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Menudo

Menudo

Fact Sheet

Musical genre:Boy band  
Country  Puerto Rico
Years active1977-
Menudo was a Puerto Rican boy band from the 1980s and 1990s. Started in 1977 by Edgardo Diaz, it initially included two sets of brothers: Diaz's cousins Ricky, Oscar and Carlos Melendez, and Fernando and Nefty Sallaberry. In the next few years Menudo used to tour Puerto Rico from shopping mall to shopping mall, from fiesta patronal (a citywide yearly celebration) to fiesta patronal. During this time, they scored a hit with "Eran Los Fantasmas" and they were able to get a regular tv show on Telemundo canal 2 every saturday night.

Menudo's real boom, however, came during the 1980s, after the Sallaberry brothers and Oscar and Carlos Melendez were replaced with Rene Farrait, Johnny Lozada, Xavier Serbia and Miguel Cancel. (Management always made sure to keep the band's members young.) In this time the group became very popular in Latin America, especially in Puerto Rico, Argentina, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. During that time, Diaz was able to afford a Cessna jet airplane that had belonged to American President Richard Nixon and to the Shah of Iran before. The plane carried Menudo's name on both sides of the fuselage and made Menudo the first boy band ever with its own private jet.

At that time their songs included "Sube A Mi Motora", "Ella AA", "Quiero Ser", a Spanish version of "Voulez Vous", and "Fuego". The group also got a fanbase in Spain and the rest of Europe. Menuditis became a word in the medical dictionary diagnosed to girls who needed medical attention after going to a Menudo concert, and Menudomania was compared to Beatlemania.

Eventually Farrait, Lozada, Cancel, Ricky Melendez and Serbia had to give way to new Menudo members. Farrait was the first to leave, right in the middle of Menudomania. He was successfully succeeded by Charlie Masso, who made millions of fans himself. When he entered the band, they scored another super hit with "Vamos A Volar", the theme song for Menudo's big screen adventure Una Aventura Llamada Menudo, where they also sang classics like "Clara" and "Senora Mia".

In 1983, Lozada left, and so did Cancel and Serbia. In 1984, it was Ricky Melendez's turn to leave, and he did so in a great concert, becoming the only Menudo member to last eight years. He gave way to Ricky Martin, but not before participating in one last great hit, "Indianapolis". With the new members Ray Reyes, Roy Rosello, Robby Rosa and Raymond Acevedo, Menudo kept producing hits like "Tu Sabes A Chocolate", "Indianapolis", and "Like a Cannonball" (featured in the Hollywood movie Cannonball Run 2), and they also became idols in the Philippines, but their fame started going downwards. In 1989, they returned to the top of the charts briefly with "Mis Gafas Oscuras" and "Los Ultimos Heroes".

In 1988, Concert Promoter and record executive Darrin McGillis, promoted Menudo on a widely successful forty City Unted States tour with the release of their new English album, "Sons of Rock". In 1990, Angelo Garcia, then the youngest member of Menudo, left the group and signed with World Wide Entertainment under the direction of McGillis, and released his first ever solo release on McGillis Records.

In 1990, Adrian Olivares from Mexico became the first non-Puerto Rican to join the band, and in 1995 the name Menudo was sold to Venezuelan interests. Therefore the band became known as MDO, where it stands with four new members, including Mexico's Pablo Portillo and Puerto Rico's Didier Hernandez.

In 1992, Menudo signed to McGillis Records for all English recordings and released the smash hit "Dancin, Movin, Shaking" . After reports that Edgardo Diaz was authorizing the manufacture of pirated CD's and Cassettes of recordings made under the McGillis Records Label. Darrin McGillis armed with a Court Order and assisted by armed Marshalls embargoed a concert in San Juan Puerto Rico and confiscated Money, Merchandise to compensate for the losses incurred by Darrin McGillis. It was years later that old wounds had healed and McGillis is associated with Edgardo Diaz.

In 1998, former Menudo members Farrait, Melendez, Masso, Lozada, Cancel and Reyes got together and made a comeback, performing the songs that Menudo popularized during their era. Because of legal issues, the comebackers couldn't use the name of Menudo and went by the name of El Reencuentro (The Re-joining) instead. Their world tour was a wild success, proving that, to Menudo fans, Menudomania lives on.

In April of 2004, A.B. Quintanilla and his group, The Kumbia Kings, released a re-make of Menudo's 1984 hit Tu Sabes a Chocolate. The Quintanillas apparently were Menudo fans as teenagers: In the movie Selena, Jennifer Lopez, who plays Selena, made a remark about the Puerto Rican group.

Edgardo Diaz announced, in 2004, that he will be bringing a new group with the Menudo formula into the music industry. Initially thought that he would name them Menudo again, he surprised the press and general public by naming them Tic Tac