When I was asked why I think Soda Stereo should enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, many images came to mind.
By Alejandra Vilchez
Translated from Spanish.
Full stadiums, crazy and excited people chanting their songs, thousands of people enjoying rock in Spanish. I think that alone is reason enough. But of course, there is much more.
Soda Stereo was the first band to achieve massive success in all of Latin America. This success contributed to existing or new musical groups from different countries, transcending their own borders, making themselves known in other places where, in addition to a common history, the same language was shared. If there is a moment where the expression "Latin American brother" can be used literally, I think this is it.
But… What does it take for a band to be included in this important museum in the city of Cleveland? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation recognizes the work of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock. Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first album. Both criteria are met by Soda Stereo. Perhaps the easiest to verify is the second, but we can take a look at certain milestones that add to the list of measurable facts that justify this candidacy and that, precisely, speak of the impact, evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll:
First rock band in Spanish to tour Latin America.
First band to receive the Legend Award, MTV Video Music Awards Latin America.
First rock band in Spanish to use the compact disc format (CD Signs) and include an interactive track in their record material (Comfort and music to fly).
First Latin American band to broadcast a concert over the internet (1996).
His fourth studio album, Doble Vida, was produced by Carlos Alomar (who worked with great figures such as David Bowie, Paul Mc Cartney, Iggy Pop, among others).
The person in charge of designing the visual setting of the tour You will see me return (2007) was Martin Phillips, known for his work with bands such as Duft Punk and Nine Inch Nails.
Records in ticket sales for stadium shows in different Latin American countries (Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela).
During the tour You will see me back (2007) they performed in 8 countries of America in 22 shows with an average of 55,000 attendees per concert.
Disney Channel includes music from Soda Stereo on the youth soap opera Soy Luna in 2016.
After two decades of their separation, Soda Stereo arrives at Cirque du Soleil to, in 2017, present the Seventh Day show in honor of the band, in the same way that the circus company had done with The Beatles, Michel Jackson and Elvis Presley.
In the miniseries on the history of rock in Latin America ‘Rompan Todo’, Camilo Lara is forceful: “Without Soda Stereo I think we would not be here talking”. On the other hand, Carlos Alomar sums up: "Soda Stereo deserves a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, because it elevated the sound of Latin music to another level."
Now, I pause and take the liberty of rephrasing my answer from an introspective look, since I am of the generation that was lucky enough to see and experience all this up close. When Soda Stereo entered my visual and auditory field, the only thing about rock in Spanish that I had in mind were the works of Charly García and Luis Alberto Spinetta, of which my sister was a fan. Shortly after the sodera effervescence was declared, not only bands that existed previously began to be known, but new groups in different Latin American countries began to form, present their songs and be successful. The particular historical moment of Argentina cannot be ignored (the Malvinas war in 1982 and the return to democracy in 1983), but neither can only these facts be held responsible for the success of rock en español. A lot of work, a lot of desire, a lot of drive, a lot of perseverance, a lot of desire to improve and a lot of talent were the reasons, in my opinion, for the success, fame and glory of Soda Stereo.
One of the outstanding characteristics of the band that I remember the most was their desire to evolve ... in the broadest sense of the word. Led by a meticulous perfectionist leader, the group was always willing to break the rules to improve. From the visual, the sound and the kinesthetic, Soda Stereo used its fans to be at the forefront, surprising them in each new album they presented, with innovative proposals. So for me, it was a huge pleasure to see how Michel Laprise, creative director of Cirque du Soleil, absorbed and realized what Soda Stereo means for Latin America.
As a final reflection, I can say that you may like Soda Stereo more or less (or not like it directly), but what no one can deny is the great legacy it left to the entire Latin American continent: its own rock identity. An identity there, high up - high, higher and higher - at the level of the best in the world, especially showing us that, with work, we can get to where we want to go.
I deeply wish that, although it takes a long time to arrive, in the end there will be a reward.
Alejandra Vilchez. She was born in Buenos Aires Argentina. She is the author of Chico del Espacio (a book inspired by Gustavo Cerati). An admirer of the artist from the beginning, she was always captivated by the lyrics of his songs, as well as by his spiritual search. She is a systems analyst and among her main hobbies are reading, listening to music and writing. She is currently working on a book about Ahí Vamos, the fourth solo album by the leader of the great band Soda Stereo.