Charly García - vocals, guitar; Backing band unknown
1988 marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In an effort to raise world consciousness about human rights and of the plight of political prisoners worldwide, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour, and Tracy Chapman, embarked on the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour. The tour was an ambitious undertaking that criss-crossed the globe during September and October of 1988, where these artists performed before monumental crowds in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. This special recording was captured on the last night of the tour at el Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, the home of Argentine football giants River Plate. Leon Gieco and Charly Garcia, two local superstars, opened the show in Buenos Aires.
Carlos Alberto "Charly" García Moreno was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 23rd, 1951. Born to a well-to-do family, he began showing an interest in music as a child and was enrolled in the Thibaud Piazzini, a nearby conservatory. From there, he became interested in rock music, and quickly formed his first band, Sui Generis. With García on piano, the sextet became one of the most influential rock bands in Argentine history. Though the band experimented with psychedelic sounds early in their career, their first release, 1972's Vida, was a more refined, folky album with lots of flutes. It was a runaway success in Argentina. After their 1973 follow-up Condesiones de Invierno, García became bored with the group's sound and steered the group toward a political, progressive sound.
The band released Pequeñas Anécdotas Sobre las Instituciones in 1974. Though two songs had to be removed due to fears about the political instability in Argentina, the record was another big success for García's group. Unfortunately, it would also be their last, as the band split up on September 5, 1975, after back-to-back concerts for 20,000 fans. Once Sui Generis split, García had stints with Porsuigieco, La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros ("The Bird-making Machine"), and Serú Girán before finally striking out on his own at the end of the 70s. His first solo album was 1980's Música del Alma, and he has continued to steadily release albums to this day.
The four songs captured here for the King Biscuit Flower Hour come from three of García's well-known solo albums, 1983's Clics Modernos ("Los Dinosaurios," "Nos Siguen Pegando Abajo (Pecado Mortal)"), 1984's Piano Bar ("Demoliendo Hoteles"), and 1987's Parte de la Religion ("La Ruta del Tentemplé (Extasis))."
"Demoliendo Hoteles" is a bass-driven, upbeat number that shows García's frenzied, punky vocals. He follows it with the ballad "Los Dinosaurios" which demonstrates García's poetic lyrics, as he talks about how quickly life can change in a transient world. When translated to English, his words read, "The friends from your neighborhood can disappear / The singers from the radio can disappear / Those in the newspaper can disappear / The person you love can disappear." The lyrics are especially chilling, as thousands of Argentine men and women who stood up against the military government "disappeared" in the late 60s and 70s, especially under the brutal reign of military leader Jorge Rafael Videla. Throughout his career, García gained a reputation of being a politically outspoken, powerful songwriter, and songs like this explain why.
After that, he moves to another bass-driven, rollicking number, "Nos Siguen Pegando Abajo (Pecado Mortal)." The song features a synth line that is surprisingly reminiscent of new wave groups like the Buggles and Berlin. He rounds out the set with the soaring melody of "La Ruta del Tentemplé (Extasis)." While the song still has a prominent bass line, the anthemic tune centers on an arpeggiated guitar melody and powerful synths.
Though this recording is far from comprehensive, it serves is a good sampler of García's powerful music. It is also fun to hear how García plays to the crowd, and how vehemently they respond to him. All in all, it is a fantastic snapshot of García's considerable catalog.