Today’s Doodle celebrates the 70th birthday of Argentine singer, composer, guitarist, and poet Luis Alberto Spinetta. Also known as El Flaco (“Skinny”), he is often regarded as the father of Spanish-language rock and roll and a Latin American music icon. The Doodle artwork features the color green as an homage to Spinetta’s iconic and irregularly-shaped album cover of Artaud, as well as his famous red and white guitar.
Born on this day in Buenos Aires in 1950, Spinetta learned how to play guitar and sing at a young age. He continued to develop his musical skills, and at age 17 Spinetta formed one of the most influential rock bands in Argentine history, named Almendra, with two of his former high school classmates. Almendra’s self-titled debut studio album revolutionized the genre as the first band to combine Spanish-language lyrics with progressive rock.
During the 1970s and 80s, Spinetta formed and led several impactful bands that inspired the international “Rock en Español” movement, including Pescado Rabioso, Invisible, and Spinetta Jade. In addition to these group projects, he released over twenty albums as a solo artist. In 2016, his latest record Los Amigo won one of the highest honors in Argentinian music, the Gold Gardel Album of the Year award.
His music struck a major chord throughout the world and continues to impact listeners to this day. For instance, in April 2019 it inspired University of Buenos Aires informatics engineer Alex Ingberg to create an artificial intelligence program to generate song lyrics in Spinetta’s style. And in 2014, in honor of Spinetta’s birthday, Argentina moved Día Nacional del Músico (National Musician’s Day) from November to January 23rd.
¡Feliz cumpleaños, Flaco!
Early sketches and drafts of the Doodle
Trying combinations of atmosphere, color and representations of Luis Alberto Spinetta, while integrating the Google logo. This concept focused on showing Spinetta around his 30s playing his iconic guitar, with a larger portrait displayed through an LED scenic projection.
Refining the shapes of the light source and Spinetta, adding some gray tones to explore emphasizing various elements, and adding other details.
Exploring a less stylized and abstract concept depicting a closer-up and more detailed version of Spinetta, with the Google logo in lights in the back.
Cleaning up the confirmed concept, adjusting Spinetta’s pose to appear more natural, and using a green color palette to refer to one of his most iconic albums.
Switching between different software programs in order to get the right textures and movements, in order to add a bit of movement to the LED screen. Playing a sequence of portraits with distortions at 24 frames a second creates the illusion of movement suggesting a projection.