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Menudo was a Puerto Rican boy band that was formed in the 1970s by producer Edgardo Diaz, 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 Pel?cula.
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 producer Edgardo Diaz in the late 70s. After the success he had with the management of the Spanish teen-group La Pandilla (from 1973-1976), Diaz 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, grew facial hair, or grew too tall.
The first incarnation of the group included two sets of brothers: Diaz's cousins Ricky Melendez, Carlos Melendez, Oscar Melendez, and Fernando Sallaberry and Nefty Sallaberry. The name of the group came after an incident during their second rehearsal, where D?az'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: "?Qu? 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 even a regular TV show on Telemundo Canal 2 every Saturday night. After that, they followed with a second album called 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 Mel?ndez, the only remaining original member. The album included hit songs like "Subete A Mi Moto", "Ella A-A", "Claridad", and "Mi Banda Toca Rock".
The group became very popular throughout Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, including Brazil, a non-spanish speaking country. 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 Rodr?guez as "Se?ora M?a", 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 and performed regular music videos during Rubik's half-hour show. 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" 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 S?o Paulo, a 100,000 capacity stadium was sold-out with 200,000 people. In a stadium in Campinas, a city of S?o 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, becoming the second member to do so the middle of a Brazilian tour. 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 will eventually come 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 "A Little TLC" co-penned by Lynsey de Paul and Terry Britten. In August of 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 quarter for a few months. Concert tour promoter and record executive Darrin McGillis promoted Menudo on a widely successful, forty city U.S. tour with the release of the new English album on Sutra Records. Raymond was replaced by Robert Avellanet and the album Sombras & Figuras was release 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. Ferr? Performing Arts Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The group continued with their career releasing 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. Angelo's lawyer found a loop hole in Puerto Rico Law that made contracts with minors null and void if one does not get a work permit from the Department of Labor of Puerto Rico which is recognized by U.S.law. With a clear release of the contract he signed with World Wide Entertainment Co. under the direction of international record executive Darrin McGillis. Angelo was replaced by Cesar Abreu, however this member only lasted 7 months. Before Cesar 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, Cesar left only delaying Sergio's departure. Spanish album No Me Corten El Pelo was released with Sergio, Ruben, Robert, Rawy, and Adrian.
Another unfortunate incident for the group occurred in November, 1990, when members Ruben Gomez and Sergio Blass were detained at Miami International Airport with possession of marijuana. The management immediately fired them and were replaced by Edward Aguilerafrom Spain and Jonathan Montenegro from Venezuela.
In 1991, all the members (except Adrian) announced that they were leaving the group and were signing with music producer Pedro "Papo" Gely. Members Rawy and Robert would go on to form the Puerto Rican teen group Euphoria. The parents of former members of the band then said that they would file charges for sexual abuse of their children against Edgardo Diaz, Jose A. Jimenez and Orlando Lopez..
Edgardo Diaz left Puerto Rico and held auditions in Miami, Florida, signing Miami teens, Alexis Grullon, Ashley Ruiz, Andres Blazquez and Pecos, Texas resident, Abel Talamantez. The first album with the new line up was Detras de tu Mirada.
Menudo continued to work releasing an English single called "Dancin, Movin, Shakin", which would be the first of several English recordings under the direction of Darrin McGillis Music Company World Wide Entertainment Co. McGillis Records. They also continued to travel through Latin America.
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, John Bolger, 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 D?az introduced the new MDO with four new members: Daniel Rodr?guez, 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 Latin America.
In 2007, a re-release of the 1992 "making of" video for "Dancin, Movin, Shakin" was released on McGillis Records. Entitled Triple Threat DVD/CD Combo, the box set includes the video 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 Angelo Garcia and Ruben Gomez, and The Cover Girls, with songs mixed and produced by Bad Boy Bill and Lewis Martine?. The single, "Dancin Movin Shakin", 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 Jos? Bordonada Collazo, Chris Moy, Emmanuel V?lez Pag?n, Jos? Monti Monta?ez, and Carlos Olivero. The group unofficially disbanded in early 2009; however according to their MySpace page, the new line-up will be announced in the next few months.
Menudo dropped by Epic Records
This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2009)
Charlie Walk attempted to reinvent the 1980s group releasing only two singles "Lost" and "More Than Words" that had meager record sales. SonyBMG did not renew his contract because of this, in addition to dropping Menudo from its label effective December 2008.
Menudo lawsuit over tradename
In March 2009, Oscar Llord who claims ownership in the trademark Menudo has filed a half million dollar lawsuit against current Menudo marketers who claim legal rights to Menudo, the defendants Jeffrey Weiner and Menudo Entertainment LLC. The suit seeks the return of the tradename Menudo and money damages in excess of ($500,000.00). Lawsuit was filed in Miami Dade County Circuit Court and is currently pending Weiner and Menudo Lawsuit Miami Florida March 2009.pdf View Lawsuit Here
In June 2009, Menudo Entertainment filed suit in New York City's Supreme Court against Oscar Llord for $5 million dollars. They claim Llord sold them rights to Menudo that he never had in the first place. NY Post Newspaper Link
Both the lawsuit in Miami and in New York City are currently pending disposition.
1977 Los Fantasmas
1980 Mas Mucho Mas
1980 Es Navidad
1981 Quiero Ser
1982 Por Amor
1982 Una Aventura Llamada Menudo (Movie Soundtrack)
1982 Feliz Navidad
1983 A Todo Rock
1984 Reaching Out
1985 Menudo (English)
1985 Ayer y Hoy
1985 A Festa Vai Come?ar
1986 Viva! Bravo! (Italian)
1986 Can't Get Enough
1986 Menudo (Portuguese)
1987 Somos Los Hijos del Rock
1987 In Action (English-Tagalog)
1988 Sons of Rock
1988 Sombras & Figuras
1989 Los ?ltimos h?roes
1990 Os Ultimos Herois
1990 No Me Corten El Pelo
1991 Detras de tu Mirada
1992 Dancin, Movin, Shakin
1992 15 A?os
1993 Vem Pra Mim (Portuguese)
1994 Cosmopolitan Girl
1994 If You're Not Here (1994 remake version)"
1996 Tiempo De Amar
2007 More Than Words
1977-1979 Nefty Sallaberry (replaced by Rene Farrait)
1977-1980 Carlos Melendez (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)
1987-1988 Ralphy Rodriguez (replaced by Angelo Garcia)
1985-1988 Raymond Acevedo (replaced by Robert Avellanet)
1984-1989 Ricky Martin (replaced by Rawy Torres)
1988-1990 Angelo Garcia (replaced by Cesar Abreu)
1990-1990 Cesar Abreu (replaced by Adrian Olivares)
1986-1990 Sergio Blass (replaced by Edward Aguilera)
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)
1990-1994 John Bolger(Irreplaceable)
1991-1995 Ashley Ruiz (replaced by Anthony Galindo)
1993-1996 Ricky Lopez (replaced by Didier Hernandez)
1991-1997 Andy Blazquez (replaced by Daniel Rene)
With this last replacement, Menudo changed its name to MDO.
Pop culture in Puerto Rico
List of famous Puerto Ricans
List of Menudo members