Alejandro Escovedo, 2001

Is the song "Wave" about any particular immigrant or group of immigrants?

The song refers to immigrants traveling on a train. How does the music imitate the sound of a train?

What does the song suggest is common to the experience of immigration, regardless of from where people emigrate? How are immigrants different from each other?

Why do the immigrants in the song leave their homes? What do they expect to find somewhere else?

How does what the immigrants find when they arrive in their new home differ from what they had expected?

Who are the ones with "golden hair"?

"Wave" performed by Alejandro Escovedo on A Man Under the Influence, © 2001. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube

For more information about Alejandro Escovedo, visit his official website.

Rights have not been secured to reprint the words for this song. Please consult the following online resource for lyrics:


The son of a mariachi musician who immigrated to the United States from Mexico, Alejandro Escovedo was born in 1951 in San Antonio, Texas. Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, he loved English rock and roll, especially the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and he also listened to country and western artists like Gene Autry. In his early twenties he learned to play guitar, and his first band was a San Francisco-based punk band called the Nuns, which opened for the punk icons the Sex Pistols at their last show in 1978. He has been in numerous other bands throughout his career, including the Rank and File.

Escovedo has always been proud of his Mexican heritage, but he never wanted to be defined by his culture. However, when he began releasing albums he found that they were not categorized as rock, but were instead be labeled Latin, Mexican, or World Beat, primarily based on his name and not the sound of his music.

Alejandro EscovedoThe song "Wave" was released on his 2001 album, A Man Under the Influence. It tells the story of departing emigrants as they say goodbye, or "wave," to their family and home. The first three verses describe the emigrants leaving. The line "the sun shines brighter there" reflects the hope for a better life. In verse four, they have arrived in the United States, and the line "the sun's not brighter here" reflects the hard reality of their new lives.

In 2002, "Wave" became part of a collaborative project between Escovedo and the Los Angeles-based theater group About Productions. The resulting theater piece, By the Hand of the Father, follows the life of Mexican men born in the early part of the twentieth century. Escovedo viewed the theater work and accompanying album, By the Hand of the Father, as a way to pay tribute to his father and share his immigration story.

The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande



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