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Menudo (Spanish for "little"—and, in Puerto Rican Spanish, for "loose change") was a Puerto Rican-based, Latino boy band that was formed in 1977 by producer Edgardo Díaz. Menudo was one of the biggest Latin boy bands in history, releasing their first album in 1977. The band achieved much success, especially during the 1980s, becoming the most popular Latin American teen musical group of the era and selling some 20 million records worldwide. They are regarded as the Most Iconic Latino Pop Music Band.
They also had several radio hits during its course. Their success led them to also release one television film (1979's Leyenda de Amor) and two feature films: Una aventura llamada Menudo and Menudo: La Película as well as to act in a telenovela named "Quiero Ser" and a television mini-series named Panchito y Arturo.
Menudo's original line-up consisted of two sets of brothers: Fernando and Nefty Sallaberry (12 and 13), from Ponce, Puerto Rico (Fernando was born in Spain); and the Melendez brothers, Carlos Meléndez, (12), Óscar Meléndez, (11), and Ricky Meléndez, (9); the latter three are Diaz's cousins.
The group disbanded in 2009.
Success in the 1980sEdit
In the late 1970s, Menudo had several local hits in Puerto Rico, including their first major hit, "Los Fantasmas", and a cover version of ABBA's "Voulez-Vous" and "Chiquitita", the latter of which they filmed three music videos for, including one with music legend Ednita Nazario (who sang with them and played the titular "Chiquitita" on the video). The group then released several moderately successful albums, including Fuego (Fire), which yielded hits "Ella A-A" ("Her"), "Fuego ("Fire") and "A Bailar" ("To Dance"). In 1981, the group, which then consisted of René Farrait, 14, Johnny Lozada, 13, Xavier Serbiá, 13, Miguel Cancel, 13, and remaining original member Ricky Melendez, 13, released Quiero Ser (I Want to Be). The album would launch Menudo into international stardom. It included hit songs such as "Quiero Ser" ("I Want to Be"), "Súbete A Mi Moto" ("Get on My Motorcycle"), "Rock En La TV" ("Rock on TV"), "Claridad" ("Clarity"), and "Mi Banda Toca Rock" ("My Band Plays Rock"). They also had their own telenovela series entitled Quiero Ser.
That same year, the group hosted a television show on Telemundo Puerto Rico entitled Gente Joven de Menudo. They also hosted a yearly beauty pageant, La chica joven de Menudo, ("Menudo's young girl"). The winner of the pageant would sometimes appear in the group's videos or join them onstage at their concerns in Puerto Rico.
Menudo became very popular throughout Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, including Brazil. They also became the first boy band to own their own private jet. Manager Diaz purchased a Lockheed JetStar that had belonged to American President Richard Nixon and the Shah of Iran. He had Menudo's name emblazoned on both sides of the fuselage.
In 1982, Charlie Masso, then 12, replaced René Farrait, 15. Masso's first album with Menudo was Por Amor (For Love). During this boom of popularity, fans started calling themselves contagious to the "Menuditis", similar to Beatlemania and Bieber Fever, or the "Menudomania". They were so popular that they starred in their own feature films: Menudo: La Pelicula and Una Aventura Llamada Menudo. Aventura starred Gladys Rodríguez as "Señora Mía" and included songs such as "Clara" and "A Volar" ("Fly").
During their first visit to New York in early 1983, Ray Reyes, 13, replaced Xavier Serbiá, 15. Their American fanbase 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 ABC's youth-oriented Saturday-morning programming block. They also sang the theme song for ABC's Rubik, the Amazing Cube. Miguel Cancel became the first member to voluntarily quit the group. According to a 1998 interview, he was unhappy that a sudden voice change rendered him unable to sing his songs, so he opted to leave before his scheduled departure. He was replaced by Roy Rosselló, 13. Menudo signed a six-year multimillion-dollar contract with RCA International and released their Spanish album A Todo Rock (Full of Rock).
Around this time, Menudo merchandise began being mass-produced. Merchandise included Menudo dolls, which appeared in the United States and Latin American toy markets in 1984, Menudo Topps trading cards, wristwatches, fotonovelas, fanzines, T-shirts, a 1981 board game named "Menudo Karshow" and other clothing accessories and school supplies.
