Selena y Los Dinos (English: Selena and the Guys) was the band in which Tejano music singer Selena performed, until her murder on March 31, 1995. Selena fronted the band since 1980, started by her father Abraham Quintanilla, Jr.. When Selena was signed with EMI Latin, EMI president Jose Behar told Selena that the world wanted Selena, not Los Dinos. Selena then began releasing her studio albums under her own logo title Selena and not Selena y Los Dinos. Before Selena was signed with EMI, the band had sold more than 80,000 copies in the state of Texas alone, with the Tejano labels GP, Cara Records, Manny, and Freddie Records before 1989.
Between 1957 and 1971, Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. had played with Los Dinos. He loved to play music, and even persuade Selena to play music until she actually loved to play. Selena herself joined the family band at the age of eight, and they turned professional two years later. Selena not only sang in some concerts that her father arranged, but she also sang in school whenever she was asked. Selena's father discovered her amazing voice, and spread musical talents (which he pursued himself in his earlier days) among his two other children: Abraham III (A.B.), was put on the bass guitar, and Suzette, was put on drums. The family first showcased their band on street corners, at quinceañeras, and at other family gatherings until Selena's father opened up a much-needed Mexican restaurant in Lake Jackson, Texas called Papágayos (English: Parrots) in 1980. While her parents took care of the restaurant, Selena performed for the first time in public at the age of ten with her siblings to entertain the diners. However, the restaurant began to lose its customers when the recession of 1982 hit south Texas and the restaurant was forced into foreclosure. Soon after the restaurant's closure, Selena's family moved their musical aspirations to Corpus Christi, Texas. There, Selena began to gain popularity and respect as a child singer.
Within a year, the family's restaurant went bankrupt and the family was forced to move in with relatives, as Abraham had quit his job to manage the restaurant full-time. The band then performed wherever they could, including weddings, street corners, fairs, and Quinceañeras. At some places, the band began to gain a lot of appreciation, while at other performances, where Mexican-Americans were not accepted, it began to be booed. On one occasion while performing at a wedding, the band was booed and then food was thrown on stage.
Mainstream success (1982-1988):
In 1982, Corpus Christi, Texas-based Freddie Records signed Selena y Los Dinos to a recording contract. By 1983, the label began promoting the yet-to-be released debut album by selling singles from tracks off the album in local stores. Selena y Los Dinos began to perform in more local Texas clubs and fairs as their names began to spread around Texas. In 1984, Freddie released the band's very first full-length album entitled Selena y Los Dinos. When the album was completed, the president and owner of Freddie Records told Abraham that his band, Selena y Los Dinos, were not professionally ready to record and release a full-length album. Undeterred, Abraham dropped the record deal with Freddie Records and walked out. While still under the record deal, Selena's father came upon another small local Texas record company called Cara Records. The rumored album The New Girl in Town was never sold in stores, but singles from Cara Records were sold separately and promotionally around the state of Texas. In 1986, GP Productions, which discovered Selena y Los Dinos performing, signed the group for a yearly record contract. Selena y Los Dinos were in the recording studio soon after the agreement. That same year, Selena y Los Dinos recorded their first full-length album Alpha (A in the Greek alphabet), which was the first album to be released without legal actions or threats.
In 1987, Munequito De Trapo (Rag Doll) was released and an increase in sales began to spread the news about the band, which was promoted and showcased in the Tejano Music Awards,. Selena won best "Female Vocalist of The Year", which she then won eight consecutive times. The band as well received and won awards separately. In 1987, Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., who was proud of the band's winnings and awards, released And The Winner Is... and made Selena sing more Tejano and Mexican songs which followed their roots in order to gain more recognition in the Tejano world. In 1988, Selena y Los Dinos released Preciosa (Precious), a nickname that was given to Selena as a child, which sold 20,000 units in Texas alone. No other record or single sales were ever documented outside the U.S. By 1988, Selena's albums began to sell 20,000 units apiece. Selena y Los Dinos' last independent studio album was released in 1988 under the title Dulce Amor (Sweet Love). The album helped Selena to be noticed during the 1989 Tejano Music Awards by Jose Behar, who had just opened the Latin division of EMI Records; EMI Latin. Jose Behar recalled seeing Selena perform and the whole place "blew up" from so much excitement and enthusiasm emanating from the charismatic Selena. Soon after her performance, Behar signed Selena as a solo artist. Selena began releasing her albums with her new logo titled after her name, while the band Los Dinos was still beside Selena in concerts.
Chris Pérez (1988-):
Selena's brother A.B. met Chris Pérez in 1988 and they became fast friends. When one of the guitar players for the band would leave, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. would let out an open call for anyone in the state of Texas who was willing to participate with them and tour alongside the band. Pérez was interviewed and performed for one of the open calls at Abraham Quintanilla's house. A.B., who had told Chris to come, was confronted by his father, who did not like the energy and image of Chris Pérez, who had his own Rock band and performed entirely in the English-language. A.B. insisted that Pérez would learn the music quickly, convincing him to hire Pérez as the new lead guitarist. Pérez's addition to the band proved to be more than anticipated. He and Selena fell in love, but her father, who wanted to keep the band's clean-cut image, only saw envy in Pérez. He confronted Pérez and Selena and told them that the relationship had to end or the band would break up. Pérez quit, while Selena stayed with the band. However, they were secretly married on April 2, 1992, and Selena added Perez's last name to hers. She tried to hide the marriage from the rest of the family, but the news quickly spread to radio stations and newscasts. The senior Quintanilla later accepted Pérez into the family and allowed him to re-join the band. Soon after Selena's murder, Pérez left to form the "Chris Pérez Project". He dedicated a song to his late wife, calling it "The Best I Can". That band broke up in 2002, and he joined with Selena's brother A.B. in the Kumbia All Starz. A.B. is now honoring Selena by using her name in his songs.
The Reunion: Selena ¡Vive! (2005):
The surviving band members reunited for a historic massive tribute concert in honor of Selena on April 7, 2005. The concert, Selena ¡VIVE!, was held at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.The event not only sold out, but it became the highest-rated and most viewed Spanish-language TV special ever. In attendance were Gloria Estefan, Kumbia Kings, and an introduction by Jennifer Lopez, who portrayed Selena in the film made about her life. Suzette Quintanilla, Selena's sister, the former drum player for Selena y Los Dinos, announced that the band Los Dinos were reuniting to record a new song for A.B. Quintanilla's group Kumbia All Starz with surprise guest recording artists on the album La Vida De Un Genio.
Selena - lead singer,
Chris Pérez - lead & rhythm guitars (1989-1995),
Ricky Vela - keyboards,
Joe Ojeda - keyboards,
A.B. Quintanilla - bass, backing vocals,
Suzette "Suzy" Quintanilla - drums, percussion, backing vocals,
Jesse "O'Jay" Martinez- drums, percussion,
Arturo Meza - percussion, congas,
Pete Astudillo - backing vocals,
Don Shelton - backing vocals,
Freddie Corea - backing vocals
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