This story was inspired by a friend's question of "who exactly shot who at the Copacabana." My answer was so detailed that I decided the whole story needed to be told. This is that story. I never thought I'd cite Barry Manilow as an influence but here we are...
Her name was Lola.
Oh and she was a sexy thing. She wore yellow feathers in her hair and a really short dress. The boys did love her. Around that time, the manager decided to hire this guy named Tony as bartender. He could help dispense drinks as well as keep an eye on things. He was in essence hired muscle.
Every night she'd dance and dance. Merengue and Cha-cha were her specialties. Tony immediately fell in love with her and she with him. Everything was perfect. Who could ask for more?
Then they met Rico.
Rico was quite the bad-ass. And he had money…..well at least enough money to wear a diamond pinky ring. He thought that he could have anything he wanted, and as soon as he entered that bar, he wanted Lola. After Lola's show he called her over to his table. Lola knew he was some sort of mover and shaker and thought maybe he could get her career in motion. Unfortunately, he had other things on his mind. Rico went a bit too far. And that's when Tony stepped in.
In no less than two seconds, Tony jumped over the bar and with a perfect landing, stood right in front of Rico. There was a scuffle, blood, and a single gunshot.
And that's when things get hazy.
The bar was full that night, but accounts are all different. So just who shot who exactly?
It took a while, but I finally found reports of eyewitness accounts. And what did I find? Conflicting stories. I ended up with three different scenarios.
Scenario#1: Rico shot Tony
Scenario #2: Tony shot Rico
Scenario#3: It was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
In my attempts to research and reconstruct the scene, I had to go to a little place north of Havana. To the Copacabana Bar and Grill to be exact. For a while it was a disco, but after disco died, the restaurant became known throughout Havana as THE PLACE to get good chicken wings.
I walked over to the salad bar (where the stage once was) and tried to figure out where each eyewitness was, and what their story was. Turns out that everyone that was in the area of the plasma screen tv saw Tony go down right after the gunshot. In addition, everyone that was in the area of the t-shirt sales counter heard a gunshot and saw Rico go down.
So, I hired experts from, okay so I spent all my money on wings and beer so I just ended up asking some guys at the bar what they thought. And, in their professional (albeit drunk) opinion, they agree on one thing: both men went down. There was a single gunshot. Therefore, the guns went off simultaneously. And both were shot.
However, this does not account for the third scenario: It was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. One eyewitness claims that it happened like this:
"Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass kicked in the door, shot the place up, killed Rico and Tony, and stole all the cash out of the bar cash register, all the while playing "Spanish Flea" and never missing a beat."
This account was provided by Jorge Juarez, leader of Jorge Juarez and the Acapulco Woodwinds., long-time rival of Herb Alpert. Mr. Juarez is the only person that has implicated Mr. Alpert and his band. And one must not overlook the bitter feud between the two bandleaders that started just weeks after the release of Alpert's "Whipped Cream and Other Delights," which coincided with the release date of Juarez' "Cool Whip and Additional Treats."
I have since turned my paperwork in to the Cuban government. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass are wanted for questioning and may be brought up on criminal charges for murder and possible robbery.
Copyright Tina Leach