In 1984, Robby Rosa (now known as Draco Rosa), 14, replaced Johnny Lozada, 16, just in time for Menudo to release their first English-language 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. During the first half of 1984, Menudo toured the U.S. and Brazil. The Spanish version "Como Cannonball" was used in the Filipino youth movie Bagets 2 and also featured the song "Fly Away".
In July 1984, Ricky Melendez, 16, the sole remaining original member, left the group in a huge concert in his birth town, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Up until then, he was the only Menudo member to remain with the group for seven years. He was replaced by the group's most popular alumnus, Ricky Martin, then 12, who debuted on the album, Evolución (Evolution). During this time, Menudo's popularity reached parts of Asia including Japan and the Philippines, and the group made English-language commercials for Pepsi, Scope, McDonald's, and Crest. They also made a guest appearance on the popular American children's program Sesame Street. Then, much to the surprise of fans and himself, Ray Reyes, 15, was the next to leave the group due to a growth spurt. In a 1998 interview, Reyes stated he was caught off-guard, during a Menudo interview in 1985, the interviewer asked who was next to leave the group and Edgardo Díaz named Ray, considering that Charlie was the oldest and had been in the group the longest. The group also had a weekly television show called "Menudo Mania".
Raymond Acevedo 13 took over Reyes' spot in 1985 and Menudo sang vocals for the Spanish-English song "Cantare, Cantaras" (I Will Sing, You Will Sing) with various Latin artists to raise money for UNICEF. This song was the Latin American version of "We Are the World". "Cantare, Cantaras" was recorded on April 9, 1985 at the A&M Studios. The group released their second English-language album, Menudo which contains the songs "Hold Me" (#62 Billboard Hot 100, RCA 14087) and "Explosion", both with lead vocals by Robi Rosa. They also released their next Spanish album, Ayer Y Hoy (Yesterday And Today), and their second Portuguese album A Festa Vai Comecar (The Party Is Going To Start). They successfully toured Brazil, performing before hundreds of thousands of fans, but there were allegations of the tour being poorly organized: the capacity for a concert in Rio de Janeiro was 60,000 but 70,000 tickets were sold, and 2 women died. In São Paulo, a 100,000-capacity stadium was sold-out with 200,000 people, and in the São Paulo city of Campinas, rain delayed a concert for 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, the song King Holiday was recorded. Later in the year Roy Rosselló 16 was replaced by Sergio Blass 13; no farewell concerts were held. The group released several albums that year, starting with their only Italian album, Viva! Bravo!, which they showcased in Italy in the San Remo Music Festival. The Spanish album Refrescante (Refreshing), the English album Can't Get Enough, and the Portuguese album Menudo followed respectively, then came tours of the U.S., Latin America (including Brazil), and the Philippines.
Internal conflicts and image changeEdit
In January 1987, Ralphy Rodriguez 13 replaced Charlie 17 just as the group began facing internal conflicts. First, Robby 17 quit without warning in the middle of a Brazilian tour, becoming the third member to quit voluntarily. Apparently, he had written a song and presented the idea to management and they turned him down, supposedly mocking him, which prompted him to leave. It is rumoured that they did this so they could use his song without compensating him. Robi's lawyer prevented them from using his song. Also, the group was dropped from RCA International due to low record sales, so 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 Rubén Gómez 14.
At this point, the group underwent a complete image makeover, changing their look to a rougher, more rugged, rock-like look. Their music, formerly described as bubblegum-pop, underwent a similar change. They released the Spanish album Somos Los Hijos del Rock (We Are The Sons Of Rock), followed by an English-Tagalog album for the Philippines titled In Action with Ralphy and Rubén. In late 1987, Ralphy's parents pulled him from the group, citing improper treatment by management; this eventually came to light in 1991 with accusations of a Menudo sex scandal. Charlie was again asked to fill in during the Philippines tour, which would be their last as their popularity there waned.
