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Joe Bataan

Biography

Afro-Filipino Joe Bataan was the premier Latin Soul performer of the 1970s Salsa scene. Raised in New York's Spanish Harlem, Bataan began singing Doo-Wop on streetcorners in the '50s before a prison stint, during which he taught himself piano. He first hit the Latin charts in 1967 with "Gypsy Woman" and "Subway Joe." Merging R&B with Salsa, he can be credited for introducing the double-time handclap break -- something that later became a standard Disco technique. Bataan's 1972 release St. Latin's Day Massacre, a huge hit with low riders, remains a masterpiece to this day, and his following release (Salsoul) mixed Funk with Latin rhythms to huge, influential success. His last hit, 1979's "Rap-O, Clap-O," is credited as the first rap hit in parts of Europe. He later claimed he was simply mixing elements of the music he heard and loved, but ultimately he was blazing a trail many would follow. Humorous, street-savvy, and possessed of a natural voice, Joe Bataan's music foretold the future.

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