In 1984, Menudo had a lengthy news story on 20/20 where Barbara Walters and Geraldo Rivera told the world about the group and one of the quotes from the interview stated that Menudo could be BIGGER than The Beatles. Now, I know a ton of people might disagree with this but honestly… Could Menudo have been bigger than The Beatles? This is something to think about.
Menudo began in 1977 and ended in 1997; that is 20 years of musical history. While the group’s popularity went on a rollercoaster ride over the years what remains is simple: 20 years of music. The Beatles only have 10 years of musical history. The Beatles had 12 albums to their name and Menudo? 37 (if you don’t count MDO and later). So Menudo had 3 times has many albums as The Beatles in double the life span.
One of the things that stuck out in the 20/20 news story was their praise of Edgardo Diaz being a marketing miracle and how they needed to bring him into a marketing seminar to teach others how to do what he did. Yes, He took 5 boys from a little island of Puerto Rico and turned them into a world phenomenon and you wonder how this group is NOT bigger than the Beatles.
Don’t put praise on Edgardo Diaz too fast. Honestly, if any of this information is incorrect then I will edit this story with a correction BUT… Edgardo Diaz was seriously one of the dumbest owners around. WHY? Because he no longer owns or has any control over his legacy.
Before the group’s deal with RCA, Edgardo Diaz was in total control releasing albums in various countries under smaller indie labels. He was sitting pretty because he could release what he wanted and when he wanted. This was perfect for the early 80’s because fans could have such unique items making “memorabilia” in abundance. Once RCA took over for about 3 years and 11 albums around the world, for the most part, all the music was still written by Edgardo’s team of writers. So any smart business man would have saved all the rights for his production company Padosa.
When RCA dropped Menudo due to lack of sales, Edgardo took the boys to Mexico and worked a deal with Melody Records who could handle the international demand on a smaller scale. At the same time, Edgardo entered a horrible deal with McGinnis to market the band in the US, the one place Melody Records didn’t go. Both of these ideas were bad in the sense that Edgardo lost control over the music and the rights to the songs. Control was all over the place and Edgardo seemed like he was giving away his legacy.
More trouble seemed to follow as Edgardo, probably hungry for money and trying to keep his “concept” alive, sold the rights to everything including the name. Why would you do that? I would rather have held on to that more than anything. A smart business man would not have done that.
Now, as the music industry is changing; Menudo is left in a state of nothingness because there are so many people involved that a true catalog of the group’s legacy can never be formed. Older music from Padosa Records (the first 8 albums) seems to belong to no one. RCA, who owns everything from “Quiero Ser” to 1986 “Menudo” in Portuguese seem to only want to release compilations of the same 20 songs. Melody Records in Mexico has yet to re-issue any of that music, maybe because of the name being sold. And McGinnis is trying to milk half-ass official bootlegs of his little piece of the pie.
If Edgardo had held on to everything he did with the group, I bet we would be seeing Menudo everywhere, especially with all the reunions over the years. A full catalog could have been remastered and think about 37 albums on the market now versus The Beatles’ 12. All the fans who grew up on Menudo are adults now and they all want to relive their childhoods and expose their children to what they grew up on. So, yes… it is possible Menudo could have been BIGGER than the Beatles-yet Menudo’s mastermind messed that up completely.