In early 1988, Angelo García 12 replaced Ralphy Rodríguez14 and they released their final English-language album, Sons of Rock, scoring an international hit, "You Got Potential". Another song, "TLC", featured lead vocals by Ricky Martin. In August 1988, Raymond Acevedo's contract was about to expire, but he decided to leave before auditions were held for his replacement, and Menudo performed as a quartet for a few months before Robert Avellanet 13 took over. The album Sombras Y Figuras Shadows And Figures was released at the end of the year.
After 5 years with Menudo, Ricky Martin 17 left in July 1989 and was replaced by Rawy Torres 14. Martin's last concert with Menudo was in the Centro de Bellas Artes de Santurce in San Juan. The album Los Últimos Héroes (The Last Heroes) soon reestablished Menudo's popularity in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, where a 5-part miniseries was shot to promote the album.
Despite their newfound success, the group kept facing problems: Angelo García 14 left the group, breaking his contract; he was replaced by César Abreu 13, who only lasted 7 months. Before Abreu left, management was preparing for Sergio's departure and the debut of the first non-Puerto Rican member, Adrián Olivares 13 of Mexico, but Abreu's exit delayed Sergio's departure. Management decided to keep Sergio for another Spanish album, No Me Corten El Pelo (Don't Cut My Hair) featuring the Sergio/Rubén/Robert/Rawy/Adrián lineup.
In 1990, two new non-Puerto Rican members joined the group: Edward Aguilera,12, of Venezuela replaced Sergio Blass, 17, and Jonathan Montenegro 15 of Spain replaced Rubén Gómez 16. Both members left a few months later.
Edgardo Díaz left Puerto Rico and held auditions in Miami, Florida, signing Miami teens Alexis Grullón 13, Ashley Ruiz 15, and Andy Blázquez 12, and Pecos, Texas resident Abel Talamántez 13. The first album with the new lineup was Detrás De Tu Mirada, which was very successful in the whole continent, especially in Peru. From then on, the Peruvian fanbase was the most important one.
Menudo continued to work, releasing an English single titled Dancin', Movin', Shakin', and a follow-up in 1993, Cosmopolitan Girl, the first of several English albums on McGillis Records. They also continued to travel through Latin America.
In 1992, they released 15 Años (15 Years), which would be Adrián's last album with the band (he decided to leave in 1993). Ricky López 13 replaced Adrián 16 and the group released their 5th Portuguese album Vem Pra Mim(Come To Me) (1993), and their 22nd Spanish album, Imaginate... (Imagine) (1994).
In 1995, Ricky López 15 quit the group without warning, and again the band performed as a quartet for a few months. Ashley 19 had also decided to leave, so auditions were held and Didier Hernández 16 and Anthony Galindo 1979-2020 were chosen. Ashley's farewell concert was in Panama, where the new members were presented.
In 1996 the group released their last Spanish album under the Menudo name, Tiempo De Amar (Time To Love). The album was very successful, producing several hit singles. In 1997, the rights and the name Menudo were sold and the band changed the name to MDO, at the time Andy Blázquez 18 was replaced by Daniel René Weider. 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 1998 Ricky Meléndez, René Farrait, Miguel Cancel, Johnny Lozada, Ray Reyes, and Charlie Massó re-joined to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their success in Latin America, North America, Spain, and several other countries in the world. They planned the reunion concert to take place at Centro de Bellas Artes de Santurce in San Juan, as an experimental project. The show sold out so quickly and the demands for more shows was so huge they had to change the venue for a bigger one. They ended up doing the shows at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. They had an unexpected success and performed as an ensemble throughout North and Latin America until August 2015, when the group disbanded due to financial issues. They named this El Reencuentro since Edgardo Díaz threatened to take legal action if they used the "Menudo" name.
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. 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, Rubén, Robert, Angelo and Rawy reunited under the name "Los Últimos Héroes" 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 would 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, Rubén, Sergio and Andy 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 Últimos Héroes", and was replaced with Anthony Galindo. Andy would later be replaced by former MDO member Caleb Avilés before disbanding in late 2005, early 2006.
In January 2005, producer Edgardo Díaz introduced the new MDO with four new members: Daniel Rodríguez, 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 René, Johnny, Miguel, Ricky, Charlie, and Ray reunited once again to perform the songs that Menudo popularized during their era under the name and banner El Reencuentro: Momento del Adios making this their farewell tour. There were plans to bring this production to Latin American and the U.S. Also in 2005, Sergio, Angelo, Robert, Rawy and Adrián reunited again under the name Los Últimos Héroes after their successful reunion concerts in 2002.
