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Category Archives: manuelesperon

“Pedro Infante Goes Electric!” is not a headline I ever read, so I suppose that his fans were fine and ready for it, unlike Bob Dylan’s. Whoever produced Pedro Infante’s sound in the late 1950s took some musical chances. What’s really different is Pedro’s movement away from mariachis and the incorporation of piano, organ and electric guitar into his music.

We get a taste of electric guitar in Pedro’s “Cien años,” an early bolero ranchero written by Rubén Fuentes. It features a mariachi, which is typical for Pedro, and also has maracas which evoke Cuba and the Caribbean feel of the bolero:

No me platiques,” by the Mexican Vicente Garrido Calderón, goes further in electrical experimentation. It has both piano and organ along with maracas and a guitar solo! There are violins, but they are definitely not from a mariachi.

I don’t know if Pedro Infante’s version is among the better-known versions, but this song is a standard bolero. At another time in Pedro’s career, the singer might have been backed by a mariachi on this.

Another example of a move away from traditional instrumentation is “A la orilla del mar,” which is featured in one of Pedro’s last movies from 1957, Pablo y Carolina. The lyrics and music are by the Mexican composer Manuel Esperón, who was the musical director of this and 488 other films, including all of Pedro’s. “A la orilla del mar” has some piano reminiscent of Gershwin and a tiny bit of the space age-y sounds of Esquivel. This is not surprising since Esperón seems to have run in the same circles as Esquivel. Since Esperón worked so closely with Pedro, he may also be behind the sound of “El Ídolo de Guamúchil” on “No me platiques.”

Pedro himself took a lot of chances and died while flying a plane in 1957. Here’s a clip of Pedro’s massive funeral from the documentary Así era Pedro Infante (I have a copy of this!): It’s narrated by the ever-so-galant actor Arturo de Córdova, who graciously calls Pedro the greatest actor in the world. If Pedro had lived a bit longer, who knows, he might have become Mexico’s greatest rock singer.