Lana Del Rio

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Not to be confused with Latin singer and actress Yolanda del Rio, the vocalist Lana Del Rio was based out of New York City in the '50s. Although one of her producers was Joe Davis, she was a member of…
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Not to be confused with Latin singer and actress Yolanda del Rio, the vocalist Lana Del Rio was based out of New York City in the '50s. Although one of her producers was Joe Davis, she was a member of a group called the Del Rio Sisters that Davis recorded early in that decade, none of whom were named

Del Rio. (They weren't supposed to have been real sisters, either.) Lana Del Rio spent two days in early 1959 recording under Davis' guidance in the old Mastertone recording facility on 42nd Street in Manhattan. The result was Para Hombres, supposedly the first full-length album of risqué, sexually oriented songs sung completely in Spanish. As a result, Del Rio -- like some of the other female talent involved with Davis -- became embroiled in legal proceedings.

This was an era when the popular notion of so-called "party records" was at odds with rigid standards of decency. A collector whose descent into the bottom end of the used record pile results in a copy of a Lana Del Rio album may assume that the attractive lady posing on the cover is the singer, but this is not the case. Wearing only high heels and a gaucho hat and covering up certain features with a fan, the unidentified model actually revealed a bit less than ladies on earlier Davis productions, such as the For Men Only album by singer Faye Richmonde. A violinist named Paula Ushan had posed for that picture, leading to court proceedings in which a rabbi was even brought to the witness stand to condemn the content of the record. Because of the controversy, the Del Rio recordings actually enjoyed a long stretch of distribution and promotion, continuing to be hyped as hot stuff in the trade publications of the mid-'60s.