In 2006, former Menudo: La Reunion members, Anthony and Rubén 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 Hispanic America.
In 2007, a re-release of the 1992 VHS film of Menudo The making of Dancin', Movin', Shakin'" was released on McGillis Records. Entitled Triple Threat DVD/CD Combo, the box set included the Film 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. The single, "Dancin', Movin', Shakin'", and "Cosmopolitan Girl" was released digitally on iTunes in May 2009.
In 2007, it was announced that Menudo would return after signing a multi-album contract with SonyBMG label Epic Records. That would be directed by Johnny Wright, he was the manager of Justin Timberlake and the new band music will be a fusion of urban, pop and rock in both English and Spanish. They began promoting the project in cities of the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico to attract young singers who wanted to belong to a new band that would sing in Spanish and English. Auditions in different cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, New York, among others. In the Dallas audition, radio announcer Daniel Luna and the Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi were part of the selection jury. where they were selected JC Gonzalez and Monti Montañez. In New York, they took 25 boys and during this one-week mini-competency they chose 15: Monti Montañez, JC Gonzalez, Carlos Pena, Jr., Anthony, Carlos Olivero, Chris Moy, Dennis, Eric, Hansel, Henry, Jorge Gabriel, Jorge Negron, José Bordonada, Monti Montañez, Thomas and Trevor. The 15 semifinalists met in South Beach, Florida to continue preparing with producer Johnny Wright, choreograph Anibal Marrero and voice coach David Coury, participating through a reality show showing the entire process of competition. The re-founding of the band is outlined in a series of MTV "Making Menudo" and "Road to Menudo" which was launched as a star series on October 25, 2007 performed in New York and South Beach, Florida. The series aired ten episodes, ending on November 20, 2007.
The members chosen in this version were: Jose Bordonada Collazo, Chris Moy, Emmanuel Vélez Pagán, Monti Montañez, and Carlos Olivero. In December, a few weeks after the members of the group were chosen, a sample of what Menudo would bring was released in an EP called "More Than Words", which included four songs: More Than Words, More Than Love, Move and This Christmas. Their first album was scheduled for release in autumn of 2008.
In 2009 they had a video in two versions titled: "Lost", in which the American actress, model and singer of Puerto Rican descent, Victoria Justice, appeared, which attracted much attention of the public towards the video.
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 José Bordonada Collazo, Chris Moy, Emmanuel Vélez Pagan, Monti Montañez, and Carlos Olivero. The group disbanded in early 2009.
During 2015, four of the members of El Reencuentro went back on tour, this time under the name MENUDO with the Menudomania Forever Tour produced by In Miami Productions. These included Masso, Farrait, Reyes and Cancel. They were joined by 13 other Menudo from different eras, including Robert Avellanet, Jonathan Montenegro and Rawy Torres.
The following lists past Menudo members. Edgardo Díaz's Menudo had a long list of members because the boys had to leave after turning a certain age, usually 16 years old.
