Angelica Maria’s Covers of Sixties Classics

When child actress turned singer Angélica María recorded La Novia de la Juventud in 1966, Mexican teens were in the throes of rock-and-roll mania. Appearing in minidresses or capri pants and turtleneck pullovers, her freckled face as fresh as any Mary Quant model, Angélica María was Mexico’s quintessential chica yeye – a groovy chick – and so popular that she was christened the “girlfriend of the younger generation.”

Listen to Angélica María’s La Novia de la Juventud now.

María had recorded a handful of previous albums when her label, Mexico City’s Musart, paired her with Los Rebeldes del Rock, pioneers on the scene who got together in 1958 and became famous with their song “La Hiedra Venenosa,” a cover of “Poison Ivy” by The Coasters. Armed with a repertoire ripped from American Top 40 and a frenetic backbeat, Angélica María and Los Rebeldes delivered an album in step with the times that spotlights the singer’s personal take on pop. Decades later, this album disproves any notion that the British Invasion arrived late to Latin America.

Lennon, McCartney, and Ray Davies are among the songwriters listed in the credits of “La Novia de la Juventud.” On “Ni un Viaje Más,” Angélica María sings over the familiar chords of “Day Tripper” and a euphoric tambourine that’s almost punk in its joyous disregard for timbre and tune. She drops her voice on the more intimate “Quierame Otra Vez,” (“We Can Work It Out”). On her version of the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting,” “Cansada de Esperar,” she sounds like Nico on a Sunday morning.

Angélica María takes on American-made hits as well, including “Este Lunes,” her bubbly version of The Mamas and The Papas’s “Monday Morning;” a surf rock cover of “Love Potion No. 9” (“Brebaje de Amor”), and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Red Rubber Ball,” known as “El Sol de la Mañana” in Spanish. Angélica María’s vocals take on a hoarse, up-all-night roughness on Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right,” here titled “Tratala Bien.” She’s accompanied by screaming and clapping as the song breaks out into a fiesta.

La Novia de la Juventud also features the talent of Lolita de la Colina, a Mexican songwriter then in her twenties who translated and adapted the English-language hits sung by Angélica María, and also contributed her own song, “Loca por un loco” (“Crazy for a Crazy Guy”) to the album. And the tracks include “Yo No Se Que Fue,” a song for go-go dancing by Angélica María’s friend Armando Manzanero, then an up-and-coming songwriter who would go on to become Mexico’s most iconic popular composer.

Angélica María Hartman Ortiz was born in New Orleans to American industrialist Arnold Hartman and Angélica de Jesús Ortiz Sandoval, a theater producer. She moved to Mexico with her mother at a young age after her parents divorced, and started acting, in plays, films and later, in telenovelas that were seen throughout Latin America. In 2008, she was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the Latin Grammys. And she would later, in 2023, become known among American audiences for her role in the Netflix series The Lincoln Lawyer. But when “La Novia de la Juventud” was released in the ‘60s, Angélica María was on her way to becoming a Latin music star, and outgrowing the teenage nickname that gave this album its title. As the demographics of her popularity widened, audiences came to know her as La novia de México (“Mexico’s Sweetheart”).

Listen to Angélica María’s La Novia de la Juventud now.

Related Posts