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Like mostly every other European country pophistory in Spain starts with the blending of the local gypsy and flamenco culture with rock ‘n roll. In the fifties all kinds of small beatgroups start in the Spanish cities. Mostly translating known hits from American artists (Paul Anka, Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley) in the Spanish language groups like Duo Dinámico and Los Mustang become local celebrities. In the second half of the sixties Los Brincos (leaning heavy on a Beatlesesque sound) would gain national fame and popularity. From the French the Spanish took over the ye-yé as a genre of uptempo pop music. It mainly consisted of a fusion of American rock from the early 60s (such as twist) and British beat music. Concha Velasco, a singer and movie star, launched the scene with her 1965 hit "La Chica Ye-Yé", though there had been hits earlier by female singers like Karina (1963). The earliest stars were an imitation of French pop, at the time itself an imitation of American and British pop and rock. Later more the Flamenco rhythms and castanettes gave it all a more distinctively Spanish sound. For instance Rosalia's 1965 hit Flamenco and Gelu’s Flamenco rock sounded most distinctively Spanish. Next to these two Marisol was also one of the popular names in the genre.

One has to keep in mind that Spain had a very strong nationalistic government during the sixties and most of the nineties. General Francisco Franco has been in charge since 1939 and had a strong grip on Spanish culture up until his death in 1975. The fact that groups sang in Spanish must have had the approval of the general but anything to non-spanish or otherwise revolutionary wasn’t really promoted. Due to a charming strategy to get into the United Nations Franco loosened a bit in the Sixties. In 1961, the record label Edigsa and the cultural organization Òmnium Cultural were founded, and the first edition of the children’s magazine Cavall Fort was published. In April 1962, the publishing house Edicions 62 released its first book. Little by little, the Catalan language, the public use of which had been expressly forbidden after the fall of Catalonia in the Spanish Civil War, began to regain public presence. In Catalonia the genre was called Nova Cançó with Joan Manual Serrat, Maria del Mar Bonet, Lluís Llach and Raimon as the main flag bearers. in 1963 the genre gained national interest when Raimon together with singer Salomé won first prize of the 5th Festival of the Mediterranean Music with the song "Se’n va anar". Raimon, who’s material later evolved in protest songs, would become one of the catalysts in the student riots of 1968 after a performance at the University of Madrid.

In the Basque part of the country Mixel Labeguerie stood at the basis of the New Basque Song. Inspired by George Brassens he released an album in 1961. It was Mikel Laboa that would take things further with the Basque group "Ez dok amairu" put together in 1965, largely made up of folk singer-songwriters concerned with Basque culture. Laboa’s composition ‘Txoriak txori’ would become a themesong for the Basque struggle for independence.

Other popular folk singers like Mari Trini, Maria Jimenez and Perret used Spanish as their main language and were therefore less vulnerable for censorship (all within limits of course). The more chanson-pop latin side of the spectrum was claimed by singers like Raphael, Massiel and Julio Iglesias. Spain also knew it's progrock scene mixed with traditional elements called Flamenco rock. Some of the most well-known examples of this scene from its 1970s heyday are the bands Smash, Crack, Gotic Iman Califato Independiente Iceberg, Mezquita and Triana.

The New Spanish Cinema of 1962 turned out to be influential for Spanish pop.The new cinema movement started when José María García Escudero became the Director General of Cinema, propelling forward state efforts and the Escuela Oficial de Cine (Official Cinema School). Not only were they openly opposing Franco’s dictatorship they also delivered some memorable artists of which Sarita Montiel is the best example.

 

 



 

 




 

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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Spain