|Nefty Sallaberry||13 - 15||1977 – 1979||Retired||René Farrait|
|Carlos Meléndez||12 - 15||1977 – 1980||Retired||Johnny Lozada|
|Fernando Sallaberry||12 - 15||1977 – 1980||Retired||Xavier Serbia||Born in Spain.|
|Óscar Meléndez||11 - 15||1977 – 1981||Retired||Miguel Cancel|
|Ricky Meléndez||9 - 16||1977 – 1984||Retired||Ricky Martin|
|René Farrait||12 - 15||1979 – 1982||Retired||Charlie Masso|
|Johnny Lozada||12 - 16||1980 – 1984||Retired||Robi Rosa|
|Xavier Serbia||12 - 15||1980 – 1983||Retired||Ray Reyes|
|Miguel Cancel||13 - 15||1981 – 1983||Quit||Roy Rossello||Born in USA.|
|Charlie Massó||12 - 17||1982 – 1987||Retired||Ralphy Rodríguez|
|Ray Reyes||13 - 15||1983 – 1985||Retired||Raymond Acevedo||Grew too tall; born in USA.|
|Roy Rosselló||13 - 16||1983 – 1986||Quit||Sergio Blass|
|Robby Rosa||14 - 17||1984 – 1987||Quit||Rubén Gómez||Born in USA.|
|Ricky Martin||12 - 17||1984 – 1989||Retired||Rawy Torres|
|Raymond Acevedo||13 - 16||1985 – 1988||Quit||Robert Avellanet|
|Sergio Blass||13 - 17||1986 – 1990||Expelled||Jonathan Montenegro||Born in USA.|
|Ralphy Rodríguez||13 - 14||1987 – 1988||Quit||Angelo García|
|Rubén Gómez||13 - 16||1987 – 1990||Expelled||Edward Aguilera||Born in USA.|
|Angelo García||12 - 14||1988 – 1990||Quit||César Abreu||Born in USA.|
|Robert Avellanet||13 - 16||1988 – 1991||Quit||Alexis Grullón|
|Rawy Torres||14 - 16||1989 – 1991||Quit||Ashley Ruiz|
|César Abreu||13||1990||Quit||Adrián Olivares|
|Adrián Olivares||13 - 16||1990 – 1993||Quit||Ricky López||Born in Mexico.|
|Edward Aguilera||15 - 16||1990 – 1991||Quit||Andy Blázquez|
|Jonathan Montenegro||12 - 13||1990 – 1991||Quit||Abel Talamántez||Born in Venezuela.|
|Alexis Grullón||12 - 23||1991 – 2002||Retired||last member
|Born in USA; first member of
|Ashley Ruiz||15 - 19||1991 – 1995||Quit||Didier Hernández||Born in USA; first member of
|Andy Blázquez||12 - 18||1991 – 1997||Quit||Daniel René Weider|
|Abel Talamántez||13 - 24||1991 – 2002||Retired||member untl disbandment||First Mexican - American.|
|Ricky López||13 - 15||1993 – 1995||Retired||member until disbandment||Nicknamed 'Ricky III'.|
|Anthony Galindo||16 - 21||1995 – 2000||Deceased||member until disbandment||Born in Venezuela.|
|Didier Hernández||16 - 22||1995 – 2001||Retired||member until disbandment||Born in Cuba.|
|Daniel René Weider||14 - 20||1997 – 2003||Quit||--||Born in Venezuela.|
|Carlito Olivero||18 - 20||2007 – 2009||Retired||member until disbandment|
|Monti Montañez||18 - 20||2007 – 2009||Retired||member untl disbandment|
|Más, Mucho Más||
|Una aventura llamada Menudo||
|A Todo Rock||
|Ayer y Hoy /
A Festa Vai Começar
|Can't Get Enough||
|Somos Los Hijos del Rock||
|Sons of Rock||
|Sombras & Figuras||
|Los últimos héroes||
|No Me Corten El Pelo||
|Detras de tu Mirada / Dancin', Movin', Shakin'||
|Dancin', Movin', Shakin'||
|Vem Pra Mim||
|Tiempo de Amar||
Films and televisionEdit
Comercial Crush – (1982)
Comercial Crest – (1983)
Comercial Scope – (1983)
Comercial Lo Gurte Bambi – (1984)
Comercial Crest II – (1984)
Comercial Pepsi – (1984)
Comercial Lotte Country – (1984)
Comercial McDonald's – (1984)
Comercial Little Country – (1985)
Comercial Pepsi II – (1985)
Comercial Pepsi Philippines (1985)
Comercial Pepsi III – (1986)
Comercial Menudo (Brasil) – (1986)
Comercial Somos Los Hijos Del Rock – (1987)
Comercial diego hernandes (1988)
Comercial Los Ultimos Heroes Telemundo Puerto Rico Por Siempre – (1990)
2020 Television SeriesEdit
After years of planning and development, on September 17, 2020 it was announced that a TV series about the group titled Súbete A Mi Moto is set to premier on October 9, 2020 on Amazon Prime Video. The series will focus the story from the perspective of Edgardo Díaz, founder and manager of the group.