As the Lowrider culture began to emerge in East Los Angeles, so too did the musical sound that would eventually define this up and coming movement. Filled with cruise nights, social dances, and parties at the park, East Los Angeles became the place to be during this time period. The Zoot Suit era and Pachuco movements were transforming themselves into a new culture now, a culture filled with custom automobiles and positivity, and a culture in desperate need of a new soundtrack that reflected this social change. This culture, now known as Lowriding is indeed our religion, and three historical musical groups make up the early trinity of our musical background. These invaluable contributors to Lowrider culture are: Thee Midniters, Cannibal and the Headhunters, and legendary Latino balladeer Chris Montez. The music from these three camps became the theme music for East Los Angeles, and was heard pouring out of every car, truck, home, and restaurant in the area during the 1950's and 1960's.
Thee Midniters began their musical career in the 1960's using a blend of timbales, horns, congas, keyboards, and electric guitars to define a new, distinctively Chicano rock sound. Led by band leader and vocalist Willie Garcia, Thee Midniters became a soulful entity and force to be reckoned with on the local music scene. "Little Willie G" as he was known, won crowds over with his plaintiff wailing, bringing out the heart and soul of any song he sang. Guitarist George Dominguez was ahead of his time as a guitar player, forming riffs and progressions that would later influence Chicano groups like Los Lobos, and drummer George Salazar provided the masterful back beat for this ground breaking group. Thee Midniters rose to fame thanks to jarring live performances of local favorites, and George Salazar's live drumming on this songs alone was reason enough to go see this group in concert. They had the chops of a group like Chicago, but stayed true to their local roots, birthing the local anthem "Whittier Boulevard." Never before had Los Angeles seen a group as musically sophisticated, or as Chicano as Thee Midniters, and their sound resonated from every corner in East Los Angeles. Pioneering Disc Jockey Casey Kasem once praised the boys saying "They were the best band I ever hired," as he promoted early area concerts. The band followed the success of "Whittier Boulevard" with "Love Special Delivery" and "That's All," which both became huge neighborhood hits, and garnered cheers for the group as they played shows all across California. Their place among the pantheon of great Lowrider-based music was solidified with their inclusion in the "Trini Lopez presents the Legends of Latin Rock" PBS special, alongside Tierra, and El Chicano.