was a Puerto Rican boy band that was formed in the 1970s by producer Edgardo Díaz, releasing their first album in 1977. The band achieved much success, especially during the 1980s, becoming the most popular Latin American teen musical group of the era. The group disbanded in 2009.During its course, the band had several radio hits. Their success led them to also release two feature films: Una Aventura Llamada Menudo
and Menudo: La Película
.The band was a starting point for superstars like Ricky Martin and Draco Rosa, who were members (simultaneously, for a while) during their youth.Early yearsMenudo was founded by Puerto Rican producer Edgardo Díaz in November 25, 1977. After the success he had with the management of the Spanish teen-group La Pandilla (1973–1976), Díaz returned to Puerto Rico to form a new group. As opposed to La Pandilla, his idea was to form an all-boys group where the members would rotate as they grew older, with the intention to keep the group young. A member would be replaced when he reached his 16th birthday, his voice changed, he grew facial hair, or grew too tall.The first incarnation of the band included two groups of brothers: Díaz's cousins Ricky Meléndez, Carlos Meléndez, Óscar Meléndez, and brothers Fernando Sallaberry and Nefty Sallaberry. The name of the group came after an incident during their second rehearsal, where Díaz's sister entered the driveway of the house they were at and, puzzled by finding five young boys dancing and singing in the garage, she loudly exclaimed: "¡Cuánto menudo hay aqui!" ("What a lot of young folk we have here!"). The phrase stuck, and the group was thus named Menudo.In the next few years, Menudo toured Puerto Rico, performing at shopping malls, fiestas patronales
(a citywide yearly celebration), and other events. In 1977, they released their first album, titled Los Fantasmas
. The title track was a hit for the group, and they were able to get a regular TV show on Telemundo Canal 2 every Saturday night. After that, they followed with a second album titled Laura
Success in the 1980s
During the late 70s, the group released several albums that were moderately successful, during which new members replaced the original ones. However, it was in 1981 that the album Quiero Ser
launched the group into stardom. The line-up of the band at this time was René Farrait, Johnny Lozada, Xavier Serbiá, Miguel Cancel and Ricky Meléndez, the only remaining original member. The album included hit songs like "Quiero Ser", "Súbete A Mi Moto", "Rock En La TV", "Claridad", and "Mi Banda Toca Rock".The group became very popular throughout Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, including Brazil. During that time, Diaz was able to afford a Lockheed JetStar that had belonged to American President Richard Nixon and the Shah of Iran. The plane carried Menudo's name on both sides of the fuselage and made it the first boy band ever with its own private jet. The group also had a fan base in Spain and the rest of Europe.In 1982, René Farrait was replaced by Charlie Massó and debuted with Menudo in the album Por Amor. During this boom of popularity, fans started expressing themselves as contagious to the "Menuditis", similar to today's "Bieber Fever", or the "Menudomania". Their popularity was such that they even starred in their own feature films called Menudo: La Pelicula
and Una Aventura Llamada Menudo
, the latter starring Gladys Rodríguez as "Señora Mía"; Una Aventura Llamada Menudo included songs such as "Clara" and "A Volar".In early 1983 during their first visit to New York, Xavier Serbiá gave way to new member Ray Reyes. Their American fan base grew, especially among the young, as evidenced by "Menudo on ABC", a series of four-minute music spots that aired during the Fall 1983 season of the American Broadcasting Company's youth-oriented Saturday morning programming block. They also sang the theme song for ABC's Rubik, the Amazing Cube
. Miguel Cancel became the first member to voluntarily quit the group. According to an interview made in 1998, he was unhappy that he was not able to sing his songs after a sudden voice change and opted to leave before his scheduled departure, thus being replaced by Roy Rosselló. Menudo signed a 6-year multi-million dollar contract with RCA International. During this year, they also released their Spanish album A Todo Rock
.In 1984, Johnny Lozada was replaced by Robi Rosa (now known as Draco Rosa). With Robi, Menudo released their first English album Reaching Out
which featured the theme track "Like a Cannonball" for the Hollywood movie Cannonball Run 2
and their first Portuguese album Mania
, both featuring versions of some of their Spanish hits. Tours took place in the U.S. and Brazil during the first half of 1984.In July 1984, Ricky Melendez, who was the only original member remaining, left the group in a huge concert held in his birth town, Caguas, Puerto Rico. He became the only Menudo member to last seven years in the group. He was replaced with who would become the group's most popular alumnus around the world, Ricky Martin. With Martin, Menudo recorded their next Spanish album Evolución
. Their popularity even reached parts of Asia including Japan and the Philippines. Menudo also made English commercials for Pepsi, Scope, McDonald's and Crest during that time. They also did a guest appearance on the popular American children's program Sesame Street
. Much to the surprise of fans and Ray Reyes himself, he was the next to leave the group due to a growth spurt and voice change. In a 1998 interview, he stated he was caught off guard when Menudo was being interviewed in 1985 and the interviewer asked who was next to leave when Edgardo Díaz stated Ray was next considering that Charlie was the oldest at this point and was in the group the longest. Ray was replaced by Raymond Acevedo in 1985.During that time, Menudo released their second English album titled Menudo
which contains the songs "Hold Me" (#62 Billboard Hot 100, RCA 14087) and "Explosion" both with lead vocals by Robi Rosa. They also released their next Spanish album Ayer Y Hoy
and their second Portuguese album A Festa Vai Comecar
. Menudo held a successful tour in Brazil, performing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans. However, there were allegations that the tour was poorly organized. In a concert in Rio de Janeiro, the capacity was 60,000 but 70,000 tickets were sold. Two women died. In São Paulo, a 100,000 capacity stadium was sold-out with 200,000 people. In a stadium in Campinas, a city of São Paulo, it rained, and the concert, as a result, was delayed 4 hours. The film, Mixed Blood
, featured scenes in which Menudo was indirectly showcased, such as one with a Menudo poster on a wall and one where characters shopped at a "Menudomania" store.In 1986, Roy Rosselló was replaced by Sergio Blass. No farewell concerts were held. The group continued to release several albums during this year starting with their only Italian album titled Viva! Bravo!
