Wednesday, 2 September 2015

1969 Chico Viola Awards XII

1. País tropical                                                  Wilson Simonal           Odeon 
2. Aquele abraço                                               Gilberto Gil                 Philips
3. Sentado à beira do caminho                         Erasmo Carlos            RGE
4. A namorada que sonhei                                Nilton Cesar                RCA
5. F... comme femme                                         Adamo                        Odeon

6. Sou louca por você                                       Elizabeth                     Caravelle
7. Tudo passará                                                Nelson Ned                 Copacabana
8. O pequeno burguês                                      Martinho da Vila           RCA
9. Adeus, ingrata                                               Claudio Fontana          Copacabana 
10. Eu disse adeus                                            Roberto Carlos            CBS

11. Férias na India                                              Nilton Cesar                 RCA
12. Uma lagrima (Una lacrima)                           Paulo Henrique           RCA
13. Deixa-me outro dia, menos hoje                   Agnaldo Timoteo         Odeon 
14. O vagabundo (Il giramondo)                         Os Incriveis                  RCA 
15. Será?                                                            Marcos Roberto           Continental

16. Se eu pudesse conversar com Deus             Antonio Marcos            RCA
17. Aqueles tempos (Those were the days)        Joelma                         Chantecler 
18. Aqui                                                                Martinha                      Copacabana
19. Casa de bamba                                             Jair Rodrigues              Philips
20. Murmura o mar (Bruit des vagues)                 Altemar Dutra              Odeon

21. Não fico mais sem teu carinho                       Antonio Marcos             RCA
22. Distante dos olhos (Lontano dagli occhi)       Moacyr Franco              Copacabana
23. Vou pedir outra vez                                        Paulo Sergio                 Caravelle
24. O amor é tudo (Love is all)                             Agnaldo Rayol              Copacabana
25. Se ela voltar                                                   Wanderley Cardoso      Copacabana 

26. Tão belo era outrora (Memories are made of this)  Roberto Barreiros  Chantecler

14 March 1970 - Things had been changing (for the worse) steadily but surely since the April 1964 military putsch. Most of the Brazilian press that wholeheartedly embraced the coup d'etait 6 years earlier were now having 2nd thoughts about their folly in helping to oust a representative democracy and take a jump into the darkness of totalitarianism that no one knew where it would stop if stop it woud at all. 

TV Record knew it was losing ground rapidly to Rio de Janeiro's TV Globo the darling of the regime. TV Excelsior which had been the #1 TV station prior to the coup was about to die, TV Tupi was just 'hanging there'. Brazil was fast going from a democracy (since 1946) into a one-party-state and now a one-TV-network-country. 

Just before Christmas 1969 the military had turned even more sanguinary and introduced total censorship of the press through infamous AI-5 (Act #5). Many people saw no other way out by leaving the country. Singer Gilberto Gil who was forced to leave the country and seek asylum in London, England afer having been kidnapped by a para-military group had the 2nd best selling single in 1969 with 'Aquele abraço' - the song he ironically wrote to say 'good-bye' to Brazilians before leaving the country.

Geraldo Vandré's 'Caminhando' was banned by the Junta and TV Record would not hear of including it in the Chico Viola's list of best selling 1969 records.

1970 would be the year that the Dictatorship would 'consolidate' its power due to the popularity of the Brazilian football team at the World Cup in Mexico.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Chico Viola Awards

 Chico Viola Award trophy.

In 1959, São Paulo's TV Record, Channel 7 created an Award to be given to two-dozen of the best-selling single records of the previous year. United Broadcasters' Employee Association [AFEU] would meet at the first week of the new year to choose those records or acts that had been the most popular.

The award would be called 'Chico Viola' to honour Francisco Alves who had been the most popular Brazilian male singer in the 1930s and 1940s having died in an automobile crash 7 years before, in 1952. Alves was still revered in the nation by the late 1950s even though he is completely forgotten nowadays, differently from Carmen Miranda in the US or Carlos Gardel in Argentina.

Francisco Alves AKA Chico Viola sings & plays his guitar on top of São Paulo City, Brazil.

These Chico Viola Awards stattuets soon became a covetous goal of those singers and musicians who excelled during the year. Here are a few lists of Chico Violas given out from 1958 to 1965.

I still intend to cover 1966, 1967 and 1968.

