Les Idolos del Pueblos (Small Town Idols or the People's Idols), the Kings of Norteno Music, Los Jefes del Jefes (Chief of Chiefs).
- Jorge Hernandez - Director, lead vocals and accordion
- Hernan Hernandez - Electric bass, vocals
- Eduardo Hernandez - Accordion, saxophone, 6-string bass, vocals
- Luis Hernandez - Bajo Sexto guitar, vocals
- Oscar Lara - Drums
One day they got a gig in Mexicali and impressed a local U.S. promoter who offered them a job playing at the Mexican Independence Day parade in San Jose as well as a performance for the prisoners at Soledad prison.
What's hardest to believe is that the oldest of the brothers was only 14.
The Band Gets a Name:
Convincing a Mexican couple to pose as their parents in order to cross the border, the Hernandez kids must have shown a lot of spunk to cause the immigration official to call them "little tigers". Well, they were going north, they played norteno music, they had no name, so the "Tigers of the North" was adopted and the beginnings of a legendary band were born. The year was 1968.
Now that they were in San Jose, they needed to make some money to go home. While performing a local San Jose events, they were discovered by Art Walker, an Englishman who wanted to start a record company. Los Tigres were the first group to sign on to Walker's new "Fama Records", that eventually became the most important Spanish-language record company on the west coast.
As the boy band grew older, the Mexican population in the Bay Area grew larger. Los Tigres had their first hit in 1971 with "Contrabanda y Traicion" (Contraband and Betrayal), a tale of the drug running couple Emilio Varela and Camelia La Tejana. The popularity of the song has embedded their names in the vocabulary of the Mexican immigrant population.
While Los Tigres are considered one of the seminal names in norteno music, they have taken large steps in modernizing the music with the addition of rock, boleros, cumbias and waltzes. But their most controversial influence has been creating a new type of corrido music, called the 'narcocorrido'.
The classic Mexican corrido songs told stories of revolutionaries, bandits and heroes. Los Tigres sang about what was going on around them and the drug culture and the exploits of drug runners seemed a natural extension of the corrido form. The popularity of these 'narcocorrido' songs seemed to take them by surprise. Today the narcocorrido is a popular form of music sung by many norteno bands.
Making Music for Over 30 Years:
But the musical motifs of Los Tigres are not so narrow. They sing the tales of the immigrant experience in the U.S. with songs about social injustice, honor, pride and the working man's struggle to make a better life for himself and his family.
Los Tigres del Norte are today an international legend, with over 30 years of making music, millions of records sold and extensive tours throughout the world.