Tuesday, December 19, 2017

"Will the Wolf Survive?" by Los Lobos

Song#:  2261
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  84
Peak:  78
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock, Latin Rock

Pop Bits:  This East L.A. Chicano band formed in 1973 and they honed their skill until finally being able to release a self-financed/distributed debut album in 1978 titled Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles. Eventually, the band's sound evolved to a mix of traditional Latin and modern rock and that secured a deal with the Slash label in 1983, which resulted in an EP ...And a Time to Dance. Although it didn't sell too well, reviews were sparkling and it gave them the opportunity to record a full-length follow-up titled How Will the Wolf Survive? This first single kicked off the LP and it did fine at Rock getting to #26.  The attention the song got along with critical praise for the album allowed the single to crossover onto the Pop chart for a few weeks. The album would get to #47 and be included on several year-end best-of lists.

ReduxReview:  I totally missed the boat on this one when it came out. Due to reviews and their cult-like popularity, I was aware of the band but didn't pursue listening to them. That was a mistake on my part. Although I'm not sure I would have appreciated them as much at the time as I do now (as my ears and tastes are so much better). I boarded their bandwagon after I bought their experimental 1992 album Kiko. I just loved that album and over time I went back and discovered their other albums. How Will the Wolf Survive is certainly a gem in their catalog and this song is a standout. The jangly guitars are great along with the vocals of David Hildago. Although this band has remained popular over the years, they really should have been much bigger than they were.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Their EP ...And a Time to Dance resulted in the band's first Grammy nomination and win. They won in the Best Mexican-American Performance category for the track "Anselma." It would be the first of their three Grammy wins over the course of eleven nominations.  2) In 1986, country superstar Waylon Jennings recorded a version of this song for the album of the same name. It was issued as the LP's second single and it reached #5 on the Country chart.


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