The Best of Perez Prado

I don’t know anything about the history of the mambo—I could read some stuff on the internet and repeat it here—or you could tell me what you know over cocktails some evening. I don’t know, I don’t see myself starting to drink, but if I find myself reading stuff on the internet and then repeating it, I might just might, sitting glassy-eyed on some pirate’s shoulder. Perez Prado was Cuban, then moved to Mexico in the Forties, and was instrumental in mambo becoming hugely popular. The back of the record says he’s the “King of the Mambo.” Of course, Elvis was called the King of Rock’n’Roll—but we know it was Chuck Berry. I’m wondering who this record, from 1967, was for exactly, because by 1967—well you know what the kids were listening to. There is a popular and fun—but definitely corny—side to this music, and I’m thinking the same people buying this are the people who were buying the big-selling records that thrift stores just still can’t seem to get rid of. It’s hard for me to listen to the songs on this record without seeing the movie scenes (even if not exactly, specifically) they are attached to—or imagine someone eating some kind of Jello salad and drinking a whiskey sour. Though some of the songs—or more likely, parts of some songs, I can listen to the music being played—sometimes with a lot of style that makes me wonder what the life of the musicians was like. There’s some incredible bits, here and there. Or what was Perez Prado’s life like? Is there a movie about him? There has to be, right?—I’ll see that, sometime.

5 Responses to “The Best of Perez Prado”

  1. 1 Rock Madison
    February 6, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Always liked his music, we grew up with it playing in the house. Thanks for posting this!

  2. 2 JC
    February 6, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    As King of the Mambo, Pérez Prado was under no restrictions of any kind, as long as what he did with the Mambo was in the interest of the Mambo — and of course, as the Mambo King, he himself literally embodied the Mambo, so EVERYTHING he did was in the interest of the Mambo. Including starring in such blockbuster films as Cha-Cha-Cha Boom! (1956) and Girls for the Mambo-Bar (1959), not to mention the mysteriously exclaimed Underwater! (1955). No laws established to regulate the Mambo applied to Pérez Prado, as he was above such regulation, and beyond questioning. That said, despite his undisputed Mambo reign, and Lou Bega’s counterfeit revival of Mambo No. 5 in the late ’90s, few people today remember him, and personally, the only record that I have by him is Mambo for Cats, which also has Mambos by lesser Mambo royalty as well (Noro Morales, Damiron And His Rhythm, The Al Romero Quintet, etc), and which I mainly got for the great Jim Flora cover. I tried listening to it once, and I have to say, Mambo just isn’t really my bag. But it looks great sitting on my fireplace mantle with other cat-oriented works of art.
    I am not at all surprised that Rock Madison grew up with it playing in the house, as that is exactly the kind of record I always imagined it to be. The kind of record that you grow up with your parents playing in the house.

  3. February 6, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    I’m surprised I didn’t grow up with this playing in the house – it’s the kind of record my parents had. But I heard a lot of these songs somewhere. Unless, of course, I’m wrong and maybe this DID have it, and I don’t remember specifically. You know how sometimes you believe something to be true, but you remembered it wrong? And we’re talking about, now, over 50 years ago, which is crazy. Half a century ago!

  4. 5 HCG
    March 5, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    It’s an awesome piece of writing designed for all the web people; they will
    get benefit from it I am sure.

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