which they showcased in Italy in the San Remo Music Festival. The Spanish album Refrescante
, the English album Can't Get Enough
, and the Portuguese album Menudo
were released respectively throughout this year followed by tours in the United States, Latin America including Brazil, and the Philippines.
Internal conflicts and image change
In January 1987, Charlie was replaced by Ralphy Rodriguez. Then the group began facing some internal conflicts. First, Robi quit without warning in the middle of a Brazilian tour, becoming the second member to quit voluntarily. Apparently, he had written a song and presented the idea to management. They turned him down and supposedly mocked him, which prompted him to leave. They did this so that they could use Robi's song without compensating him. Robi's lawyer prevented them from using his song. Also, the group was dropped from RCA International due to low record sales. As a result, they signed a contract with Melody International Mexico. Charlie was asked to return to the group to complete the Brazilian tour and to embark on the Summer in the Street U.S. tour and introduce new member Rubén Gómez.At this point, the group underwent a complete image makeover, changing their look to a more rough, rugged, rock-like look. This was also applied to their music which had been described before as bubble-gum pop. They released the Spanish album Somos Los Hijos del Rock
, followed by an English-Tagalog album for the Philippines titled In Action
with Ralphy and Rubén. In late 1987, Ralphy was pulled from the group by his parents citing improper treatment by management. This eventually came to the light in 1991 when the Menudo sex scandal broke. Again, Charlie was asked to fill in for the Philippines tour which would be the last for Menudo as their popularity there waned.In early 1988, new member Angelo García joined Menudo replacing Ralphy Rodríguez. Their final English album titled Sons of Rock
, was released scoring an international hit "You Got Potential" as well as featuring "TLC" with lead vocals by Ricky Martin. In August 1988, Raymond Acevedo's contract was about to be over, but decided to leave before auditions were held for his replacement. As a result, Menudo performed as a quartet for a few months. Raymond was replaced by Robert Avellanet and the album Sombras Y Figuras was released at the end of the year.In July 1989, after five years with the group, Ricky Martin left and was replaced by Rawy Torres. Ricky Martin's last concert with Menudo was in the Centro de Bellas Artes de Santurce in San Juan. The group released the album Los Últimos Héroes
. This production reestablished Menudo's popularity in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, where a five-part miniseries was shot to promote the album.
Despite their newfound success, the group kept facing problems when member Angelo García left the group, breaking his contract with Menudo. García was replaced by César Abreu, however he only lasted seven months. Before Abreu left the group, management was preparing for Sergio's departure and was going to be replaced by their first non-Puerto Rican member, Adrián Olivares of Mexico. However, Abreu left, only delaying Sergio's departure. Management decided to keep Sergio for another Spanish album No Me Corten El Pelo
and was released with Sergio, Rubén, Robert, Rawy and Adrián.In 1991, two new non- Puerto Rican members joined the group, Edward Aguilera from Spain and Jonathan Montenegro from Venezuela. Edward replaced Sergio González and Jonathan replaced Rubén Gómez. Both members left the group a few months later.Edgardo Díaz left Puerto Rico and held auditions in Miami, Florida, signing Miami teens Alexis Grullón, Ashley Ruiz, and Andy Blázquez, and Pecos, Texas resident Abel Talamántez. The first album with the new line-up was Detrás De Tu Mirada
, which was very successful in the whole continent, especially in Peru. Peruvian fan base became the most important one for the group from then on.Menudo continued to work, releasing an English single titled Dancin', Movin', Shakin'
, and a follow-up in 1993, titled Cosmopolitan Girl
, which would be the first of several English albums on McGillis Records. They also continued to travel through Latin America.In March 1992, Menudo filmed in New York City "The Making of Dancin, Movin, Shakin" on YouTube for Darrin McGillis Productions. In August, 2012, the film was released for free viewing on Video on YouTube.In 1992, they released 15 Años
, which would be Adrián's last album with the band (he decided to leave in 1993). Ricky López replaced Adrián and the group released their 5th Portuguese album Vem Pra Mim
(1993), and their 22nd Spanish album, Imagínate...
