Rico Suave

Album: Mo Ritmo (1991)
Charted: 7
Play Video


  • In this song, Gerardo (last name: Mejia) plays the "Latin Lover," a very arrogant guy who juggles two or three women at a time, shows up hours late for dates, and splits when he doesn't like her mother's food. It's a character: Gerardo has also been a successful actor and record executive. His movie credits include Colors and the Songfacts favorite "Can't Buy Me Love." As a record executive with EMI, he helped sign Enrique Iglesias in 1998.
  • Roughly translated, "Rico Suave" means "Tasty and Smooth." Since the title also sounds like a name, many people thought Rico Suave was the name of the singer. This became a joke on MTV, as comedian Paulie Shore would refer to Gerardo as "Rico."
  • This was the first pop hit sung in "Spanglish," a combination of Spanish and English. In later years, as Latin dance music became more popular, artists like Ricky Martin often crossed languages with their songs.
  • Gerardo followed this up with "We Want The Funk," which is based on the Parliament song "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)." It made a respectable showing, reaching #16 in the US. His next single, "When the Lights Go Out," reached #98, his last chart appearance.
  • Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of this called "Taco Grande," which describes a visit to a Mexican restaurant and features a short Spanish monologue by the comedian Cheech Marin. The parody was re-recorded by Tim Buppert for the Disney film Ratatouille: What's Cooking?.
  • Gerardo's real-life father played his girlfriend's father in the video. (Thanks to Ed Pearce for his help with this. Ed is author of Food for Thought: Extraordinary Little Chronicles of the World, where you can learn that Mexican food was popularized in the US by a Los Angeles restaurant: the El Cholo Spanish cafe which opened at 1121 South Western Avenue in a courtyard with a mission-style fountain in 1930. The Proprietress Rosa Borquez's menu included food such as enchiladas and tacos. Another popular item they sold was the burrito, meaning literally "little burro or donkey," which originated south of Los Angeles.)

Comments: 6

  • Jorges from Oaxaca, MexicoI remember 2 singers - guys mentioned in the news and media like the new sensation: Gerardo and Ricky Martin (in their different and each time). Gerardo was mentioned like "one kid dancing and singing winning prizes in southamerica is gaining popularity". There were rummors Madonna wanted "date" with Gerardo and this one rejected her. Once he said in interview "sometimes I dislike meet or go out to joyride with my girlfriend because she is so pretty and we receive some bothering comments".
  • Fausto from Quito, Ecuadoryou might don't know this, gerardo is from ecuador he's still doing music but only for God and stuff he's a christian now, so he stop singing songs like rico suave , but is still a hit
  • Travis from Grandisland, Fl(Sam from Philly) Dude your tottaly wrong lead singer for the New York Dolls was David Johansen who was the step father to Liv Tyler(Steven's daughter) and Busterpoindexter.

    Francv your wrong too because the lead singer for the minuteman was D. Boon(RIP)

    Check you facts guys!
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhHow can you confuse the lead singer of the New York Dolls, with Gerardo? lol
  • Francv from Chicago, Ilthe guy who played gerardo was the lead singer of the 80's punk band the minutemen and just did it to get money
  • Sam from Philadelphia, Pathe guy who played gerardo was the lead singer of the 70's punk band the new york dolls and just did it to get money
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Steve Morse of Deep Purple

Steve Morse of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple's guitarist since 1994, Steve talks about writing songs with the band and how he puts his own spin on "Smoke On The Water."

Rick Astley

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.

Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger

Kelly Keagy of Night RangerSongwriter Interviews

Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger tells the "Sister Christian" story and explains why he started sweating when he saw it in Boogie Nights.

Janet Jackson

Janet JacksonFact or Fiction

Was Janet secretly married at 18? Did she gain 60 pounds for a movie role that went to Mariah Carey? See what you know about Ms. Jackson.

Female Singers Of The 90s

Female Singers Of The 90sMusic Quiz

The ladies who ruled the '90s in this quiz.

Dr. John

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.