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Gustavo Cerati: Listeners Look Back At A Latin Rock Legend

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Gustavo Cerati: Listeners Look Back At A Latin Rock Legend

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Gustavo Cerati: Listeners Look Back At A Latin Rock Legend

Gustavo Cerati: Listeners Look Back At A Latin Rock Legend

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Argentine musician Gustavo Cerati performs in the Dominican Republic in 2007. Ricardo Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Ricardo Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images

Argentine musician Gustavo Cerati performs in the Dominican Republic in 2007.

Ricardo Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, we were shaken by the death of Latin rock legend Gustavo Cerati, who died in his native Argentina on Sept. 4 after spending several years in a coma following a stroke. When we found out, we were just sitting down to record Alt.Latino. We decided that, rather than putting together a last-minute tribute, we should give this music legend the proper farewell he deserved. So we invited listeners and friends to share their most important Cerati moments with us.

The musicians we play on this show all owe some sort of debt to Cerati: In the '80s, with his band Soda Stereo, he helped create the Latin American rock legend. Rock music had been heard in parts of the continent, but the idea of a band touring the land and attracting tens of thousands of fans was unheard of. Soda Stereo ushered in the golden era of Spanish-language rock.

In the late '90s, Soda Stereo broke up, and Cerati embarked on a fruitful and creative solo career that continued to push boundaries and blow us away.

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Join me and my friend Ernesto Lechner, co-host of a fantastic show called The Latin Alternative, as we reminisce about growing up in Argentina during the golden years of Soda Stereo, the band's best work, and the genius of Gustavo Cerati.

Gustavo Cerati: Looking Back At A Latin Rock Legend

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Soda Stereo

  • Song: Misil en Mi Placard
  • from Lo Esencial

Listener Cristobal Moris writes: "In 1986, I was 7 years old and Soda Stereo was on tour. It had been a big year already: Argentina had won the World Cup and Soda was playing on the radio all the time in Costa Rica. One day, my stepdad says to me, 'C'mon, we're going for a [motorcycle] ride.' The ride was longer and farther than usual, so I knew he was up to something. We arrived at a bullfighting arena and I realized we were going to the Soda concert. I was floored! Soda Stereo was my first concert, and I will never forget that experience. ... Soda Stereo has been a part of my life for most of it, and every so often I relive the memory of that first concert experience when I hear Soda."

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Song
Lo Esencial
Album
Lo Esencial
Artist
Soda Stereo
Label
Norte
Released
2007

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Soda Stereo

  • Song: Picnic en el 4th B
  • from 20 Grandes Éxitos

Listener Kimberly Benavides writes: "As a product of an Argentinian mother and a Salvadoran dad who was all about anything rock, I grew up with Soda and always loved them. During my high-school "rocker" years, I threw myself into Soda Stereo, Los Enanitos Verdes, Los Piojos and more. ... Estoy muy triste todavía for this loss in the music world, but I know he and the group will forever live on in my heart. Grande Cerati!"

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Song
20 Grandes Éxitos
Album
20 Grandes Éxitos
Artist
Soda Stereo
Label
Columbia
Released
1994

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Soda Stereo

  • Song: Persiana Americana
  • from Rock for Export, Vol. 1

Listener Natalie Ramirez Carrillo writes: "As a kid, I grew up listening to Soda as the soundtrack of my days, thanks to my brother and older sister. We grew up in a border town — San Diego, California, only five minutes away from Tijuana — where most of my family lives. We'd get home and hear 'Nada Personal,' 'Persiana Americana' and 'Cuando Pase el Temblor.' It was normal to hear these songs at age 8.

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Song
Rock for Export, Vol. 1
Album
Rock for Export, Vol. 1
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Sony Music Distribution
Released
1999

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Gustavo Cerati

  • Song: Amor Amarillo
  • from Amor Amarillo

Listener Merly Guanumen writes: "An unforgettable memory is Cerati and Santana playing together at Estadio El Campin in Bogotá, Colombia. ... It was raining that night, and it was the typical cold of those high altitudes, but surely for those of us who where there, it was magical."

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Song
Amor Amarillo
Album
Amor Amarillo
Artist
Gustavo Cerati
Label
RCA Records
Released
1994

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Soda Stereo

  • Song: Planta
  • from Sueño Stereo

Listener Frank C. Tejada writes: "Growing up in Peru during the '80s, and going to high school in Lima during the '90s, Soda Stereo was part of the soundtrack in my early life. ... I still listen to Sueño Stereo and feel 16 all over again. ... That album is packed with so many memories — great ones and some sad ones, too. I came to the States in '97 for school, and Gustavo Cerati was there to comfort me and make me feel more at home, even when the landscape and culture has completely changed. ... Muchisimas gracias Gustavo por ser mi compañero durante tantos anos ... me ayudaste muchisimo, la musica fue mi terapia y tu una gran ayuda. Gracias totales!"

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Song
Sueño Stereo
Album
Sueño Stereo
Artist
Soda Stereo
Label
Ariola International
Released
1995

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Gustavo Cerati

  • Song: Karaoke
  • from Siempre Es Hoy

Listener David Carttar writes: "I am not a native Spanish speaker, but I became reasonably fluent a couple of decades ago with the help of Gustavo Cerati and Soda Stereo. ... When I got my hands on those cassettes later as a Spanish student, the poetic, almost surreal lyrics of Soda Stereo made a huge impression on me. The music was artful and polished, too. Over 15 years, Soda Stereo's style and focus evolved to reflect the changing mood of Latin America as a whole. They anticipated the grunge and electronica trends as early as any other major band in the world, but their music always carried Cerati's own unique imprint. To whatever extent you can compare Soda to the Beatles, Cerati was like Lennon and McCartney combined. He wrote thought-provoking lyrics, but also catchy guitar licks that often started a song and then ran straight through like a passacaglia. ... I will miss him profoundly."

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Song
Siempre Es Hoy
Album
Siempre Es Hoy
Artist
Gustavo Cerati
Label
RCA Records
Released
2002

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Gustavo Cerati

  • Song: Excepcíon
  • from Ahí Vamos

Listener Liliana Estrada Silveria writes: "Soda Stereo and Cerati are very dear to my heart. They contributed to my learning of a whole new world of Latin American music, culture, literature. Growing up in California surfer/punk culture, I had never heard rock en Español. I was given a CD and invited to a Soda Stereo concert in Tijuana at age 15. The show truly blew me away! I became an instant fan: It blew my mind that such amazing music was right next door and I didn't know. I realized, 'What more have I missed out on?' This was my gateway to Latin America, from Tijuana to Patagonia, and later to myself. I started learning about more rock en Español, reading literature, traveling and falling in love with everything Latin American. I realized I didn't have to choose between cultures and identities. I could belong to all: American, Mexican, Latin American. I am now 37 and still a huge Soda Stereo fan. When I hear their music, it takes me to that special place."

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Song
Ahí Vamos
Album
Ahí Vamos
Artist
Gustavo Cerati
Label
Sony Music Distribution
Released
2006

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