Cine Rio, seen here playing 1950's 'Asphalt Jungle' ('O segredo das joias'), gave way to the new Teatro Record on Rua da Consolação, 2008 opened in January 1959 for the first Chico Viola Awards ceremony.

Why stop in 1968?

Maybe because by that year's end Brazil was victim of a second military coup that shut down Congress. It was a coup within the coup since Brazilians already lived under a military dictatorship since April 1964.

In 1968 Brazil was thrown into a dark period that lasted the whole of the 1970s. The era is also called the Lead Years.

This is what it felt like being awarded a Chico Viola trophy in the 1960s.

Top of the world, Ma!

This is the top of Sao Paulo State Bank, the tallest building in Brazil's largest city - as seen in a photo shot in 1954. 

1958 Chico Viola Awards I

Maysa was actually spelt with a Y; Nelson Gonçalves, Morgana and Ângela Maria, the biggest radio & TV stars in Brazil in 1958.

This is the list of 1958's best selling singles:

1. Chega de saudade                          João Gilberto                          Odeon
2. Interesseira                                      Anísio Silva                            Odeon
3. Eu não existo sem você                   Sylvia Telles                           Odeon
4. Marcha dos campeões do mundo   Oswaldo Rodrigues                Odeon
5. Bom dia, café                                   J.Catarino e sua Banda          Odeon
6. Torero                                               Renato Carosone                   Odeon                              

7. Diana                                                Carlos Gonzaga                       RCA
8. Escultura                                           Nelson Gonçalves                   RCA
9. Nôno mandamento                           Cauby Peixoto                         RCA
10. Divino Espirito Santo                      Torrinha & Canhotinho             RCA

11. Love me forever                               The Playings                           RGE
12. Meu mundo caiu                              Maysa                                     RGE
13. Da banda de lá                                Dupla Ouro & Prata                 RGE

14. Sereno                                             Paulo Molin                             Mocambo
15. Ay cosita linda                                  Carlos Argentino                     Seecco-Mocambo
16. Cachito                                             Doris & Rossie                        Mocambo
17. Serenata do adeus                          Morgana                                 Copacabana
18. Lampeão de gas                             Inezita Barroso                        Copacabana

19. Tequila                                             Sylvio Mazzucca                      Columbia
20. Cabecinha no ombro                       Alcides Gerardi                        Columbia

21. Minha mágoa                                  Cascatinha & Inhana               Todamérica
22. My special angel                             Nilza Miranda                           Chantecler
23. Nel blu dipinto di blu                        Domenico Modugno                 Sinter

Saturday, 17 January 1959 at 9:00 PM Teatro Record was inaugurated. It was a TV Record's newest auditorium on Rua da Consolação, in São Paulo, Brazil

1. Odeon [6]
2. RCA [4]
3. RGE [3]
4. Mocambo [3]
5. Copacabana [2]
6. Columbia [2]
7. Todamérica, Chantecler, Sinter [1]

N.B.: 'Torero' was performed at the night of the Awards by band-leader Hector Lagna Fieta.
'Cachito' was performed at the night of the Awards by singer Renato de Oliveira.
'Nel blu dipinto di blu' was performed at the night of the Awards by singer Helio Paiva.

João Gilberto with his guitar and his wife Astrud in the background.

The first year of what would become a prestigious award was the very introduction of ‘Chega de saudade’ that later would become the first Bossa Nova song.  João Gilberto's single shot to number one in the charts after it ‘caught up’ especially in São Paulo where it was plugged on the radio by DJ Walter Silva in his popular show ‘Pick up do Pica Pau’ [Woody Pecker’s pick up].

Sylvia Telles & her husband Candinho at Copacabana in 1955.

Talking about bossa nova Sylvia Telles who was fast becoming BN’s number one female singer sold enough of Tom Jobim’s ‘Eu não existo sem você’ (I don’t exist withou you) to earn a Chico Viola on the stage of Teatro Record.

Antonio Carlos Jobim AKA Tom Jobim as one-third of Bossa Nova's inventors.

Apart from the appearance of soft-voiced singer João Gilberto, 1958 was a common year with its share of boleros and mellow-sambas [samba-canções].  An Italian song went all the way up to the top with ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu’ [Volare] like everywhere in the globe.

