In the early '70s, the Ghetto Brothers brokered peace between Bronx gangs and then recorded Power - Fuerza, a record that testifies to the uplifting power of pop—and of The Beatles.
It's a common thing to say that a piece of music tells a story, but most music doesn't, and doesn't need to—if you don't believe me, try recounting the plot of "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Music invariably contains stories, though: Every note that's ever been played came from a certain person in a certain place at a certain time, and no matter how far a song or album travels or how many millions of copies it sells, it almost always starts with someone (or more often a group of someones), somewhere, in a room.
In the summer of 1972 members of a Puerto Rican-American South Bronx street gang called the Ghetto Brothers entered a Manhattan recording studio and recorded eight songs in an afternoon. The resulting album, entitled Power - Fuerza, didn't sell a million copies or even a tiny fraction of that, but its story is one of the best in all of rock and roll.
It goes something like this. By the late 1960s the longstanding gang or "club" culture of the Bronx was teetering on crisis, as drugs, violent crime and other symptoms of urban blight had pushed the always-precarious co-existence of the borough's street factions to the brink of war. The Ghetto Brothers were among the most powerful of these sets, and in 1971 the gang's leadership—most notably vice president Benjy Melendez—attempted to reverse the tide of violence through an unprecedented commitment to peace, one that reached its culmination on December 8, 1971, when representatives from well over 20 gangs gathered at the Bronx Boys Club to hammer out a now-legendary borough-wide peace treaty.