A year ago the remembered one passed away Gerardo Manuel, the beloved musician, producer and host of Disco Club, the legendary musical program that preceded MTV and it allowed Peruvians to meet the biggest foreign rock groups of the moment, but it also promoted national bands.
The space, a pioneer in putting video clips, was broadcast for the first time in June 1978 on the screens of RTP Channel 7, and was immediately a success among the youth of that time. Initially it was only broadcast on Saturdays at 7 pm, but before the acceptance, in November of that same year, the channel’s directors decided to put it on every day.
Is that the musician not only played video clips of rock and pop bands, he also commented on productions and many times had national rockers as guests. Other times, not being able to get the videos, he himself would put together a production with stock images. In his program we could appreciate the “Live Wire” de Ac/Dc, “Goodnight Tonight” de Paul McCartney & Wings o “Another Brick on the Wall” de Pink Floyd, but also to Michael Jackson with his hits ‘Beat it’, ‘Thriler’ or ‘Bad’. O Devo, B-52, Billy Idol, Spandau Ballet, Billy Joel and many more.
Even millions of Peruvians found out about the death of the mythical John Lennon in 1980 at Disco Club. That day Gerardo Manuel dedicated the program entirely to remembering the famous member of The Beatles. And the program of tribute to the English musician achieved the highest audience peak in the history of Peruvian television on December 8, 1980 with 43.5 audience index points.
SIGHT: Goodbye, Gerardo Manuel
Disco Club was the pioneer program in terms of the use of chroma and the broadcasting of video clips worldwide. It came out 3 years before MTV, was on the air 18 years and stopped airing in 1995. However, it continued on the radio.
Before the program, it was said that Channel 7 had a ‘cold antenna’, since only ‘Combate’, an American war series, and the remembered ‘Ultrasiete’ and ‘Ultramán’, which came from Japan, were seen.
Many still remember the intro of the space with the song “Goodnight Tonight” by Paul McCartney & Wings, which has never moved in the 18 years on Channel 7. The space then aired on cable.
Gerardo Manuel stated in those years that the cost of the program was 200 thousand soles at the time, that is, about $ 700 at the exchange rate. Very cheap because it had almost no scenery and the videos were given by record companies or sent by friends abroad.
WHO WAS GERARDO MANUEL?
But who was the driver that made this space possible? The son of a sailor, his father took his family to live in Ica. It was in that city that Gerado Manuel hosted the radio program Surf Beat 63. Then he formed a group with some friends where he played the saxophone and drums. The group performed twist songs and appeared on stations in that city such as Radio Independencia, Radio Constelación and Radio Carolina.
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In 1964 he returned to Lima and entered the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Every week he appeared in the Sergio show that was held in the auditorium of the Cine Imperio, an emblematic venue located in block 2 of Avenida Tacna. There they presented Paul Anka, Chubby Checker y Bill Haley on his visits to Lima.
Alllí met Tito Andía, Javier Román, Walter Bolarte and Fernando Bolarte with whom he would found Los Doltons. They came to record the song “El rey de los tablistas” with the composition by Gerardo Manuel dedicated to Felipe Pomar, tabla champion.
At the end of 1965, he was invited as a soloist to the program La escala al triunfo, where he sang the songs “I saw it stop there” and “I love it,” then Enrique Ego-Aguirre (Pico’s representative and father) invited him to join the group. The Shain’s and he accepted, leaving the Doltons. With Los Shain’s he was from 1965 to 1968 he recorded four studio albums and participated in the Mexican film Las sicodélicas.
After the separation of Los Shain’s at the end of 1968, he formed the group The (St. Thomas) Pepper Smelter that was active during 1969 and then Gerardo Manuel and El Humo between 1970 and 1973.
In 2010 he suffered a stroke that almost cost him his life, however he managed to recover, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s contracture. That same year, recovering his state of health, he broadcasts the Disco Club program on Radio Nacional del Peru daily.
On July 4, 2020, around 2 in the afternoon, his death was reported due to Parkinson’s disease that he had suffered for more than ten years.
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