts of Asia including Japan and the Philippines. Menudo also made English commercials for Pepsi, Scope, McDonald's and Crest during that time. They also did a guest appearance on the popular American children's program Sesame Street. To much the surprise of fans and Ray Reyes himself, he was the next to leave the group due to a growth spurt and voice change. In a 1998 interview, he stated he was caught off guard when Menudo was being interviewed in 1985 and the interviewer asked who was next to leave when Edgardo Diaz stated Ray was next considering that Charlie was the oldest at this point and was in the group the longest. Ray was replaced by Raymond Acevedo in 1985.
During that time, Menudo released their second English album titled Menudo which contains the songs "Hold Me" (#62 Billboard Hot 100, RCA 14087) and "Explosion" both with lead vocals by Robby Rosa. They also released their next Spanish album Ayer & Hoy and their second Portuguese album A Festa Vai Comecar. Menudo held a successful tour in Brazil, performing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans. However, there were allegations that the tour was poorly organized. In a concert in Rio de Janeiro, the capacity was 60,000 but 70,000 tickets were sold. Two women died. In São Paulo, a 100,000 capacity stadium was sold-out with 200,000 people. In a stadium in Campinas, a city of São Paulo, it rained, and the concert, as a result, was delayed 4 hours. The film, Mixed Blood, featured scenes in which Menudo was indirectly showcased, such as one with a Menudo poster on a wall and one where characters shopped at a "Menudomania" store.
In 1986, Roy Rosello was replaced by Sergio Blass. No farewell concerts were held. The group continued to release several albums during this year starting with their only Italian album titled Viva! Bravo! which they showcased in Italy in the San Remo Music Festival. The Spanish album Refrescante, the English album Can't Get Enough, and the Portuguese album Menudo were released respectively throughout this year followed by tours in the United States, Latin America including Brazil, and the Philippines.
Internal conflicts and image change
In January 1987, Charlie was replaced by Ralphy Rodriguez. Then the group began facing some internal conflicts. First, Robby Rosa quit without warning in the middle of a Brazilian tour, becoming the second member to quit voluntarily. Apparently, he had written a song and presented the idea to management. They turned him down and supposedly mocked him, which prompted him to leave. They did this so that they could use Robby's song without compensating him. Robby's lawyer prevented them from using his song. Also, the group was dropped from RCA International due to low record sales. As a result, they signed a contract with Melody International Mexico. Charlie was asked to return to the group to complete the Brazilian tour and to embark on the Summer in the Street U.S. tour and introduce new member Ruben Gomez.
At this point, the group underwent a complete image makeover, changing their look to a more rough, rugged, rock-like look. This was also applied to their music which had been described before as bubble-gum pop. They released the Spanish album Somos Los Hijos del Rock, followed by an English-Tagalog album for the Philippines titled In Action with Ralphy and Ruben. In late 1987, Ralphy was pulled from the group by his parents citing improper treatment by management. This eventually came to the light in 1991 when the Menudo sex scandal broke. Again, Charlie was asked to fill in for the Philippines tour which would be the last for Menudo as their popularity there waned.
In early 1988, new member Angelo Garcia joined Menudo replacing Ralphy Rodriguez. Their final English album titled Sons of Rock, was released scoring an international hit "You Got Potential" as well as featuring "TLC" with lead vocals by Ricky Martin. In August 1988, Raymond Acevedo's contract was about to be over, but decided to leave before auditions were held for his replacement. As a result, Menudo performed as a quartet for a few months. Raymond was replaced by Robert Avellanet and the album Sombras & Figuras was released at the end of the year.
In July 1989, after 5 years with the group, Ricky Martin left and was replaced by Rawy Torres. Ricky Martin's last concert with Menudo was in the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The group released the album Los Ultimos Heroes. This production reestablished Menudo's popularity in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, where a 5-part miniseries was shot to promote the album.
Legal issues and line-up changes
Despite their newfound success, the group kept facing problems when member Angelo Garcia left the group, breaking his contract with Menudo. Garcia was replaced by Cesar Abreu, however he only lasted seven months. Before Abreu left the group, management was preparing for Sergio's departure and was going to be replaced by their first non-Puerto Rican member, Adrian Olivares of Mexico. However, Abreu left, only delaying Sergio's departure. Management decided to keep Sergio for another Spanish album No Me Corten El Pelo and was released with Sergio, Ruben, Robert, Rawy, and Adrian.
Edgardo Diaz left Puerto Rico and held auditions in Miami, Florida, signing Miami teens Alexis Grullon, Ashley Ruiz, and Andres Blazquez and Pecos, Texas resident Abel Talamantez. The first album with the new line-up was Detras de tu Mirada. But improper allegations continued and Univision's Cristina aired a special on a Menudo sex scandal.
Menudo continued to work, releasing an English single titled "Dancin, Movin, Shakin", and a follow-up in 1993, titled "Cosmopolitan Girl", which would be the first of several English albums on McGillis Records. They also continued to travel through Latin America.
