La Frontera Del Norte
This work analyzes aspects of the artistic production of Los Tigres del Norte, a Mexican immigrant norteño group with great appeal in the United States and Mexico. It examines themes in their songs relevant to the ongoing debate over immigration in contemporary American society. This study of popular cultural expressions of Mexican immigrants is part of a broader research effort that is focused on addressing a question rarely considered in the relevant scholarship: How does participation in the process of international migration influence the politics of the millions of Mexicans who cross, on a temporary or permanent basis, the border into the United States?
Today, a full century after Mexican migration to the United States began, the political experience of this social group remains virtually uncharted territory. Scholars have not managed to identify and document their historical trajectory in a satisfactory manner, and they have had even less success explaining the group's views and activities. A principal reason for this dismal state of affairs is the tendency to view Mexican immigrants in reductionist terms. This is evident in the immigration-related scholarship, which devotes much attention to the Mexican immigrants' linkages to the labor market and disregards their relations to the Mexican and U.S. national polities.
A major consequence of this conceptualization is the narrowing of the political rights and spaces for Mexican immigrants in the two national societies. In the contemporary United States, for example, it is once again popular to perceive and treat Mexican immigrants simply as a disposable labor force that should be imported and deported as the economic needs of the nation dictate. The passage of Proposition 187 in California and restrictive immigration laws by Congress reveal the unwillingness of the electorate and legislators to view as full members of their national community the economic
immigrants who ensure the international competitiveness of the American economy.
Unfortunately, the circumscribed economic approach to Mexican immigration also prevails in Mexico, where the government has consistently excluded from the policymaking process the millions of citizens who participate in international migration flows. The nation's immigration-related policies reproduce the authoritarian character of the political system, as these are formulated and frequently imposed by the federal executive, without any semblance of democratic input by the immigrants themselves. Even when important reforms like the "dual nationality" and "right to vote" laws approved by the Mexican Congress in 1996 are discussed in the national legislature, no actual mechanisms are created or considered to foster formal, effective, and adequate immigrant input. It appears that, to the Mexican government, Mexican immigrants are simpleminded laborers who lack the capacity to identify and represent themselves.
The employment of this dominant approach to interpret Mexican immigration is lamentable for many other reasons. In particular, it is objectionable because it does not consider other roles Mexican transnational migrants play in the sending and receiving nations. Their treatment in purely working class terms does not permit us to appreciate in an adequate manner other aspects of their existence, nor the relations they develop with markets, administrative systems, or polities. Specifically, they are not seen as consumers who demand and receive goods and services, nor as clients of administrative systems who exchange taxes for public services, and certainly not as full and mature citizens of national polities who have the capacity to exchange loyalty and consent for favorable political decisions.
Due to the weight of the dominant interpretation, we are unable to find in the existing literature on Mexican immigration a theoretical formulation which approximates the framework developed by Don T. Nakanishi to examine Asian American politics or the conceptualizations of international migrants made by scholars such as Yasemin Soysal.
Nakanishi presents a model which suggests that empirical and theoretical studies of the electoral politics of Asian American can best be conceptualized by integrating three distinct but interrelated approaches: the interplay between domestic and non-domestic activities, electoral and non-electoral behavior, and micro and macro lines of inquiry. In this model, Nakanishi calls attention to the significance of non-domestic affairs and processes which, at times, may prove to be more important in explaining developments within the Asian community. He identifies at least five major issues relevant to his model: the transnational activities of Asian Americans in relation to Asia; the transnational activities of Asian governments and quasi-governmental institutions in U.S. communities; the impact of bilateral relations on Asian
Americans; the attempts by Asian Americans to influence the relations between the United States and Asia; and the influence of international processes and policies dealing with the flow of people, capital, goods, and ideas on Asian American politics.
In turn, Soysal argues that the relationship between international migrants and nation-states has undergone a recent transformation, deeply influenced by a shift in the global discourse and models of citizenship. What has emerged in regions such as Western Europe is a new model of membership which she calls "postnational," and which is characterized by the extension to noncitizens of rights that in earlier times were exclusively reserved for citizens. Moreover, she justifies this emerging model of incorporation by arguing that international migrants, such as the Turks in Germany, exercise in their daily praxis a membership "that is multiple in the sense of spanning local, regional, and global identities, and which accommodates intersecting complexes of rights, duties, and loyalties."
