Little Julian Herrera
Talk to a musician, a record collector, or a fan of East LA music of the 50s and 60s, and before long they’ll bring up Little Julian Herrera. He’s a mysterious and legendary part of East LA’s musical history. He was the first Chicano R&B heartthrob, until one day he just disappeared. Some say he’s still alive out there somewhere, and they’re looking for him.
Little Julian Herrera at the Calypso Inn,
a photo taken by vibes player Gil Rocha
But that’s just the beginning of the mystery of Little Julian. He turned up on the streets of Boyle Heights as a teenager, the facts of his past and childhood largely unknown. Then, throughout his brief career, he kept a big secret. There are so many unanswered questions that it’s kept some people curious about him for over 50 years.
Little Julian under arrest
Produced by Alex Schmidt
Banner image: Little Julian Herrera at the Calypso Inn, a photo taken by vibes player Gil Rocha
Alex Schmidt has produced media for NPR, The New Yorker Magazine, Marketplace, The Los Angeles Times and many others. Before moving back home to L.A., she worked as a staff reporter at WHYY in Philadelphia covering arts. She is inspired by all things Los Angeles, most things infrastructure, and some things tech.