Charly García: The Most Unique and Talented Musician from Argentina
Charly García is one of the most influential musicians and songwriters from South America. Known as the Father of Argentine Rock, his music has had political and artistic prowess since the 70s.
This artist has a rich and colorful history that extends from his childhood to this day. He has been a part of many successful bands and has a considerable number of albums and songs under his belt.
His musical career has been rocky and tumultuous, but he survived to become an “Argentine myth” that still sells out arenas today. He’s an eccentric and entertaining artist that sported an iconic black and white moustache discolored by vitiligo. Let’s take a look at the history of Charly García and his success throughout the decades!
Origins and Influences
Carlos Alberto García, better known as Charly García, showed outstanding musical ability as early as age three. His mother noticed this talent and enrolled him in a prestigious conservatory where he would graduate as a music teacher at the ripe young age of 12. Charly is known for having “absolute pitch”—the ability to understand and replicate any pitch only with the help of one’s ears.
His career was heavily influenced by the Beatles. Many of his interviews revolved around his love for the band and how it changed him as a musician. He says “If I hadn’t discovered the Beatles, I would probably work at the conservatory as a music teacher.”
His music was also known for not following stereotypes, particularly those of other South American bands of the time. He strayed away from traditional Latin music and created a style more akin to US and European music.
The 80s were a difficult time for Charly García. His career and lifestyle proved to be too much to handle for the famous musician, and he became incoherent and erratic to a point where retiring from the music business was necessary for his recovery.
Reporters asked him questions that would mock his poor mental health, so in order to recover from the insurmountable stress in his daily life, Charly went to a farm owned by his friend and fellow musician Palito Ortega. Years later, Charly García made a comeback to the music scene, looking better and ready to go. Even today, he sells arenas out in a matter of hours!
Bands and Discography
Charly García has released over 30 albums, most of which are solo albums.
With a vast and renowned career, he formed and headlined two of Argentina’s most popular rock bands: Sui Generis in the 1970s and Serú Girán in the 1980s.
Of course, to truly immerse yourself in his music, I suggest you listen to his greatest hits online (on YouTube or Spotify) to hear the music that shaped a generation of South Americans.
Charly García’s first band started out with simplistic melodies and romantic lyrics in flute and piano that appealed to teens and lovebirds all over Argentina. After a couple of successful years, the band changed its identity to a more traditional rock sound that wasn’t as well received as their previous work.
Their album, Pequeñas Anécdotas Sobre las Instituciones, was a critique of Argentine institutions and their problems, including a song that’s about censorship. And the album was censored. Talk about ironic!
Argentine police and military would stand outside their concerts to intimidate concert goers since some of the songs were aimed towards them. In 1975, Sui Generis broke up, as Charly García and the rest of the band went their separate ways.
La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros
La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros (“The Birdmaking Machine”) was Charly García’s second band.
Inspired by a comic strip called El Sr. García y la Máquina de Hacer Pájaros, this band continued the trend of protest music. The themes revolved around censorship, dictatorship, political repression, and other sensitive topics that were trending in Argentina at the time.
Serú Girán was Charly García’s third and longest-running band before he started his solo career. The name Serú Girán is a meaningless jumble of syllables from Charly’s brain.
At this point, Charly’s protest melodies were more direct and to the point, so much so that he nearly went to jail due to the intense criticism of his lyrics. The band’s success led to its members finding their own paths to further their careers. That’s why Serú Girán stopped making music until many years later when they made a new album and went on a reunion tour.
Charly García’s solo career is where you’ll find most of his music. It didn’t take long for his success to skyrocket when he started composing by himself. He would occasionally invite musician friends and former bandmates to accompany him.
Charly García’s fame saw no signs of dwindling. Eventually, he started to suffer from mental health issues caused by his fast-paced lifestyle, and took a one-year hiatus to work on his own wellbeing.
He came back with a healthier and more composed look, and shortly thereafter he released a new album. He continues to produce music, and his last album came out in 2017!
Charly García: Unique and Talented
There are so many albums in Charly’s discography that I’m still discovering new songs and styles! I’d love to get familiar with more Charly García songs. To help me out, leave a comment with your favorite Charly García album or song.
One of my personal favorites is Que se Puede Hacer Salvo Ver Películas. From his album, La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros, this song is lighthearted and weird.
Amongst the many famous Argentine people, Charly García is one of the most eccentric and intriguing. He was a born musician, and he has spent his life dedicated to it. Few musicians compose as much music as him while maintaining interest and relevance with fans for as long as he has.
His resilience shows not only in his albums, but also in his own life. The Father of Argentine Rock has influenced songwriters and musicians internationally, and his messages against censorship still ring true in today’s world.
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