Soft-rock also called rock-ballads as Brazilian Nilza Maria’s ‘My special angel’ kept on popping here and there, both in English or in Brazilian translations also known as ‘versions’ like ‘Diana’ done by Carlos Gonzaga who outgunned ‘Diana’s original singer song-writer Paul Anka.

Peroxide blonde Morgana takes plaintive ‘Serenata do Adeus’ [Adieu’s serenade] to number one and receives the horable Chico Viola prophy.

As Brazil was Football’s World Champions in 1958 up there in Sweden, record companies relased a batch of songs praising the event. Here we have ‘Marcha dos Campeões do Mundo’ [World Champion’s March] performed by Oswaldo Rodrigues, released by Odeon.

Standing from left to right: Djalma Santos, Zito, Bellini, Nílton Santos, Orlando & Gilmar;  in front: Garrincha, Didi, Pelé, Vavá, Zagallo and masseur Mário Américo. Brazil beat Sweden 5 x 2.
Pelé breaks down and cries on Gilmar's shoulders after the victory.
The King of Sweden greets Pelé - being looked at by Zico & Zagalo.

Rural Brazilian music was also represented in ‘Divino Espirito Santo’ [Divine Holy Ghost] with duo Torrinho & Canhotinho released by RCA that had a respectable stable of rural music acts in their roster and also Cascatinha & Inhana’s ‘Minha mágoa’

Cascatinha & Inhana's gorgeous smiles...

This year we have seen folk music [musica folclórica] with Inezita Barroso singing ‘Lampeão de gaz’ [Gas lamp post] a tune about urban São Paulo in the late eighteen hundreds.

Latin american rhythms were hot this year with ‘Tequila’ done by Brazilian Sylvio Mazzucca’s big band and ‘Ay, cosita linda’ with Carlos Argentino.

Carlos Argentino aka Israel Vitenszteim Vurum born in Buenos Aires in 1929. 

No doubt Odeon’s Anisio Silva was number one bolero singer for a couple of years and took ‘Interesseira’ [you're fulll of desguise to cheat me...] what an awful title. He complains publicly about her being a no good SOB and thinks only about herself.

In the novelty category we had duo Dupla Ouro e Prata’s ‘Da banda de lá’, a composite quasi-country humourous tune. Both Miguel Angelo Roggieri and Oswaldo Cruz sang and played the guitar. Roggieri was also a songwriter. 

Dupla Ouro & Prata sang tongue-in-cheek.

Serious sexual-desire-followed-by-extreme-guit is well represented in Cauby Peixoto’s ‘Nono Mandamento’ [Ninth Commandment]. For those who don’t remember the complete set of  Moses’s Law it is: ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife'.   

Some of Brazilians biggest stars on a card album.

Nelson Gonçalves who had been RCA's top seller for a few years takes 'Escultura’  [Sculpture] to numer one. ‘Escultura’ is actually the dream-fantasy of a man who starts daydreaming about what he thinks is a perfect woman. He imagines her as pure as the Virgin Mary, as enigmatic as Giocanda, as sensual as Frinea, as glamorous as Du Barry, as noble as Madame Pompadour. In the end of the dream he comes right up to his current lover... which means he was a lucky man!

The best seller of the year is undoubtedly Alcides Gerardi's 'Encosta sua cabecinha no meu ombro' [Put your little head on my shoulder]. Mind you, even though the title is similar to Paul Anka's 'Put your head on my shoulder' it is an utterly different song. Anka's song would only appear in 1959 anyway. 

band leader Sylvio Mazzucca.
Nilza Maria proudly holds her Chico Viola for her 'My special angel' recording for Chantecler. I apologize for the size of the photo but I could not get a bigger one.
 Maysa receives her Chico Viola for 1958, according to Folha Press. 