(1994).In 1995, Ricky López quit the group without warning, and the band performed with four members for a few months. Ashley had also decided to leave the group, so auditions were held and Didier Hernández and Anthony Galindo were chosen. Ashley's farewell concert was in Panama, where new members were presented.After several albums released, in 1996, the group released their last Spanish album under the name of Menudo, entitled Tiempo De Amar
. The album was very successful, producing several hit singles. In 1997, the rights and the name Menudo were sold and the band changed the name to MDO, at the time Andy Blázquez left and was replaced by Daniel René Weider. A self-titled Spanish album was released, increasing the group's popularity in Latin America and the U.S. MDO has continued to release albums despite some changes in management (see main article: MDO.)In 1998 Ricky Meléndez, René Farrait, Miguel Cancel, Johnny Lozada, Ray Reyes and Charlie Massó re-joined to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of their success in Latin America, North America, Spain and several other countries in the world. They planned the reunion concert to take place at Centro de Bellas Artes de Santurce in San Juan, as an experimental project. However, the show sold out so quickly and the demands for more shows was so huge they had to change the venue for a bigger one. They ended up doing the shows at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. They had an unexpected success and continued to this day through North and Latin America. They named this El Reencuentro since the group could not use the "Menudo" brand because Edgardo Díaz threatened to take legal action if they did.
In 2000, MDO released their album Subir Al Cielo
with critical success. The album lead track "Te Quise Olvidar" topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks for several weeks and became the group signature' song. The group follow-up singles "Sin Ti" and "Me Huele A Soledad" also went top 10 in the U.S., showing that they are a real group.In 2002, former members Sergio, Rubén, Robert, Angelo and Rawy reunited under the name "Los Últimos Héroes" giving numerous concerts in Venezuela.In early 2003, MDO officially broke up on amicable terms. The members wanted to pursue other projects. Edgardo Diaz introduced the new MDO in January 2005.In 2004, Edgardo Diaz announced that he will be bringing a new group with the Menudo formula into the music industry. Initially expecting this new group to be named Menudo, he surprised the press and general public by naming them Tick Tock.Also in 2004, former Menudo members Roy, Raymond, Rubén, Sergio and Andy reunited under the name and banner: Menudo: La Reunion.
They were based and focused primarily on a series of 'Brazilian' tours. Sergio left due to his prior commitment with "Los Últimos Héroes", and was replaced with Anthony Galindo. Andy would later be replaced by former MDO member Caleb Avilés before disbanding in late 2005, early 2006.In January 2005, producer Edgardo Díaz introduced the new MDO with four new members: Daniel Rodríguez, Luis Montes, Elliot Suro, and Lorenzo Duarte. The first three were among the contestants of Puerto Rican reality/talent show Objetivo Fama
. This latest incarnation of the group achieved great success with their single "Otra Vez" which took them all across Latin America.Also, in 2005, former Menudo members René, Johnny, Miguel, Ricky, Charlie, and Ray reunited once again to perform the songs that Menudo popularized during their era under the name and banner El Reencuentro: Momento del Adios
making this their farewell tour. Plans are on the way to bring this production to Latin American and the U.S. Also in 2005, Sergio, Angelo, Robert, Rawy and Adrián reunited again under the name Los Últimos Héroes
after their successful reunion concerts in 2002.In 2006, former Menudo: La Reunion
members, Anthony and Rubén reunited and formed the duo Blacksheep
and continue touring in Brazil. To date the duo has grown a large fan base in both Brazil and Hispanic America.In 2007, a re-release of the 1992 VHS film of Menudo The making of Dancin', Movin', Shakin'" was released on McGillis Records. Entitled Triple Threat DVD/CD Combo
[1\], the box set included the Film on DVD for the first time, along with two music CDs, Latin Teen Stars
and Dance Music All Night Long
, featuring hit songs by Menudo, ex-Menudo members. The single, "Dancin', Movin', Shakin'", and "Cosmopolitan Girl" was released digitally on iTunes in May 2009.
The New Menudo
In 2007 it was announced that Menudo would return after signing a multi-album contract with SonyBMG label Epic Records.The recasting of the band was profiled in a MTV reality series entitled Making Menudo
that had launched as a primetime series on October 25, 2007, but was later pushed to afternoons due to low ratings. The series ended on November 20, 2007. The new members were José Bordonada Collazo, Chris Moy, Emmanuel Vélez Pagan, José Monti Montañez, and Carlos Olivero. The group disbanded in early 2009.
2011 Compliation Release
Menudo released in January 2011 a compilation of English songs on iTunes, some of which had been previously unreleased. The album is titled Enchanted Island