Los Panchos (also known as Trío Los Panchos) is the name of an internationally known bolero trio.
Los Panchos first met in 1944 in New York City, the first members were the Mexicans Alfredo Gil, and Chucho Navarro, who permanently formed part of the trio, and Hernando Aviles from Puerto Rico. Each member of Los Panchos played a guitar and sang.
Los Panchos reached fame internationally with their romantic songs, especially in Latin America, where they are still regarded as one of the top trios of all time. They sold millions of album copies within a few years of being founded.
They also appeared in around 50 movies, mostly during the 'Golden Age' of Mexican cinema.
Their single Solamente Una Vez is one of the tracks on the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack.
Between 1946 to 1948, Los Panchos performed in the United States, including a performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Los Panchos first began touring internationally in 1946. Later that year, Los Panchos moved to Mexico, considered the capital of Spanish-language music where many Latin and Iberian artists have jumped to international fame. They were welcomed with open arms and XEW-AM, the most popular radio station in Mexico City, reserved a time slot for their music. In 1951, Los Panchos launched another international tour across Latin America.
Julito Rodriguez joined the group in 1952; he was replaced by Johnny Albino in 1958. Johnny Albino & Chucho Navarro, (Miguel Poventud and Yomo Toro were studio musicians for CBS) famously worked with singer Eydie Gorme on a series of bestselling albums in the 1960s. The Albino era was one of the most prosperous ones for Los Panchos whose classic albums are very popular among Los Panchos fans still. His departure in 1968 was a tumultuous one, as he did not leave on good terms with the group's management.
In 1971, Ovidio Hernández joined the band as lead vocalist, a part he would fulfill until his untimely passing of complications of meningitis in 1976. Following him, Rafael Basurto Lara joined as lead singer, he is today the last living person to have been a lead vocalist in the original Trio Los Panchos ("original" referring to any lineup that included founding members Gil and Navarro).
Alfredo Gil played with Los Panchos until his retirement in 1981 (he died in 1999) and Chucho Navarro played with the group until his death in 1993.
A characteristic instrument of Los Panchos and many more bolero trios after them is the Requinto guitar, which is smaller and tuned higher than a standard guitar, and was invented by Alfredo Gil, founding member of Los Panchos. Requinto soli are typically part of a bolero song.
Today, there are several trios claiming to be the rightful successors to the original trio, with Rafael Basurto Lara, lead singer of the original Trio Los Panchos since 1976 still being the lead voice of one of them. Another Trio Los Panchos is currently under the musical direction of Gabriel Vargas Aguilar, the adopted son of co-founder Gil. This band, now based in Veracruz, Mexico, still continues to perform concerts across Mexico, Latin America, and the United States, with a newer cast of singers.