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- Posted on Aug 19th 2010 12:30PM by Emily Tan
Lopez helped start the East Los Angeles vocal group, which rose to fame with the '60s hit 'Land of 1000 Dances.' The song spent 14 weeks on Billboard's Top 100 and the group went on to appear on 'American Bandstand' and open for the Rolling Stones, Righteous Brothers and the Beatles.
"[Lopez] was an inspiration to the group as far as getting me started," bandmate Robert Jaramillo told the L.A. Times. "I owe him that."
While Lopez enjoyed touring with the Beatles, he got into hot water with Eddie Davis, the band's manager, who didn't want the singer gambling with the Liverpool quartet. Ultimately, the conflict caused Lopez to quit the band. "[Davis] stormed back there and started yelling at me in front of everyone," Lopez said in an interview. "I'm from East L.A., and I don't take that from nobody. So we never spoke to each other ever again. I was so angry at him for embarrassing me in front of the Beatles that I made up my mind right then and there I would not continue on the tour."
After leaving the group, Lopez took on a number of jobs including landscaping parks in Los Angeles. According to Hector A. Gonzalez, current owner of Rampart Records, Lopez dealt with a drug problem, which he eventually overcame.
In 1996, Lopez reunited at the Chicano Music Awards when they were inducted into the Chicano Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The reunion was sans Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia, who died that same year. The group continued to occasionally perform together until 2004 with replacements for Garcia and Joe 'Yo Yo' Jaramillo who passed in 2000.
Lopez is survived by his father, a sister, two children and two granddaughters. Funeral arrangements are still in the works.