Los Gatos Salvajes were Argentina's first authentic teenage rock & roll band, five young men from Buenos Aires who took the sound that was sweeping America and the United Kingdom and put their own homegrown spin on it, winning a significant local following in the process. The band got its start in Rosario, the largest city in Argentina's Santa Fe province, where in 1964 young rock & roll fans guitarist Juan Carlos "Chango" Pueblas, keyboard man Ciro Fogliatta, bassist Guillermo Romero, and drummer Jose "Tito" Adjaiyedecided to form their own combo. The kids called their band the Wild Cats, and their music reflected their enthusiasm for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Yardbirds; the major British groups had a following in South America, but the few Argentine rock acts were older and had yet to embrace the new sounds in music, putting the young band ahead of the trends. The Wild Cats added a singer, Litto Nebbia, who also played harmonica; with Nebbia's encouragement, they translated their name into Spanish and became Los Gatos Salvajes, and began performing songs in their native tongue -- mostly originals written by the group, along with covers of popular tunes sung en español.
As Los Gatos Salvajes' confidence grew, they moved to Buenos Aires, and they got their big break through a series of television appearances, in which they were able to share their sound with young rock fans all across the city. The combo's popularity on television led to a record deal, and after a handful of singles, Los Gatos Salvajes released their first (and only) LP in 1965. The self-titled album proved to be a short-lived triumph for Los Gatos Salvajes; due to poor promotion by the label, the LP sold less than a thousand copies before the company went broke, and less than a year after it was released, Adjaiye, Pueblas, and Romero decided it was time to return home to Rosario, and the group broke up. Nebbia and Fogliatta stayed in Buenos Aires and assembled a new group, Los Gatos, and they soon enjoyed the commercial success the original group did not, selling 200,000 copies of their debut single, "La Balsa." In 2007, a collection of Los Gatos Salvajes' complete recordings was released in the United States by No Fun Records. ~ Mark Deming