1. Chega de saudade [Antonio Carlos Jobim-Vinícius de Moraes] – João Gilberto
2. Interesseira [Bidu Reis–Murilo Latini] –  Anísio Silva
3. Eu não existo sem você [Antonio Carlos Jobim-Vinicius de Moraes] – Sylvia Telles
4. Marcha dos campeões do mundo [Alfredo Borba] – Oswaldo Rodrigues
5. Bom dia, café [Victor Simon] – J.Catarino e sua Banda
6. Torero [Carosone-Nisa] – Renato Carosone

7. Diana [Paul Anka; v.: Fred Jorge] – Carlos Gonzaga
8. Escultura [Adelino Moreira-Nelson Gonçalves] – Nelson Gonçalves
9. Nôno mandamento [Raul Sampaio-René Bittencourt] – Cauby Peixoto
10. Divino Espirito Santo [Canhotinho-Torrinha-folk collected by Thalma de Oliveira] – Torrinha & Canhotinho

11. Love me forever [G. Lynes-B. Guthrie] – The Playings
12. Meu mundo caiu [Maysa]  – Maysa
13. Da banda de lá [Peteleco-Irvando Luiz] – Dupla Ouro & Prata

14. Sereno [Aloísio T. de Carvalho]  – Paulo Molin
15. Cachico [Consuelo Velasquez] – Doris & Rossie
16. Ay cosita linda [Pacho Galán] – Carlos Argentino

17. Serenata do adeus [Vinícius de Moraes] – Morgana
18. Lampeão de gas [Zica Bergami] – Inezita Barroso

19. Tequila [Daniel Flores] – Sylvio Mazzucca & Orquestra
20. Cabecinha no ombro [Paulo Borges] – Alcides Gerardi

21. Minha mágoa – Cascatinha & Inhana
22. My special angel [Jimmy Duncan]– Nilza Miranda
23. Nel blu dipinto di blu [Modugno-Migliacci] – Domenico Modugno

Meanwhile in Long Beach, California, U.S.A., Adalgisa Colombo, Miss Brasil 1958 was the secondo most beautiful woman in the Universe... oh! what a feeling!

  Miss Brazil 1958 - Adalgiza Colombo.
Miss USA 1958, Miss Universe 1958 Luz Marina Zuluaga & Miss Brazil 1958.

1959 Chico Viola Awards II

'Melodias' a music magazine tells all about the 1959 gala.

1. Estupido cupido [Stupid cupid]        Celly Campello                  Odeon
2. Quero beijar-te as mãos                  Anisio Silva                      Odeon
3. Hino ao amor [Hymn a l’amour]        Wilma Bentivegna             Odeon
4. A noite do meu bem                        Dolores Duran                  Copacabana
5. Oh Carol [Oh Carol]                         Carlos Gonzaga                RCA

6. Cinzas do passado                         Claudio de Barros              Chantecler
7. Jambalaya                                      Brenda Lee                       Decca
8. Ciclone                                          Carlos Nobre                     RCA
9. Balada triste                                   Agostinho dos Santos        RGE
10. E daí?                                          Isaurinha Garcia                Odeon

11. Deusa dos asfalto                        Nelson Gonçalves                RCA
12. A felicidade                                  João Gilberto                      Odeon
13. Bahiano burro nasce morto            Luiz Wanderley                   Chantecler
14. Donde estará mi vida?                   Joselito                               RCA
15. Recado                                         Maysa                               RGE

16. Petite fleur                                   Werner Müller & Orch.         Polydor
17. Lamento                                      Dorinha Freitas                    RGE
18. Ô diacho                                      Dupla Ouro & Prata             RGE
19. Meu tio  [Mon oncle]                     Conjunto Farroupilha            Columbia
20. Castigo                                        Roberto Luna                       RGE

21. Piove                                           Domenico Modugno             CBD
22. Você                                            Marina Barbosa                  Continental
23. Morrendo de amor                         Antonio Martins                   Todamérica

24. Harpa Paraguaya Vol.I - LP         Luis Bordon                        Chantecler    
25. Nat canta boleros - LP                 Nat King Cole                     Odeon          
26. Dolores Duran                                Melhor Letrista                   Copacabana
27. Fred Jorge                                     Melhor Versionista              Odeon
28. Maria Thereza Salem - melhor lançamento com LP "Mecha branca" Copacabana

1. Odeon [6]
2. RGE [5]
3. RCA [4]
4. Copacabana [3]
5. Chantecler [3]
6. Polydor, CBD, Columbia, Decca, Todamérica [1]

Celly Campello shot to the top!!!