On September 17, 1994, court ordered embargo of a Menudo concert by Puerto Rico Court Marshals. Teleonce Television news coverage of the confiscation of money and merchandise as ordered by the Superior Court of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The order was a result of a 250,000-dollar judgement against Menudo and its management by former music producer of the band Pedro "Papo" Gely.
After several albums released, in 1997 the group released their last Spanish album under the name of Menudo, entitled Tiempo De Amar. The album was very successful, producing several hit singles. After that, the rights and the name Menudo was sold and the band changed the name to MDO. A self-titled Spanish album was released, increasing the group's popularity in Latin America and the U.S. MDO has continued to release albums despite some changes in management (see main article: MDO.)
In 2000, MDO released their album Subir Al Cielo with critical success. The album lead track "Te Quise Olvidar" topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks for several weeks and became the group signature' song. The group follow-up singles "Sin Ti" and "Me Huele A Soledad" also went top 10 in the U.S., showing that they are a real group.
In 2002, former members Sergio, Ruben, Robert, Angelo and Rawy reunited under the name "Los Ultimos Heroes" giving numerous concerts in Venezuela.
In early 2003, MDO officially broke up on amicable terms. The members wanted to pursue other projects. Edgardo Diaz introduced the new MDO in January 2005.
In 2004, Edgardo Diaz announced that he will be bringing a new group with the Menudo formula into the music industry. Initially expecting this new group to be named Menudo, he surprised the press and general public by naming them Tick Tock.
Also in 2004, former Menudo members Roy, Raymond, Ruben, Sergio and Andy Blasquez reunited under the name and banner: Menudo: La Reunion. They were based and focused primarily on a series of 'Brazilian' tours. Sergio left due to his prior commitment with "Los Ultimos Heroes", and was replaced with 'Anthony Galindo.'Andy would later be replaced by former MDO member 'Caleb Aviles' before disbanding in late 2005, early 2006.
In January 2005, producer Edgardo Díaz introduced the new MDO with four new members: Daniel Rodríguez, Luis Montes, Elliot Suro, and Lorenzo Duarte. The first three were among the contestants of Puerto Rican reality/talent show Objetivo Fama. This latest incarnation of the group achieved great success with their single "Otra Vez" which took them all across Latin America.
Also, in 2005, former Menudo members Rene, Johnny, Miguel, Ricky, Charlie, and Ray reunited once again to perform the songs that Menudo popularized during their era under the name & banner El Reencuentro: Momento del Adios making this their farewell tour. Plans are on the way to bring this production to Latin American and the U.S. Also in 2005, Sergio, Angelo, Robert, Rawy and Adrian Olivares reunited again under the name Los Ultimos Heroes after their successful reunion concerts in 2002.
In 2006, former Menudo: La Reunion members, Anthony and Ruben reunited and formed the duo Blacksheep and continue touring in Brazil. To date the duo has grown a large fan base in both Brazil and Hispanic America.
In 2007, a re-release of the 1992 VHS film of Menudo The making of Dancin, Movin, Shakin" was released on McGillis Records. Entitled Triple Threat DVD/CD Combo, the box set included the Film on DVD for the first time, along with two music CDs, Latin Teen Stars and Dance Music All Night Long, featuring hit songs by Menudo, ex-Menudo members. The single, "Dancin Movin Shakin", and "Cosmopolitan Girl" was released digitally on iTunes in May 2009.
The New Menudo
In 2007 it was announced that Menudo would return after signing a multi-album contract with SonyBMG label Epic Records.
The recasting of the band was profiled in a MTV reality series entitled Making Menudo that had launched as a primetime series on October 25, 2007, but was later pushed to afternoons due to low ratings. The series ended on November 20, 2007. The new members were José Bordonada Collazo, Chris Moy, Emmanuel Vélez Pagán, José Monti Montañez, and Carlos Olivero. The group disbanded in early 2009.
Menudo 2011 New CD
Menudo released in January 2011 a compilation of English songs on iTunes, some of which had never been released until now. The CD is titled Enchanted Island.
