Mexican rockers Maná have enjoyed a career spanning three decades and have been referred to as the most influential Spanish rock band ever, with worldwide sales in excess of 25 million albums.
The group was formed in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1975 by vocalist José Fernando “Fher” Olvera, guitarist Gustavo Orozco, and brothers Ulises (guitar), Abraham (drums) and Juán (bass) Calleros. They played covers by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Police and others, first calling themselves the Spies of the Green Hat. They quickly shortened the name to Green Hat before adopting the Spanish-language version, Sombrero Verde.
Debut album Sombrero Verde appeared in 1981, followed in 1983 by A Tiempo de Rock, after which drummer Alex González replaced Abraham Calleros. Orozco left in 1986, after which Olvera decided to form a new group merging rock, pop and Latin styles. He essentially reformed the band under a different name—Maná—enlisting González and Ulises and Juan Calleros. The group signed to Polygram in 1987 and released third album Maná, but soon left the label for Warner Music México. 1989 fourth album Falta Amor contained the group’s first hit single, “Rayando el Sol.”
Founding member Ulises Calleros exchanged guitar duties for managerial duties in 1991, after which two new members joined, guitarist César López and keyboard player Iván González. Subsequent 1992 album ¿Dónde Jugarán Los Niños? was a milestone in the history of the group and the history of Spanish rock music, staying on Billboard’s Latin American album sales chart for just under two years.
Maná embarked on a massive and massively successful world tour in 1993, playing 268 concerts in more than 17 nations. Lopez and Iván González left the band mid-tour in April 1994; replaced for the remainder of the tour by keyboardist Juan Toribio and original guitarist Orozco. These shows resulted in the group’s first live album, Maná en Vivo (1994).
After the tour, the remaining trio of Olvera, Alex González and Juan Calleros auditioned more than 80 guitarists before they decided on Sergio Vallín; resulting in the classic Maná lineup that endures today. 1995 album Cuando los Ángeles Lloran won the group its first Grammy nomination; the world tour for the album stretched well beyond mid-1996.
Sueños Líquidos (1997) debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot Latin 50 chart and preceded the group’s most ambitious world tour. It also earned the group its first Grammy award (Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album) in early 1999. Maná toured with Carlos Santana later that year and released ninth album Maná MTV Unplugged.
Greatest hits compilation Todo Maná: Grandes Exitos appeared in 2000, followed in 2001 by second live album Unidos Por La Paz, three-disc box set Lo Essential de Maná and second compilation Grandes Maná. Original studio work continued with Revolución de Amor (2002; Latin Grammy for Best Rock Album by a Duo or Group).
The group opted for a yearlong rest in late 2003; issuing only compilation album Esenciales (in three versions, Sol, Luna and Eclipse) and December 2004 concert DVD Acceso Total.
In summer 2006, nearly half a decade after Revolución de Amor, seventh studio album Amar es Combatir was released, once again racking up high sales and much acclaim (including another Latin Grammy), and followed by yet another massive world tour. 2008’s Arde El Cielo, the band’s third live album, documented the tour. Eighth studio album Drama y Luz was released in April 2011.