1959 was the year the indigenous rock’n’roll came of age and took hold of the whole country led by teen-age new sensation Celly Campello who had a perfect pitch and usually made better recordings than the originals she was supposed to cover. Celly was a musical phenomenon! She came into the musical scene by sheer chance... for it was Tony Campello, her brother, who wanted to become famous. When he was to cut his first record for Odeon [EMI] he was asked if he knew a female singer who could record the B-side of his single ‘Forgive me’. He told them he had a younger sister who used to sing at children’s radio shows in his native Taubaté-SP. She was eventually brought in to record the B side, ‘Handsome boy’. Next time she was given Neil Sedaka’s ‘Stupid cupid’ to record in a Portuguese translation. That went all the way to number one almost instantly and made Celly the talk of the town. ‘Estúpido cupido’ was 1959’s biggest selling record and Celly’s legend never stopped growing until May 1962 when she decided to get married and leave it all behind.

Celly Campello not only sang but played tennis, guitar, piano and danced ballet too.

Rock singer Carlos Gonzaga of ‘Diana’-fame took Neil Sedaka’s ‘Oh Carol’ to number one. Gonzaga had been around for quite some time having recorded sambas and guaranias for RCA with moderate success. But when he recorded the Portuguese version of Paul Anka’s ‘Diana’ everything turned up for him and with ‘Oh Carol’ Carlos Gonzaga became definitely branded as a ‘teen-idol’ even though he was past his prime. RCA made an effort and photographed him in blue jeans and a red blazer to identify him with the rebel-without-cause-crowd and it seems it paid off. The only reason Carlos Gonzaga never became Brazilian ‘King of Rock’ is because he was Black.

Brenda Lee was the biggest sensation after Celly Campello. There were rumours among Brazilians that ‘Jambalaya’ was actually sung by Louis Armstrong and then played in a faster speed to give the impression it was a girl’s voice. Some DJs like Miguel Vaccaro Netto sullied their reputation declaring on the air [and in print] that ‘Brenda Lee did not really exist! It was just a hoax!’  They were all red-faced when the great petite Miss Dynamite visited Brazil in September 1959 having been received by President Juscelino Kubischek at the presidential palace and taken on a visit to Rio’s Zoo. Brenda was only 14 years old and wowed audiences who flocked to see her perform in São Paulo and Rio’s theatres, radio & TV. Young Miss Lee was banned from having night-club appearances due to her being under age. A phenomenal career that would still soar higher in her native USA.

Brenda Lee when she was still a country girl.

Look ma, no hands!!!

On October 24, 1959 a tragedy happens in Rio de Janeiro. Singer and song-writer Dolores Duran is found dead in her flat in Copacabana. She died of a massive heart attack and left ‘A noite do meu bem’ [The night of my love] a most beautiful ballad as a gift to all Brazilians. It was soon recorded by myriads of singers but went to number one in December with Dolores herself. It is ironic that Dolores’ only number one before that had been ‘Canção da volta’ in 1954. It took her death for her to be back on top at the number one spot once again.

Dolores Duran

Dolores Duran a few weeks before her untimely death.

Dolores Duran also received a ‘Chico Viola’ for her ‘song-writing abilities’ – a new ‘slot’ in the awards. On top of that, Roberto Luna who had recorded Duran’s ‘Castigo’ [Punishment] earlier in the year was also awarded a ‘Chico Viola’ for it. Luna was a singer with a strong voice who could compete with Nelson Gonçalves but never made it to the top maybe because he was allegedly a heavy drug user which meant marijuana and cocaine then.

Guarânia is a Paraguayan rhythm; a bit of bolero, ranchera and waltz that resembles Brazilian rural music a bit. Guarania is in the cusp of rural and urban music and has popular in the 50s and 60s.

Roberto Luna, Juca Chaves & Agostinho dos Santos.

Anisio Silva, the King of Boleros, this time released a guarania, ‘Quero beijar-te as mãos’ [I want to kiss your hands, my dearest one], that became his biggest hit ever. It has got such an infectious melody that it has been repeatedly recorded throughout the years.

Anisio Silva 

Antonio Martins’ ‘Morrendo de amor’ [Dying of love] a guarania written by Aluisio Ferreira Gomes [better known as Canarinho] and Maximino Parisi, was 1959’s second most popular guarânia and had the ‘honour’ of being the last hit by Todamérica, a popular label that was on the wane in the last days of the 1950s. As far as I know Todamérica didn’t even make the transition from 78 rpms to the 33 rpms vinyl singles that started being dominant from 1963 onwards.

