Rafael F. Callejo, co-founder of Tam Tam Go!  and co-author of ‘Espaldas mojadas’ or ‘Manuel Raquel’

Rafael F. Callejo, co-founder of Tam Tam Go! and co-author of ‘Espaldas mojadas’ or ‘Manuel Raquel’

Rafael F Callejo co founder of Tam Tam Go and co author

Last Tuesday night, Nacho and Javier Campillo sang a cappella Blackbird by the Beatles at the Madrid funeral home. It was in honor of his former groupmate Rafa Fernández Callejo, with whom they starred in 1987’s Tam Tam Go! founded one of the most personal and relevant bands of Spanish pop in the late 80’s and 90’s. “It was a spontaneous action. The atmosphere was logically very serious and sad, his wife and relatives were devastated, and my brother and I chose this song because it was the first thing Rafa taught me. In fact, he was the one who taught me how to play the guitar. It was a miracle,” Nacho Campillo, spokesperson and leader of Tam Tam Go! Rafa F. Callejo (Badajoz, 1957) died at the age of 65 in Madrid, where he lived, as a result of bilateral pneumonia. Rafa was the founder of the group with the Campillo brothers and Javier Ortiz and co-author of classics such as Espadas mojadas or Manuel Raquel. He left the band in 1993 after participating in the first four albums, which were most appreciated by the fans.

Campillo recalls meeting Callejo: “It was in Badajoz when I was a teenager. When I started I played bass and Rafa taught me to play guitar. It was an out of series. He knew all the Beatles songs. He took them out easily because he had a lot of talent.” They formed several groups, one called Tramp, with which they did covers, with the Beatles as the main source. Those were the days of playing festivals in towns in Extremadura, where the locals had a custom of “throwing the musicians into the pylon” at the end of the show. “You can’t tell how cold it was in there,” says Campillo.

In 1987 they formed Tam Tam Go!, another group in the barrage of Spanish pop-rock bands. Elegant, with a Latin touch, good instrumentalists, intelligent lyrics and a compact vocal structure. They triumphed. They got on the long summer tour train, they played in Los 40 Principales, they experienced the good times of the music industry to the fullest, when the impact of digital listening platforms was not anticipated. Callejo was the most introverted, a notable instrumentalist who preferred traveling through his inner world to socializing.

In 1993 and after years of grueling touring and with the band’s popularity declining, the group takes a hiatus and Callejo decides to distance himself. “There was a lot of wear and tear and some inconsistencies. Rafa wanted to sing and I already had an agreement to release a solo album,” says Campillo. The guitarist never returned to the band. He moved away from the first line of the music world and devoted himself to his studies in pharmacy. He was a high school teacher and later worked as a pharmacist.

“He has played occasionally, albeit without a professional spirit. We saw each other occasionally, but I hadn’t seen him for ten years before we found out about his death. It was a hard blow,” says the singer. Javier Campillo wrote on his Facebook: “Dear Rafa, Blessed is the time we have spent together. Your hands were a gift from Tam Tam Go! own style full of personality. We are devastated… rest in peace.”

Tam tam, go! They are still active with the Campillo brothers at the helm. This year 2022 they released the album After 30 and tomorrow, Friday August 19th, they will perform in Colmenar Viejo, Madrid. There, they proclaim, they will remember their partner. They will play Blackbird in his honor, the song that began his story.

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