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Saturday, July 2, 2011


Pictured above the Rhythm Rockers are (left to right): Bill McClure, Martin Cruz, Rick Rillera, Richard Berry, Barry Rillera, Bill King, Louie Pacheco, Modesto Pomm De Leon and Manuel Acosta.

The Rhythm Rockers were formed in 1955 by Barry & Rick Rillera in Santa Ana, California. They were first influenced by the blues but turned their attention to the R&B scene after listening to local disc jockey, Hunter Hancock. They also listened to Chico Sesma's radio program and as a result added Latin jazz to their repertoire. They were also influenced by the Armenta Brothers, Sal Chico and Bobby Rey.

  The band played mostly in Santa Ana & East LA but soon found themselves playing in front of black audiences in South Central.

  The band was also influenced by Rene Touzet who's song "El Loco Cha Cha" formed the basis of band member Richard Berry's "Louie Louie"

  Later, Bill Medley of Righteous Brothers fame started coming around. Medley was impressed by cover versions of Don & Dewey songs the band was doing. The Righteous Brothers would record two Don & Dewey songs, "Koko Joe" & "Justine"
  Rick & Barry Rillera would later back the Righteous Brothers on "My Babe" and "Little Latin Lupe Lu".

Rick, Barry & younger brother, Butch would later back Dick Dale on "Miserlou"
  In the 1990's the Rillera Brothers would perform at the Hop, a chain of rock & roll nostalgia clubs owned by Medley & fellow Righteous Brother, Bobby Hatfield.


Solely for historical, educational & listening pleasure.


  1. That's Saul Pacheco (sax) next to Bill King, then Louie Leos next to Bill. Moe (sax) was next then Manuel...

  2. Great stuff. The Rillera Bros. are true heroes. Still in touch w/Butch. Huge influence on our OC band "Cruisin' for Burgers"
    Will follow.

  3. In addition to trumpet, Louie Leos could al”play Fender bass very well.