Los Lobos released an independent EP in the late 1970s, and a second EP in 1983. Their first major label critically acclaimed release was 1984's T-Bone Burnett produced, How Will the Wolf Survive?. In the years that followed, Los Lobos released a followup album entitled By the Light of the Moon, and an album of traditional Mexican music entitled La Pistola y el Corazón. It was also at that time that they recorded some Ritchie Valens covers for the soundtrack to the film La Bamba, including the title track which became a number one single for the band.
On the band's 20 year anniversary, they released a two CD collection of singles, out-takes, live recordings and hits entitled Just Another Band From East L.A.
In 1995, Los Lobos released the children's record Papa's Dream on Music for Little People Records. The band also scored the film Desperado and contributed tracks to several other soundtracks and tribute albums.
In 1996, the band released Colossal Head. In spite of the fact that the album was critically acclaimed, Warner Brothers decided to drop the band from their roster. Los Lobos spent the next few years on side projects.
In 2002, the band released their Mammoth Records debut, Good Morning Aztlan.
Band members include David Hidalgo, Steve Berlin, Conrad Lozano, Cesar Rosas, and Louie Pérez.
On the night of October 23, 1999, while the band was on tour, Sandra Rosas, wife of Cesar Rosas, was kidnapped from her house and she was never found again. Gabriel Gomez was accused and sentenced for her kidnapping and murder.