By continuing to rely on the dominant approach to the study of Mexican immigrants, scholars remain unable to understand in a satisfactory manner issues as fundamental as the meaning of naturalization to Mexican immigrants in the United States or the group's preferences for Mexican political parties and presidential candidates. This leads us to a situation in which we are unable to explain how the individual and collective identities of Mexican transnational migrants are transformed by their participation in a process of migration that simultaneously links them with two distinct societies and their powerful national cultural myths, including the notions of the Raza Cosmica and the melting pot.
It is time to reconceptualize the Mexican immigrant political experience. I offer an alternative interpretation influenced by works such as Nakanishi's and Soysal's: the interpretation of Mexican immigrants as citizens of a binational system, with rights and responsibilities in the two republics to which they are linked by historical accident, social networks, and/or economic necessity.
Employing this approach would improve our current understanding of the migrants' relationship with both the sending and receiving nations. As Nakanishi and Soysal suggest, approaches which limit their scope to the established territorial boundary of a single nation are ill-suited for social groups with a transnational character. The migration process links Mexicans to (at least) two national economies, societies, and political systems. This reality may imply playing distinct roles in the two nations to which they are connected. For example, an individual migrant may hold a position of relative privilege in one society and a subordinate one in the second. Their character as transnational migrants may lead them to hold parallel identities/roles and contribute to the emergence of a binational or postnational consciousness.
Historically, Mexican immigrants have had low rates of naturalization in the United States, thereby making electoral politics a matter of secondary importance. While post-Proposition 187 reports indicate that the number of Mexican immigrant applications for naturalization has increased, it is not clear if this is a conjunctural phenomenon or a long-term trend. After all, the continuing economic crisis in Mexico has made the return to the home nation less attractive to individuals and families who may have originally intended to migrate temporarily. Needless to say, it is also unknown yet if the increased naturalization is mostly a response to the fear of denial of public services to non-citizens in the future, an actual desire to participate in the electoral process, a strategy of migrants to facilitate the legal migration of family members, or a combination of factors. In any event, for the purposes of this essay, I also argue that the political experiences of Mexican immigrants are better understood by adopting an expansive notion of politics in order to incorporate both electoral and non-electoral interests, concerns, and activities.
Similarly, the utilization of the concept of citizenship in the proposed approach is not intended to be limited to the legal definitions that center on the process of naturalization. Rather, I prefer to emphasize a definition that can link immigration to the discourse on democracy in nations as distinct as the United States and Mexico. Despite the existence of differences in the definitions of citizenship and democracy in the relevant literature, it is widely assumed democracies can only exist if the members of the polities have the power and means for effective participation in the transformation of their world. I do not believe that at present Mexican immigrants enjoy full citizenship in the United States or Mexico.
The issue would not be significant if the group in question consisted of a handful of individuals. However, Mexican immigrants number in the millions and their importance to the two nations grows as the process of economic integration proceeds with the approval and implementation of accords such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. If this is the case, what kinds of democracies are we creating in the two countries if present trends point toward the increasing exclusion of international migrants? Does it matter to the United States and Mexico what Mexican immigrants think or do?
A Collective Autobiography
Social groups excluded from national political systems eventually find ways of expressing their views and interests. One of the channels worth considering is popular culture. In the case of Mexican immigrants, we find that popular songs serve as an important outlet for individual and collective
expressions. The topics of these expressions may range from the expected references to love and scorn commonly requested by callers to commercial radio stations to the more serious attempts at social commentary which rarely receive air time in an entertainment-oriented industry.
Nevertheless, it is precisely within this context that the work of commercially successful groups such as Los Tigres del Norte needs to be examined. Contributions by other scholars help us to understand the value of popular songs. For example, in his pioneer works on Mexican immigration, anthropologist Manuel Gamio considered the songs of Mexican immigrants "a sort of collective autobiography." According to the researcher, undeniably influenced by the male-centered approach to migration studies at the time of his research, the songs provide information "on his likes and his dislikes, his hopes and his disappointments."
This discussion of Mexican immigrant interpretations of race relations in the United States follows this tradition by analyzing the songs of Los Tigres del Norte, one of the best known norteño groups in the United States and Mexico. The collective autobiographical approach proposed by Gamio is valuable for three basic reasons: the group members are Mexican immigrants who reside in California's Silicon Valley; they have developed a musical trajectory characterized until recently by a consistent production of immigration-related songs; and a majority of these were composed by Enrique Franco, also a Mexican immigrant living in Silicon Valley.
