Pappo (Buenos Aires, March 10th, 1950 - Luján, Buenos Aires province, February 24th, 2005), born Norberto Napolitano, is definitely one of the most relevant icons on the heavy rock and blues mainstream of over the last 30 years in Argentina's musical showbiz, if not the one and only representative guitarist/songwriter of the genre all across South America.
A native of the middle-class La Paternal neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Pappo started playing the guitar at the age of ten, and became active in Argentine rock since its beginnings; Pappo was a force in its transition from English to Spanish as guitarist of Los Gatos, the first rock band to enter the mainstream charts in Argentina.
He also played in the first incarnation of cult band Los Abuelos de la Nada and in the quasi-psychedelic La Pesada del Rock and Roll.
With his band, Pappo's Blues, he recorded and toured extensively. He became an underground working-class hero, but received no radio airplay. In the mid-1970s, Pappo spent some time in Brazil and also in England, playing alongside Peter Green (formerly of Fleetwood Mac), Lemmy (who later achieved fame with Motörhead), and other rock and blues greats.
Back in Argentina, Pappo formed Riff, a heavy metal band. During the 1982 Mailvinas war, Argentine music was given a large share of radio play, and Riff became popular with rockers.
With the advent of popular blues bands in the 1980s, such as Memphis La Blusera, Pappo was recognized as the godfather of Argentine blues. As such, he enjoyed the appreciation of B. B. King who admitted cherishing many of Pappo's records, and with whom he played at the Madison Square Garden in 1993 and 1994.
Since 1984, Pappo alternated solo work with re-unions of Pappo's Blues and Riff.
In the late 1980's Pappo spent time in the United States and formed a new version of Riff, which became Pappo y Widowmakers (Pappo and the Widowmakers) in 1989. This version of the band was based in the Los Angeles / Hollywood California area, and the bandmembers were as follows: Dave Hatlee - Bass, Rick Ness - Second Guitar, Saint Bongosto - Drums
Pappo y Widowmaker recorded a two-song EP in late 1989 and then embarked on tour back to South America in December 1989. They performed several successful shows in venues such as Club Satisfaction in Buenos Aires and The Superdomo in Mar Del Plata in 1990.
Pappo's other love was car racing. He raced in Argentina's top stock-car category, Turismo Carretera, and in motorcycle races, with limited success.
Pappo died in a road accident in Luján, Buenos Aires province on 24 February 2005.
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