AUK’s Chain Gang: Los Lobos “Will the Wolf Survive?”

In the last AUK Chain Gang Guy Lincoln took us to the West Coast of Scotland and Glasgow’s snarling mavericks, James King and the Lone Wolves, but let’s catch a transatlantic flight to a very different West Coast, to Los Angeles, and East Los Angeles to be more specific. But it’s not a geographical link playing out here, it’s a lupine connection. Los Lobos, (Spanish for “the wolves”) could be connection enough but let’s pile it on further going back to 1984 and one of their best-known tracks, a paean to the struggles of the lone wolf as it struggles to hold on in an increasingly hostile world, ‘Will the Wolf Survive?’ In an interview with Rick Moore in American Songwriter back in 2016, main lyricist Louie Perez discussed the two main themes playing out in the song: partly celebrating the sense of community and support amongst young, alternative bands playing the LA scene back in the 1980s while, at a more esoteric level, the song also referenced the role the Los Lobos saw for themselves in playing their part in helping preserve Mexican-American culture. Tempting as it is to play the music promo that seemed to become almost a fixture on early MTV, instead, let’s remind ourselves that this particular East LA wolf is still surviving, still gigging, still sounding great and still every bit as inspiring as they were way back when this clip was filmed in 1987.

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