Most of Los Prisioneros' song lyrics have substantial social critiques, which made them popular as Chile was under Pinochet's military dictatorship in the 1980s. In terms of musical development in Chile, Los Prisioneros marked the beginning of a new era by leaving behind folk-inspired music that emerged with Víctor Jara and Violeta Parra in the 1960s. Los Prisioneros' legacy has been recognised by bands such as Glup!, Javiera y Los Imposibles, Lucybell, Los Tetas and La Ley, who together made the tribute album Tributo a Los Prisioneros.
Their albums were completely re-released in remastered Compact Disc format in the early 1990s, once Chile was no longer under a military regime. Throughout the 1990s, their music spread out, reaching all of South and Central America as well as some parts of the United States, Canada and Europe.
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