"Jimmy Sabater remembers the night he kept coaxing his bandleader Joe Cuba to play a new number he had in mind. It was 1966 at the Palm Gardens Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, and the house was packed. "It was a black dance", Jimmy recalls, "de morenos, morenos americanos de Harlem and stuff, you know, they had black dances one night a week there and at some of the other spots. So that night we were playing selections from our new album, We Must Be Doing Something Right, that had just come out, the one with `El Pito’ on it, you know, `I’ll never go back to Georgia, never go back...’ The place was packed, but when we were playing all those mambos and cha chas, nobody was dancing.
So at the end of the first set, I went over to Joe Cuba and said,
"look, Sonny (that’s his nickname), I have an idea for a tune that I think might get them up".
And Joe says,
"no, no, no, we got to keep on playing the charts from the new album".
Then toward the end of the second set, I went on begging him, and said,
"look, if I’m wrong, we’ll stop and I’ll buy you a double".
So finally he said o.k., and I went over to the piano and told Nick Jimenez, play this... Before I even got back to the timbal, the people were out on the floor, going `bi-bi, hah ! bi-bi, hah !’ I mean mobbed !" As Joe Cuba himself recalls, "suddenly the audience began to dance side-to-side like a wave-type dance, and began to chantchant and dance" 'she-free, she-free' sort of like an African tribal.
The new tune by the Joe Cuba Sextet was "Bang Bang".
Within weeks, it was recorded and released as a single which soon hit the national Billboard charts and stayed there for ten weeks, one of the few Latin recordings ever to reach that level of commercial success. It even outdid "El Pito," which the year before had also made the charts, and the album on which "Bang Bang" appeared, Wanted : Dead or Alive, was a huge hit as well. It was the heyday of Latin boogaloo, and Joe Cuba’s band was at the height of its popularity"
("Cha Cha With A Backbeat: Songs and Stories of Latin Boogaloo" - JUAN FLORES)