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Tu Vez Blast-From-The-Past Truck: Menudo

Marty McFly and Doc Brown had the Delorean to go travel through time; We have the Tu Vez Blast-From-The-Past Truck. Every week, we’ll hop in our time traveling machine, gun it to 88 MPH, and go back in time to bring you the best from the good ol’ days. Will it be a clip from an old telenovela? An old school music video? Stick around and find out!

The boy band. Much like the herp, it is something that only goes away for a little while, only to return with a vengeance. The 70’s had the Jackson 5 and The Osmonds, the 90’s had the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync and the 80’s had The New Kids on The Block and Menudo. Menudo was one of the first acts from Latin America to make the crossover to the American charts in a big way. With their mind-numbingly catchy songs and prepubescent cuteness, they adorned the walls of many a girl’s bedroom in the 80’s.

Menudo is one of those groups that was assembled from parts like a bubblegum pop lego monster. Puerto Rican producer Edgardo Diaz created the group in in the late 70’s by sending out a call for prepubescent singers. Now a days parents might be wary of a grown man seeking young boys, but the 70’s was simpler time. Unlike most later boy bands whose members are usually in their late teens or early 20’s, Menudo has always gone for the tween market. The strategy was to have an ever changing lineup. Once a kid reached 15 or so he was jettisoned like yesterday’s mofongo. They released several albums in the 70’s to some success in Latin America. But it was their 80’s incarnation that made Menudo a household name.

This is due in large part to the two biggest stars to come out of Menudo: Ricky Martin and Robi “Draco” Rosa. They were cuteness incarnated in tight pants, and the tweens went nuts for them. They had big hits with “Hold Me”, “Cannonball”, and “Claridad”, which broke into the American pop charts. They even were recurring characters on a bizarre Saturday morning cartoon starring a magical anthropomorphic Rubik’s Cube creatively called, “Rubik: The Amazing Cube”. They sang the theme song and would join Rubik on his magical adventures. Ricky Martin would go on to become one of the biggest stars of the late 90’s with his bon bon shaking and vida loca-ing. In 2010 he came out of the closet in a surprise to absolutely no one. Menudo still exists with a new lineup created in 2007, and they continue to have moderate success in Puerto Rico and Latin America. But they never achieved the success they had when Ricky and Robi donned those tight acid wash jeans and ugly neon shirts.

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