Argentine musician Gustavo Cerati giving his last concert, May 15, 2010, in Caracas, Venezuela, before going into a coma.
Credit: Leo Ramirez

If you want to get a room full of rock aficionados in Latin America rocking, put this on: “Cuando pase el temblor” (When the earthquake ends), from Soda Stereo’s 1985 album “Nada personal” (Nothing personal).

Its lead singer, Gustavo Cerati, died Thursday, and many fans are mourning him deeply.

They’ve actually been missing him since 2010, when he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma after his show in Venezuela.

Cerati helped define the way cool music sounds in Spanish. 

His unique sound is deeply Latino in its way. But it’s not Miami Sound Machine. Put away your maracas.

If anything, his music nods to the artier pop that weird-haired youngsters were obsessing over in the United States and the United Kingdom throughout the 1980s. There are synth sounds. And the chords and melodic lines often pivot unpredictably.

Think less Santana, more The Cure or The Police.

(Someone even made a music mashup blending Cerati and The Cure.)

Cerati formed the band Soda Stereo in the early ’80s, when Argentina’s dictatorship was checking out and the country was licking its wounds from the Falklands War against Britain.

Their songs and his solo work won various Latin Grammys and MTV awards, and captivated a vast Spanish-speaking world.

Billboard magazine reported Soda Stereo sold 17 million albums before breaking up in 1997.

“[The group] pioneered the idea of touring throughout Latin America. It became the first true pan-Latin rock en espanol band,” wrote Judy Cantor-Navas, managing editor of Billboard’s Spanish edition.

Check out this well-crafted compilation the adoring fans at The Tico Times in Costa Rica put together in his honor.

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