Born July 12, 1947 in Caravaca de la Cruz in the southern Spanish region of Murcia, Mari overcame a debilitating kidney disease during her childhood to become an accomplished singer- songwriter by the early seventies. The accuracy of Mari's past has been muddled by myth and false publicity, but her story goes something like this: She was born María Trinidad Pérez Miravete, and moved to Madrid with her family as a small child. According to one account, Mari jetted over to London at age 15 to study pop music with the famous Hollywood film director Nicholas Ray. She found London a bore and skipped over to Paris where she recorded her first song- in French. Upon returning to Madrid in 1968, Mari was booked to appear at an important club engagement on "La Gran Vía," the main drag in Madrid (equivalent to NYC's Broadway). Her own composition, "Amores," (1970) was a number one hit, as was the excellent bilingual album of the same name. In a country where the LP format didn't really succeed commercially until around 1970, Mari thus became one of Spain's very first "album-oriented" artists. Her 1971 LP Escúchame was voted the year's best album by the Spanish press. Mari's up-front vocal style backed by folk guitar and subtle orchestral arrangements was a hit with the Spanish youth during the years 1970-1973. The early seventies remain the pinnacle years of her success, but she has made quite a few comebacks since then.
The Group Scene
Rock n' roll groups were popping up all over Spain during the sixties and seventies, but it was the males that dominated their lineups. Females were rarely able to infiltrate these boys clubs, but girls like Shelly, Helena, and Cristina somehow managed to find a way in.
The rather regal-looking Cristina was born Carmen Arévalo in Barcelona on Sept. 16, 1946. She made her name as a member of Los Stop, a local group who gained renown by their appearance at the 1966 Festival De Conjuntos De Badalona. Los Stop was later given an invitation to perform at the famous Star Club of Hamburg, Germany (former haunt of the Beatles). Upon signing to the Belter label, Los Stop turned their winning formula of ultra-catchy music plus Cristina's strident vocals into a bevy of memorable pop records. Their big hits include "El Turista 1.999.999" (debuted at the Festival De La Canción De Mallorca in 1967), "Tres Cosas (Salud, Dinero, Y Amor)" (1967), "Yo Te Daré" (1968), and a cover of Procul Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale," retitled "Con Su Blanca Palidez," (1967) and Miriam Makeba's "Pata Pata" (1968). Cristina fronted Los Stop as well as acted as the group's fashion director, but in 1969 she announced her plans to separate from the boys and go solo. Strangely enough, the band who backed the newly solo Cristina called themselves Los Tops, and included members of Los Stop (!). Although her songs like 1969's "El Extraño Del Pelo Largo" (a cover of an Argentinian hit), and "Cambiemos El Color Del Cielo" (1970) were on par with Los Stop's hits, major stardom was not in the cards for Cristina. She attempted to represent Spain in the Eurovision contest of 1970 and 1971, but she lost out to Karina.
Top Photo Star: Mari Trini