A Beautiful Soul Reaches The Heavens
(January 23rd, 1950 - February 8th, 2012)
By Adriana Rubio
This is the most difficult article to write for me today, the kind of story I’m refusing to work on since yesterday…
On February 8th, 2012 I received the sad news of Spinetta’s passing. He was fighting lung cancer since last year and unfortunately lost the battle at 62. He devoted 43 years of his life to the art of music expression. And while his music lives on, he will be greatly missed for the lovely person he was.
Luis Alberto Spinetta also known as “El Flaco”, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 23rd, 1950. He was a progressive guitarist, composer, singer and poet. The nature of his musical compositions and poetic lyrics made his name a recognizable one not only in Argentina but in Latin America and in many European countries.
“El Flaco Spinetta” was an avid reader of poetry books, psychology and sociology texts and philosophy. Nietzsche, Freud, Rimbaud, Castaneda and Artaud were the most influential ones on his poetic lyrics. In fact, one of Spinetta’s albums is titled “Artaud”.
Spinetta started his musical career in 1967 with a group called “Almendra” with Emilio del Guercio, Edelmiro Molinari y Rodolfo García. The first album was released in 1969 and three of the tracks are still considered classics and will keep that way forever: “Muchacha Ojos De Papel”, “Ana No Duerme” and “Plegaria Para Un Niño Dormido”. In 1970, the band released a double album containing two memorable hits “Rutas Argentinas” and “Los Elefantes”. Almendra worked on an Opera Rock project, but due to some internal conflicts they disbanded.
“El Flaco” worked on a number of musical projects including the recording of a solo album titled “Spinettalandia y sus amigos” which was released in 1971. He then went on to form “Pescado Rabioso” with Carlos Cutaia, Osvaldo Frascino / David Lebón y Black Amaya. They released the album titled “Desatormentados” in 1972 and a double album still considered one of the best of Spinetta’s career: “Pescado II” in 1973.
Around the same year he released a solo album inspired by Antonin Artaud poetry. However, it appears as work with "Pescado Rabioso". The album art cover is a picture of the famous poet. On several occasions Spinetta stated that he was a huge fan of Artaud poetry.
By the end of 1973 Spinetta formed a brand new band called “Invisible” and released three albums. They disbanded in 1976 saying “good bye” with two sold out concerts at Luna Park stadium.
There’s no doubt, “El Flaco” was born to be an artist. His creative talent was unlimited and never stopped. In 1977 he released another album with a band he simple called “Banda Spinetta”. In 1979 he traveled to the United States and with the full support of world famous Guillermo Vilas, recorded his only album in English titled “Only Love Can Sustain”.
In the 80s the long awaited reunion of “Almendra” finally happened releasing a double live album which was recorded at Obras Sanitarias stadium. Almost at the same time he formed another brand new band called “Spinetta Jade” and soon after he released two solo albums “Kamikaze” in 1982, and “Mondo di Cromo” in 1983.
By 1985 Spinetta tried to work things out with fellow musician Charly García for an album together, but they only registered one song titled “Rezo Por Vos”. El Flaco then worked successfully with Fito Paez and León Gieco releasing “La,La,La”.
There were a huge number of sold out live performances throughout his career and was also able to compose soundtracks for the film “Fuego Gris” directed by Pablo César in 1994. He then formed a trio band called “Spinetta y Los Socios del Desierto”. With this band he toured locally and finished it with a great live show at The Opera Theatre. And in 1996 he said that he wanted to make a massive performance in the woods of Palermo in Buenos Aires for free.
After a few years of being silent, El Flaco returned back with the new millennium releasing “Silver Sorgo” in 2001, “Para los Árboles” in 2003, “Camalotus” a four tracks EP, “Pan” in 2006 and “Un Mañana” in 2008. On December 4th, 2009 “El Flaco Spinetta” performed at Velez Sarsfield stadium and played there for the enjoyment of his forever fans during five hours.
In January of 2012 he had a major surgery due to complications caused by diverticulitis. According to family statements the surgery was not related to the primary lung cancer. He died peacefully on February 8th, 2012.
Luis Alberto Spinetta… musician, guitarist, composer, poet… a beautiful soul has now reached the heavens!