In 1971, Malo were signed to Warner Brothers Records and recorded their first album, which was simply entitled "Malo" (BS-2584). Arcelio co-wrote four of the six songs, including their classics "Nena" and "Cafe." Released in 1972, "Malo" also included “Suavecito," which had evolved from a song they had written and been doing in clubs called “My Love.” One of the band members at the time, Richard Bean, wrote a new lyric which gave birth to a major hit record. Malo members Pablo Tellez and Abel Zarate also got credit for the composition. “Suavecito” led to world tours and laid the groundwork for their career of three decades so far. The members on the first album were: Arcelio Garcia, lead vocals; Jorge Santana, lead guitar; Abel Zarate, lead guitar, vocals; Pablo Tellez, bass; Richard Spremich, drums; Richard Kermode, keyboards; Luis Gasca, trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; and Roy Murray, 2nd trumpet, trombone, flute and sax. Guest musicians included Coke Escovedo, timbales; Victor Pantoja, congas; and Richard Bean, timbales and lead vocal on "Suavecito." Malo has always had a "melting pot" of an ethnic mix, with Chicanos, Anglos, and people of Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, and Philippino descent.
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