The site of residence of the group members and Enrique Franco is significant for another reason. As the most important center of high technology research and development in the world, Silicon Valley plays a symbolic role in the national imagination; it is the one location in the nation which best represents the mythical American pioneer spirit. In the national consciousness, Silicon Valley is perceived as the future, the region in which Americans push forward the contemporary frontiers of technology and capitalism. President Clinton's frequent visits to the region and his laudatory remarks about the achievements of the area's high technology scientists and entrepreneurs reinforces such an assessment.
Moreover, corroborating views of local residents are reflected in their public comments. A local executive who once held public office confirms the existence of such views when he highlights in a nationally distributed advertisement for the city of San Jose the qualities he considers unique to the region:
What to us seems normal, starting new businesses, creating community projects . . . , taking risks, exploring new ways to do things, don't happen in many places. . . . We don't appreciate this until we go to other parts of the country where such approaches are not prevalent. In some parts of the country, if one leaves a strong, established company to go it on his own, he is considered some
kind of maverick. Here, if you don't leave a strong, established company to start your own business, people wonder if you've got what it takes.
In turn, an executive of an international firm combines social Darwinism and inspiration drawn from Hollywood films to assert: "Silicon Valley is the Wild West of private enterprise. . . . It's survival of the fittest." In such a highly competitive society ruled by information-age cowboys and gunfighters, there is little room or tolerance for the weak, for the losers in this battleground of postindustrial capitalism.
The success of the high technology economy in Silicon Valley also influences the local political system, as well as the governing style and agendas of elected officials. According to the advertisement: "The same kind of innovation that characterizes Silicon Valley business management also applies to government. Public officials say they too have to be lean, creative and competitive."
In this vision of Silicon Valley, market efficiency becomes more precious than democracy, and citizens are replaced by consumers, elected leaders by political entrepreneurs. Since Mexicans, native and foreign born, cannot compete successfully in the labor or political markets because they are presumed to lack a competitive spirit or other essential qualities possessed by William Hewlett, David Packard, and other high technology pioneers, one can surmise that the local hegemonic culture can only consider them losers in this competition for social supremacy.
To some social sectors, Mexicans also constitute an undesirable element. A November 1992 letter to the editor published in the San Jose Mercury News expresses these sentiments.
The No. 1 issue bothering me in this election year is immigration. The voter pamphlet I received in Spanish was the last straw.
I am confronted on a daily basis with the nightmare that has become my beloved California. Our state's population grew from 23 million to 30 million from 1980 to 1990! . . .
Solutions: no new immigrants, unless they can prove they have a skill we need; much more intense work with Mexico and other countries on illegal immigration; beefed up border patrols; a scouring and subsequent booting-out of all illegal aliens; better interdiction of illegals as they enter the country.
You can call me a racist, call me whatever you want. But I am tired of seeing my beloved state and country having certain areas (including the Bay Area) overrun with immigrants. The environment can't take the added people, nor can the economy, the schools, the government, the cities or taxpayers. I don't feel that I or other long time citizens should have to put up with this nightmare.
The existence of these views raises the question I wish to address in the rest of this essay: How do Mexican immigrants, in this case Los Tigres del
Norte and Enrique Franco, interpret their experience in this Wild West of private enterprise?
Before initiating my analysis, however, a clarification is in order.
The American West does not exist only in the collective consciousness of this country. It is also present in the imagination of people in other nations. For example, there are many manifestations of what is now the American West in the Mexican national consciousness. Two are rather easy to recognize. One is el territorio perdido, the unknown but much celebrated portion of the national territory lost through an unjust war to the aggressive forces driven by Manifest Destiny. And thanks to the Spanish-language versions of Hollywood films and Madison Avenue publications, the American West is also el viejo oeste, a site inhabited by fictitious blond-haired, blue-eyed cowboys, valiantly creating a society of law, order, and progress amidst the instability fomented by war-mongering, uncivilized pieles rojas ("red skins") and wicked outlaws.
A third conception of the American West exists and is now profoundly rooted in Mexican society. It is el norte, the temporary or permanent destination for millions of Mexicans who have been forced to cross the northern border into the United States, at times searching for political stability and refuge, but generally seeking better economic opportunities than those found in the nation of origin, la patria.
These and other visions are not necessarily exclusive of each other. They may co-exist and reinforce each other under the proper circumstances. For example, a child belonging to a family with a long history of international migration might learn about the "lost territory" in school textbooks, fantasize about the "Old West" while reading vaquero comic books or watching reruns of Bonanza on Mexican television, and imagine other features of the foreign land while hearing accounts of life in California from migrant relatives, friends, or neighbors.
