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Menudo

From Academic Kids

This article concerns the boy band Menudo. For the Mexican soup, see Menudo Soup.

Menudo is a Puerto Rican boy band that was mostly popular during the 1980s and 1990s. Started in 1977 by Edgardo Diaz, it initially included two sets of brothers: Diaz's cousins Ricky, Oscar and Carlos Melendez, and Fernando and Nefty Sallaberry. In the next few years, Menudo toured Puerto Rico from shopping mall to shopping mall, from fiesta patronal (a citywide yearly celebration) to fiesta patronal. During this time, they scored a hit with "Los Fantasmas" and they were able to get a regular tv show on Telemundo canal 2 every Saturday night.

Menudo's real boom came during the 1980s, after the Sallaberry brothers and Oscar and Carlos Melendez were replaced with Rene Farrait, Johnny Lozada, Xavier Serbia and Miguel Cancel. This revolving-door policy made Menudo different from other pop acts: a member would be replaced when he reached his 16th birthday or his voice broke.

The group became very popular in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, and Panama. During that time, Diaz was able to afford a Cessna jet airplane that had belonged to American President Richard Nixon and the Shah of Iran. The plane carried Menudo's name on both sides of the fuselage and made it the first boy band ever with its own private jet.

At that time, their songs included "Subete A Mi Moto", "Ella A-A", "Quiero Ser", a Spanish version of "Voulez Vous", and "Fuego". The group also had a fanbase in Spain and the rest of Europe. "Menuditis" became a medical term, a diagnosis for girls who needed medical attention after attending a Menudo concert. Menudomania was compared to Beatlemania.

Eventually Rene, Xavier, Miguel, and Johnny were replaced by younger Menudo members. Rene was the first to leave, right in the middle of Menudomania. He was successfully succeeded by Charlie Masso, who made millions of fans for himself. When he entered the group, they recorded Por Amor (where he debuted his first lead song "La Chispa De La Vida") and the soundtrack for Menudo's big screen adventure Una Aventura Llamada Menudo, where they also sang classics like "Clara" and "Senora Mia".

In 1983, Xavier and Miguel left about 6 months apart from each other, being replaced by Ray Reyes and Roy Rosello respectively. With Ray and Roy, Menudo signed a multi-million dollar contract with RCA International. They released the Spanish album A Todo Rock. In early 1984, Johnny was replaced by Robby Rosa (a.k.a. Robi Rosa who would later be the mastermind behind Ricky Martin's hits "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "The Cup of Life"). With Robby, Menudo released their first English 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. Unavoidably, in mid-1984, it was Ricky Melendez's turn to leave, and he did so in a great concert, becoming the only Menudo member to last seven years. He was replaced with Ricky Martin. Martin, along with Robby, Ray, Roy, and Charlie, released the Spanish album Evolucion which produced hits like "Sabes A Chocolate" and "Amor Primero." By this time, Menudo's popularity reached parts of Asia including Japan and the Philippines.

In 1985, Ray left the group due to his sudden change of voice and height. He was replaced by Raymond Acevedo. With Raymond, Menudo recorded their second English album, their self-titled album Menudo, which scored the hit "Hold Me." Menudo also made English commercials for Scope, McDonald's and Crest during that time (http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/supergrass/78/music.html). Later that year, the group recorded their next Spanish album Ayer Y Hoy (Yesterday & Today). A full Portuguese version was also recorded, A Festa Vai Comešar (The Party's Going To Start) to coincide with a successful tour in Brazil.

In 1986, Roy was replaced by Sergio Blass. With Sergio, Menudo recorded their only Italian album Viva! Bravo! with versions of earlier Spanish and English hits like "No Te Reprimas," "Hold Me," "Sabes A Chocolate," among others. As usual, Spanish, Portuguese, and English albums Refrescante (Refreshing), Menudo, and Can't Get Enough respectively, were released during this time.

1987 was what some fans described the beginning of the fall for Menudo. By this time, Charlie, who was with Menudo for 5 years, was the next to leave. He was replaced by Ralphy Rodriguez. With Ralphy, Menudo was preparing for a summer tour through the U.S., but without warning, Robby became the first member ever to quit the group. Apparently, he had written a song and presented the idea to management. They turned him down and apparently mocked him. Insulted, Robby decided to leave. The management filled Robby's absence with Ruben Gomez. Charlie was asked to come back one more time for the tour, which was quite successful, but it was apparent that the group's popularity wasn't the same.

With Ruben, Menudo also went through a complete image makeover. They began to be portrayed with a more rough, rockish look. This was also applied to their music which was described before as bubble-gum pop. 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. The Philippine tour proved successful, but the fans missed Ray, Roy, Charlie, and Robby. It wasn't the same with the Philippine fans, and Menudo never returned after that tour.