- 1977 Los Fantasmas [Original Members]
- 1978 Laura [Original Members]
- 1979 Chiquitita [New Member: Rene]
- 1979 Felicidades [Same as above]
- 1980 Mas Mucho Mas [New Member: Johnny]
- 1980 Es Navidad [New Member: Xavier]
- 1981 Fuego [Same as above]
- 1981 Xanadu [Same as above]
- 1981 Quiero Ser [New Member: Miguel]
- 1982 Por Amor [New Member: Charlie]
- 1982 Una Aventura Llamada Menudo (Movie Soundtrack) [Same as above]
- 1982 Feliz Navidad [Same as above]
- 1983 Adios Miguel [Various]
- 1983 A Todo Rock [New Members: Ray and Roy]
- 1984 Reaching Out [New Member: Robby]
- 1984 Mania [Same as above]
- 1984 Evolución [New Member: Ricky Martin]
- 1985 Menudo (English) [New Member: Raymond]
- 1985 Ayer y Hoy [Same as above]
- 1985 A Festa Vai Começar [Same as above]
- 1986 Viva! Bravo! (Italian) [New Member: Sergio]
- 1986 Refrescante [Same as above]
- 1986 Can't Get Enough [Same as above]
- 1986 Menudo (Portuguese) [Same as above]
- 1987 Somos Los Hijos del Rock [New members: Ralphy and Ruben]
- 1987 In Action (English-Tagalog) [Same as above]
- 1988 Sons of Rock [New member: Angelo]
- 1988 Sombras & Figuras [New member: Robert]
- 1989 Los últimos héroes [New member: Rawy]
- 1990 Os Ultimos Herois [New member: Cesar]
- 1990 No Me Corten El Pelo [New member: Adrian]
- 1991 Detras de tu Mirada [New members: Alexis, Ashley, Andy & Abel]
- 1992 Dancin, Movin, Shakin [same as above]
- 1992 15 Años [Same as above]
- 1993 Vem Pra Mim (Portuguese) [New member: Ricky Lopez]
- 1993 Cosmopolitan Girl [same as above]
- 1994 Imaginate... [Same as above]
- 1994 If You're Not Here (1994 remake version) [same as above]
- 1996 Tiempo De Amar [New members: Anthony & Didier]
- 2007 More Than Words [Carlos, Chris, Emmanuel, Jose, and Monti]
- 2009 Let's Talk About Love (Build-A-Bear) [Monti, JC Gonzalez, JG]
- 2011 Enchanted Island [compilation of Menudo English hits some that had never been released to the public]
- 1977-1979 Nefty Sallaberry (replaced by Rene Farrait)
- 1977-1980 Carlos Meléndez (replaced by Johnny Lozada)
- 1977-1980 Fernando Sallaberry (replaced by Xavier Serbia)
- 1977-1981 Oscar Melendez (replaced by Miguel Cancel)
- 1979-1982 Rene Farrait (replaced by Charlie Masso)
- 1980-1983 Xavier Serbia (replaced by Ray Reyes)
- 1981-1983 Miguel Cancel (replaced by Roy Rosello)
- 1980-1984 Johnny Lozada (replaced by Robby Rosa)
- 1977-1984 Ricky Melendez (replaced by Ricky Martin)
- 1983-1985 Ray Reyes (replaced by Raymond Acevedo)
- 1983-1986 Roy Rosello (replaced by Sergio Blass)
- 1982-1987 Charlie Masso (replaced by Ralphy Rodriguez)
- 1984-1987 Robby Rosa (replaced by Ruben Gomez)
- 1984-1989 Ricky Martin (replaced by Rawy Torres)
- 1985-1988 Raymond Acevedo (replaced by Robert Avellanet)
- 1986-1990 Sergio Blass (replaced by Edward Aguilera)
- 1987-1988 Ralphy Rodriguez (replaced by Angelo Garcia)
- 1988-1990 Angelo Garcia (replaced by Cesar Abreu)
- 1990-1990 Cesar Abreu (replaced by Adrian Olivares)
- 1987-1990 Ruben Gomez (replaced by Jonathan Montenegro)
- 1988-1991 Robert Avellanet (replaced by Alexis Grullon)
- 1989-1991 Rawy Torres (replaced by Ashley Ruiz)
- 1991-1991 Edward Aguilera (replaced by Andy Blazquez)
- 1991-1991 Jonathan Montenegro (replaced by Abel Talamantez)
- 1990-1993 Adrian Olivares (replaced by Ricky Lopez)
- 1991-1995 Ashley Ruiz (replaced by Anthony Galindo)
- 1993-1996 Ricky Lopez (replaced by Didier Hernandez)
- 1991-1997 Andy Blazquez (replaced by Daniel Rene)
- 2007-2009 José Bordonada Collazo
- 2007-2009 Chris Moy
- 2007-2009 Emmanuel Vélez Pagán
- 2007-2009 José Monti Montañez
- 2007-2009 Carlos Olivero
- Pop culture in Puerto Rico
- Ricky Martín
- Angelo Garcia
- Roy Rosello
- Miguel Cancel
- Ralphy Rodríguez
- Carlos Meléndez (singer)
- Pablo Portillo
- Caleb Avilés
- Abel Talamantez
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- List of Menudo members
- Show Business: A Puerto Rican Pop Music Machine, Time, June 27, 1983. URL accessed on May 12, 2010.
- Top Pop Singles 1955-1999. Joel Whitburn. 2000. Record Research Inc. p. 429. ISBN 0-89820-139-X
- Edgardo Diaz the owner of Menudo defends
- Tubular: Three big helpings of Menudo, with a twist
- Menudo's Music on Myspace page
- MTV Making Menudo
- Menudo Myspace page
- Menudo's Gyggs page