Frontera, Frontera Internacional
In the songs of Los Tigres it is apparent that, despite the relatively familiar nature of el norte, Mexicans experience a disturbing encounter with social injustice upon arrival at la frontera, the international border shared by Mexico and the United States. In fact, the reality of the border begins to define the immigrants' relationship to the United States. According to the songs of Los Tigres, at this gateway there is no Statue of Liberty welcoming Mexican immigrants, only a border guarded by the hated migra (Immigration and Naturalization Service). To Mexicans intent on crossing into this country, the
border represents an artificial sociopolitical trench which divides human beings along national and racial lines; it must be defied, whether to seek work, unify the family, or carry out other activities, including the smuggling of contraband.
Many Tigres del Norte songs focus on this space in which social and political frontiers coexist. In fact, the group members owe their rise in popularity to a mid-seventies recording, "Contrabando y Traición," a love and drug smuggling corrido (ballad) featuring the adventures of Emilio Varela and Camelia la texana, two fictional characters who are now as deeply ingrained in Mexican popular culture as the fabled corrido figures Juan Charrasqueado, Gabino Barrera, Simon Blanco, Valentina, Adelita, and Rosita Alvírez.
The principal virtue of Los Tigres del Norte is that in the years following their commercial success based on drug smuggling corridos they managed to distinguish themselves from competitors by recording dozens of songs that directly explored distinct aspects of the Mexican immigrant experience. This was most successfully carried out during the phase of their career when they established an artistic partnership with Enrique Franco. When Los Tigres and Franco joined forces in the late seventies and he became the group's principal composer, the content of the group's songs shifted from drug smuggling and crime to a direction characterized by an exceptional social awareness mirroring the concern of Mexican immigrants with the often hostile immigration debate that was engulfing the nation. The character of the songs and their accelerated production and commercialization during the first years of the decade of the eighties reflected in a unique manner the increasing anxieties found among Mexicans in the United States, particularly as the dates for the approval and implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 approached. A clear pattern emerged in the artistic production of Los Tigres, linking the immigrant experience, specifically the concerns over immigration policies, and the thematic evolution of their songs.
By the mid-eighties, Los Tigres had already established themselves as exceptional articulators of the Mexican immigrant experience, with dozens of serious, insightful, and predominantly denunciatory songs on U.S. immigration policy. In this collective autobiography composed of largely original compositions, one finds a consistent defense of Mexican immigrants. The songs criticize the imposition of political borders which divide Mexicans and other peoples, espouse Latin American and universal brotherhood, and celebrate the Mexican racial miscegenation known as mestizaje.
From a broader perspective, the songs may be considered surprisingly consistent with the ideology of revolutionary nationalism that has prevailed in Mexico during the post-revolutionary era. As Roger Bartra has indicated, it is an official ideology which has been imposed on Mexican society by the
state-party system first created by Plutarco Elias Calles in 1929. It is an ideology that is also espoused and transmitted to the Mexican masses on a daily basis by Televisa, the media conglomerate which had a virtual monopoly over Mexican television for decades. Fonovisa, the group's recording label since the mid-eighties, is affiliated with Televisa. Thus, it is possible to argue that the artistic work of Los Tigres del Norte is simultaneously conventional, within the Mexican cultural discourse, and oppositional, or at least denunciatory, with respect to the United States. In the case of Los Tigres, popular music reproduces the dual roles individuals play once they begin participation in the process of transnational migration.
An important quality of the songs recorded by Los Tigres del Norte during the decade of the eighties is their refreshing and innovative approach to issues which are linked to a historical phenomenon a century old. An awareness of this context is essential to appreciate the significance of the songs. They are fully understood only if one associates them with the migratory experiences of the composer, musicians, and a consumer market which exists on both sides of the international border.
An extraordinary exposition of these ideas is presented in "Frontera Internacional," a melancholic appeal directed at the international border itself by a Mexican who lost a brother in an attempt to cross into the United States. The individual returns to the scene of the tragedy, driven by the same forces which have perpetuated migration from the traditional sending regions of Mexico. This time, he intends to cross the river with his loved woman, notwithstanding the potential risks involved.
"Frontera Internacional" informs us of the social repercussions of successful and unsuccessful migration, acknowledges the economic origins of this process, calls attention to the unfair social divisions found by Mexicans in the United States, and affirms the need for the receiving society to consider more tolerant and humane immigration policies.
