Whittier Boulevard Arch

Services are pending for Rudy Salas, leader, guitarist and co-founder of the long-running East Los Angeles Chicano R&B band Tierra.

Salas died Tuesday at age 71, according to Thump Records. A cause of death was not announced.

Tierra, once selected as Best R&B Vocal Group by Billboard, was formed in East Los Angeles in 1972 by brothers Rudy and Steve Salas. The nine-member band featured a blend of rock, R&B and Latin rhythms that won fans with such genre-crossing hits as "Together," "Memories" and "La La Means I Love You."

The band appeared throughout the world and performed on the American Music Awards and "American Bandstand." Through nearly five decades, Tierra shared the stage with the likes of James Brown, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, and Chicago.

Sign up for The Eastsider's Daily Digest newsletter

"Rudy Salas was a true legend in Latin music," said Thump Records CEO Bill Walker. "His talent, drive and personality will leave an indelible mark on music, particularly the Latin community."

Tierra's most recent album, "Keep It Going," included a song Salas penned for his wife of 23 years. The couple had recently celebrated their anniversary.

Salas' family spoke of the loss of "our rock, our creative spirit, husband, father, grandfather -- and soon to be great-grandfather -- uncle, brother and leader of Tierra, whose history spans nearly five decades."

The family said that "millions have enjoyed Tierra's music and we are deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and family."

Salas is survived by his wife, Joanna, two children with his former wife, three stepchildren, three younger brothers, and 11 grandchildren.

Support community news in 2021

Support community news in 2021

The Eastsider needs your support!

The Eastsider is committed to providing news and information free to all as a community service. But reporting and writing neighborhood news takes time -- and money. Join the other Eastsider readers whose one-time contributions and monthly sponsorships help pay our bills and allow us to provide you the news and info that keeps you connected to your community. -- Jesus Sanchez, Publisher

Load comments