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Mexican rock music, often referred to in Mexico as rock nacional ("national rock"), originated in the 1950s with covers of standards by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and The Everly Brothers, among others, bands such as Los Rockets, Los Twisters, Los Teen Tops, Los Rebeldes del Rock, Los Locos del Ritmo, Los Crazy Boys, Los Nómadas, and Javier Bátiz soon arose with original compositions, often in English. The group "Los Nómadas" was one of the first racially integrated bands of the 1950s. Their lead guitarist Bill Aken (Adopted son of Mexican movie actress Lupe Mayorga, said adoption making Aken the cousin to Ritchie Valens) wrote most of their original material, including the raucous "Donde-Donde," and co-wrote the material for their "Sounds Of The Barrio" album that is still being sold by various Internet web sites. Their 1954 recording of 'She's My Babe' was the first top 40 'R & B' recording by a Latino band. In the southwest U.S. Spanish guitar rhythms and Mexican musical influences may have inspired some of the music of American musicians Ritchie Valens, Danny Flores (of The Champs), Sam the Sham, Roy Orbison and later, Herb Alpert. Initially, the public exhibited moderate interest in them, because of media attention paid to La Ola Inglesa (British Invasion).

However, after the substantial success of Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana in the United States in the late 1960s and the successful development of Mexico's own counterculture movement called La Onda (The Wave), a large number of bands sprang up. Most of these bands sang in both Spanish and, with foreign commercial exposure in mind, English. Mexican and Chicano rock has crossed into other Hispanic groups like José Feliciano and Lourdes Rodriguez of Puerto Rican descent.

Important bands of this period were Enigma, Kaleidoscopio, El Tarro de Mostaza, El Ritual, Peace and Love, Ciruela, The Spiders, El Amor, Three Souls in My Mind, Toncho Pilatos, Los Dug Dug's, El Epilogo, La Semilla del Amor, Love Army, Tinta Blanca, La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata, La Tribu, 39.4, La Division del Norte, Bandido, Polvo, La Fachada de Piedra, Hongo and Cosa Nostra.

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