In the songs of Los Tigres one finds danger permeating the border region. As reports by human rights organizations repeatedly indicate, death is not an entirely unfamiliar occurrence at the border. It can be the result of an accident, an inability to swim, suffocation in a sealed railroad car, a robbery or rape, a high-speed automobile persecution, or the aggression of a U.S. border patrol agent.
As expected, Los Tigres have captured the essence of this dangerous passage into the unknown in another song in which la frontera becomes "La Tumba del Mojado." This composition is a first-person account of the difficulties associated with border crossing, subsequent persecutions and arrest, and the national-origin-based discrimination experienced by Mexicans without documents.
The initiation of conflictive relations with U.S. authorities begins as soon as la frontera internacional is crossed and the immigrants encounter the gatekeepers of a nation which may offer economic opportunities but is nevertheless perceived as unfair and discriminatory. This is illustrated in an eloquent manner in "Los Hijos de Hernández," a composition which examines and describes a confrontation between a legal immigrant and a border official. The conflict is the consequence of anti-Mexican remarks made by the official while inspecting the Mexican's immigration documents. Charges that Mexican immigrants steal jobs from American citizens, an accusation frequently made by contemporary politicians, intellectuals, and nativist groups, does not go unanswered. The immigration official is startled to see "the Other" talking back, transmitting in a heartfelt and reasoned manner the ire Mexicans feel upon hearing offensive statements.
In "Los Hijos de Hernández" the common immigrant assumes a position of power and moral authority, based on the use of reason, to chastise the official for holding prejudicial views against Mexicans. The representative of the State is criticized by the apparently passive Mexican for dismissing the immigrants' economic and social contributions to the United States, and for not acknowledging the many military sacrifices generations of Mexican Americans have made on behalf of this country. A common immigrant questions the lack of respect for others like himself as well as their U.S.-born youth who, ignoring prejudice and discrimination, take up arms to defend their country, serve courageously, and even lose their lives or remain missing in action.
Despite the conflictive nature of the song, reason finally prevails at the end with the repentance of the authority figure, the recognition of legal permission to enter American territory, and the validation of the male immigrant's once questioned manhood. Vindication is achieved with the change in attitude of the authority figure.
"Sin Fronteras" reaffirms pride in the Mexican's national origin, way of life, cultural values, male world view, and mestizo heritage. However, it de-
parts from other Mexican nationalist songs in a number of ways. In particular, it offers an interpretation of the immigrant identity that embraces the universality of life and liberty. The immigrant experience is compared to the life of an eagle in order to impress upon the audience the natural origin of freedom and the artificiality of earthly divisions.
Such expressions of universal ideals placed Los Tigres del Norte at a considerable distance from their competitors in Mexican popular music. Their uncommon exploration of these themes is found in works such as "Tres Veces Mojado," a well received composition that extends the scope of the group's subject matter (and potential market) by presenting a song dealing with Central American migration to the United States. This extension of the collective autobiography is the account of a Salvadoran who flees the violence and poverty of his country, crosses three international borders with respective rivers, and encounters hardships in the three foreign countries (Guatemala, Mexico, the United States) before obtaining legalization in this country and achieving a satisfying lifestyle that more than makes up for the suffering previously undergone.
In two other recordings, "América" and "El Sueño de Bolívar," composed by Franco, Los Tigres present songs which further examine identity terms that become particularly relevant to a Mexican only when the international border is crossed into the United States. "América" manifests a strong attachment to the migrant's Latin American heritage. It defies conventional wisdom in the United States by seeking to reappropriate a term, "American," which this country has sought to monopolize.
In turn, "El Sueño de Bolívar" appears to adopt a more conformist, perhaps assimilationist, position by suggesting that liberator Simón Bolívar's nineteenth-century dream of a united America could be materializing, of all places, in the United States, due to migration and the development of ties between the different national origin groups established here. Moreover, it calls for the acceptance of the "Hispanic" identity label, a term generally preferred by the more conservative sectors of the Mexican origin community and repudiated by others who view it as a governmental and corporate imposition. In an interview, Franco declared the song was primarily an
idealistic call for unity among the Latin Americans who immigrate to the United States.
Franco has also indicated the most important song produced during his association with Los Tigres del Norte was "Jaula de Oro." This 1985 song was released in an interesting historical period: at the height of the restrictionist anti-immigrant debate which culminated in the approval of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. "Jaula de Oro" presents the plight of an undocumented immigrant parent, alienated from society at large, haunted by the fear of persecution by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and growing increasingly detached from children undergoing a process of socialization which makes them ashamed of their Mexican heritage. To individuals such as the principal character of the song, the United States constitutes a gold cage; salvation, as well as the restoration of his humanity, can only be obtained in the idealized home country. The land of the mythical American dream has become dystopia. The song has a predictable but nevertheless disturbing climax, as the U.S.-raised child refuses to return to Mexico and leaves the parent in a state of despair and frustration.