More problems came for Menudo in 1988. With only a year in the group, Ralphy was pulled from the group by his parents over issues with management regarding how Ralphy was treated. Menudo performed without Ralphy for a few months, then Angelo Garcia joined the group. With Angelo, Menudo released the English album Sons of Rock, on which Menudo scored a lukewarm hit "You Got Potential," . Concert promoter and record executive Darrin McGillis promoted Menudo on a widely successful, forty city U.S. tour with the release of the new English album. However, problems continued. Raymond became the second member to quit the group due to creative differences, similar to what happened with Robby only a year and a half earlier. Once again, the group performed as a quartet for a few months. Robert Avellanet was added, and the Spanish album Sombras & Figuras (Shadows & Figures) was released. This album put Menudo back on the map in Latin America.

In July 1989, after 5 years with the group, Ricky Martin left the group, replaced by Rawy Torres. Ricky Martin's last concert with Menudo was in the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. With Rawy, Menudo recorded the Spanish album Los Ultimos Heroes (The Last Heroes). This production re-solidified Menudo's popularity in Latin America, especially in Venezuela where a 5-part miniseries was shot to promote the album. (This lineup would reunite years later as "Los Ultimos Heroes" for a series of concerts in Puerto Rico and Latin America.)

For Menudo, more troubles loomed ahead in the 90's. In 1990, Angelo Garcia left the group unexpectedly (once again to creative differences and alleged improper treatment). He signed with World Wide Entertainment under the direction of Darrin McGillis, and released his first solo release on McGillis Records. Angelo was replaced by Cesar Abreu, however he lasted about 7 months only to be replaced by the first Mexican member Adrian Olivares. With Adrian, Menudo recorded their first Portuguese album in four years, Os Ultimos Herois and the Spanish album No Me Corten El Pelo (Don't Cut My Hair).

In probably the most embarrassing moment for Menudo, in November, 1990, Ruben and Sergio were detained in Miami with alleged possession of marijuana. The management immediately fired these two members. Months later, in 1991, Edward Aguilera from Spain and Jonathan Montenegro from Venezuela joined the band. With these new additions, the group was working on recording a new Spanish album. But the worst was yet to come.

1991 was a scandalous year for Menudo. All the members (except Adrian) held a press conference announcing that they were quitting the group due to allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Meanwhile, management scrambled to find four new members: Alexis, Ashley, Andy and Abel. With this brand new lineup, the Spanish album Detras de tu Mirada (Behind Your Stare) was released.

In 1992, there were no changes in the group. "The A-Team" (as they were called by Edgardo Diaz due to all their names beginning with the letter A), recorded an English single "Dancin, Movin, Shakin," which would be the first of a few English recordings under the Darrin McGillis management. After reports that Edgardo Diaz was authorizing the manufacture of pirated CDs and cassettes of recordings made under the McGillis Records label, McGillis (armed with a court order and assisted by armed marshalls) embargoed a concert in San Juan, Puerto Rico; he also confiscated money and merchandise to compensate for incurred losses. (Years later, the old wounds healed; McGillis is associated with Edgardo Diaz.) Menudo also recorded a Spanish album celebrating Menudo's 15 years in the music industry, entitled 15 A˝os. The group continued to travel through Latin America and had a reasonably good fan base even though it wasn't like their golden years in the 80's.

In 1993, Adrian left the group, and Ricky Lopez joined. With Lopez, Menudo recorded another Portuguese album Vem Pra Mim featuring new versions of Spanish songs released from 1991 and 1992. A second English single called "Cosmopolitan Girl" was also released. This same lineup in 1994 released the next Spanish album Imaginate....

Menudo did not record any albums in 1995. In 1996, Ashley and Ricky Lopez left the group and were replaced by Anthony Galindo from Venezuela and Didier Hernandez of Cuban descent. With Anthony and Didier, they released their last Spanish album as Menudo, entitled Tiempo De Amar.

In 1997, the name Menudo was sold to Venezuelan interests. The band changed their name to MDO. Along with the new name, Andy left the group and Daniel Weber became MDO's first member to join under the new name. A self-titled Spanish album was released, increasing the group's popularity in Latin America and the U.S.

In 1998, former Menudo members Rene, Johnny, Miguel, Ricky, Charlie, and Ray reunited to perform the songs that Menudo popularized during their era. Because of legal issues, the comebackers could not perform as Menudo, so they were known as El Reencuentro (The Re-encounter) instead. Their world tour was a wild success, proving that, to Menudo fans, Menudomania lives on.

In 2002, former members Sergio, Ruben, Robert, Angelo and Rawy reunited under the name "Los Ultimos Heroes;" giving numerous concerts 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 will 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 Tic Toc. There were announcements that new management has been working on bringing back Menudo with five new members and 2 substitutes for 2005, and this was completed, as the group's name is once again Menudo.

In 2005, former Menudo members Rene, Johnny, Miguel, Ricky, Charlie, and Ray reunited once again to perform the songs that Menudo popularized during their era making this their farewell. Plans are on the way to bring this production to Latin American and the U.S. Also, former members Sergio, Robert, Angelo and Rawy reunited again under the name "Los Ultimos Heroes;" after their successful reunion concerts in 2002. In Brazil, Roy, Raymond, Ruben, Anthony and ex-MDO member Caleb reunited to offer concerts and TV presentation to their Brazilian fans.


Discography

After 1996, Menudo changed its name to MDO.

See also

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