And They Keep Going . . . and Coming
The growing success of Los Tigres during the eighties led to an increased involvement in the Mexican movie industry. In the decade of the seventies the corridos recorded by the group were exploited and utilized as the basis of a thriving border film industry. In some of the films the musicians even appeared in minor roles performing their songs. By the mid-eighties they made a substantial jump to the level of stars and producers. The first film they co-produced was a cinematic version of "Jaula de Oro."
The film version differs from the song because it has a happy ending. The final moments of the film consists of two interchanging events: one consists of the father figure, played by well known Mexican actor Fernando Almada, who drives from Los Angeles to the Mexican border in the company of a young son; the second is that of Los Tigres del Norte, in the role of older children, who are performing at a dance-concert organized to raise funds for the legal defense of undocumented immigrants.
One of the group members pauses during the performance to inform the audience of his parent's departure and express support for the father's decision. The singer then proceeds to dedicate a potpourri of Mexican nationalist songs to his father and others like him.
The final image is that of the smiling father arriving at the border. As the credits roll and the film ends, a still image presents a border sign reading "Mexico" while Los Tigres play "Que Bonita Es Mi Tierra." The film ends with the immigrant's return to the homeland. Yet, the cam-
era ignores the Mexicans crossing la frontera in the opposite direction, leaving behind a nation that fails to provide them with an acceptable living standard.
A decade later, a different camera did capture the northward flow of Mexicans across the same border checkpoint. California Governor Pete Wilson's reelection campaign utilized video images of undocumented Mexicans running past la frontera and across a freeway to influence public opinion in support of the anti-immigrant measures known as Proposition 187. The successful initiative denies education, health, and other public services to undocumented immigrants in the state. In the much televised political advertisement, a narrator's divisive message warns the predominantly Europeanorigin, conservative, and middle class electorate of Mexican immigrant hordes invading the state and the nation: "They keep coming."
To Governor Wilson, and the political forces who support measures such as Proposition 187 in the NAFTA era of liberalized transnational flow of goods and capital, "they" not only do not belong in California, but their presence and activities undermine national integrity, the rule of law, and the democratic political system.
Then again, even the Pete Wilson family has had the need to hire a good, cheap, and undocumented Mexican immigrant maid.
Selected Tigres del Norte Recordings
Unidos Para Siempre. Musivisa TUR/1672, 1996.
El Ejemplo. Fonovisa SDCD-6030, 1995.
Los Dos Plebes. Fonovisa SDCD-60 17, 1994.
La Garra de . . . Fonovisa FPCD-9085, 1993.
Con Sentimientoy Sabor. Fonovisa FPCD-9044, 1992.
Incansables. Fonovisa FPL-90 13, 1991.
Para Adoloridos. Fonovisa FPL-9001, 1990.
Triunfo Solido. Musivisa KMUPR-8002, 1989.
Corridos Prohibidos. Fonovisa FPL-8815, 1989.
16 Superexitos. Fonovisa MPCD-5084, 1988.
Idolos del Pueblo. Fonovisa FPL-8800, 1988.
Gracias! . . . América . . . Sin Fronteras. Profono PRL-90499, 1986.
El Otro México. Profono MPC-5043, 1985.
Jaula de Oro. Emi Capitol POP-849, 1985.
16 Grandes Exitos. Profono TPL-90379.
Carrera Contra la Muerte. Profono MPC-5034, 1984.
Internacionalmente Norteños. Profono MPC-5003, 1984.
Exitos Para Siempre. Fama 624, 1983.
Un Día a la Vez. Fama 607, 1981.
En la Plaza Garibaldi. Fama 594, 1980.
El Tahur. Fama 577, 1979.
Número Ocho. Fama 564, 1978.
Vivan los Mojados. Fama 554, 1977. Also Profono PRL-90398, 1984.
Pueblo Querido. Fama 538.
La Banda del Carro Rojo. Fama 536. Also Profono PRL-90396, 1984.
Contrabando y Traición. Fama 528.
Sí, Sí, Sí/Chayo Chaires. Fama 519.
Sufro Porque Te Quiero/La Cochicuina. Fama 516.
Juana la Traicionera/PorAmor a Mis Hijos. Fama 507.