Canarinho [Aluísio Ferreira Gomes] wrote 'Morrendo de amor'.

Talking about sexual-desire-followed-by-guilt, ‘Ciclone’ [Cyclone] was Carlos Nobre’s gift to the fans of this genre. Nobre compares his love life as that of a cyclone that hit him bad. He is invited to attend his former lover’s wedding. He gets to church early and describes in excrutiating details the self-inflicted suffering he goes through watching the bride march  towards the altar to pronounce the final ‘Yes’. Undoubtedly an exercise in sado-masochism which hit a nerve with the masses for it was a huge hit. Carlos Nobre had a strong baritone voice that reminded one of Nelson Gonçalves’s his role-model who also recorded for RCA.

Carlos Nobre being politically incorrect...

Nelson Gonçalves, the ‘original’, presented another tragedy in 1959. This time he sings about ‘Deusa do asfalto’ [Asphalt’s Goddess], the story of a dark-skinned young lady who lives in the slums up on a hill but secretly harbours feelings of a better life down in the ‘asphalt jungle’ which is euphemism for city life. She gets to know a well-off white man, falls in love with him and forgets she once lived in the backwoods. Well, good on her! At least she accomplished something. The whole story is told by the dark-skinned guy who is left behind. The tendency of the record-buying public was to execrate the heartless ‘bitch’ who snubbed the poor fellow. As one can see sado-masochism was high in the popular agenda in the 1950s.

Pelé's record collection had Agostinho dos Santos, Maysa & Nelson Gonçalves.  

Tangos had been popular in Brazil in the 30s and 40s but it had been in the doldrums for quite a while. Claudio de Barros, a new singer and accordion player with a new label – Chantecler’s only second year in the charts – brings us ‘Cinzas do passado’ [Ashes from the past] a tango he wrote and accompanied himself on his accordion. Chantecler was a mixture of rural sounds, a bit of Paraguayan music and a touch of samba for good measure.

Claudio de Barros plays his guitar for a select audience in a gym in São Paulo, 1959.  Kid Jofre wears a white shirt; his son Eder Jofre is kneeling. Claudio Tonelli Boxeur, Gibi, Luizão and Ralf Zumbano look amused.

DJ Walter Silva & Maysa.

Maysa and DJ Walter Silva, her own publicity man.

RGE was the other ‘independent’ label based in São Paulo. Actually RGE was bigger and a little older than Chantecler because it had been selling records consistently since 1956 when it released Maysa’s first 10” LP.

The Voice of Dorinha Freitas - reminded one of Dalva de Oliveira's.

 In 1959, RGE gave big strides with Agostinho dos Santos’s ‘Balada triste’ [Sad ballad] formerly of Polydor; their very own Maysa with ‘Recado’ [Message] and Dorinha Freitas, a high-pitched singer who obviously emulated Dalva de Oliveira’s voice with ‘Lamento’, a sambalanço [swinging samba] written by Luiz Antonio the same song-writer of Maysa’s ‘Recado’.

Agostinho dos Santos velvety voice was like paradise...

Agostinho in earlier times when he recorded for German Polydor.

In the ‘novelty’ realm, RGE and Dupla Ouro & Prata do it again with ‘Ô Diacho’ [What the hell!] another comic tune where they poke fun at their mother-in-law and other funny situations.

Dupla Ouro & Prata - Oswaldo Cruz & Miguel Angelo Roggieri.

Waldeck Artur de Macedo AKA Gordurinha * Salvador-BA 10 AUG 1922 + RJ-RJ 16 JAN 1969

1959 had another ‘novelty’ song, with ‘Bahiano burro nasce morto’ [A dumb Bahiano is still-born] performed by flamboyant Luiz Wanderley. In Brazil’s southern states – the most industrialized and richest in the country – there is racism and intolerance against people who migrate from the northeastern states which they dub universally as ‘Bahianos’. Bahianos are actually only those people hailing from Bahia state. In this particular song Gordurinha, a singer songwriter from that region says tongue-in-cheek that people from Bahia are actually very intelligent – giving many examples of local celebrities who were born in Bahia. He says he can prove Bahianos are all very smart... the only ‘dumb’ Bahiano would actually be still-born! Such a gruesome detail with such unpalatable theme became a ground-of-the-mill hit that would pop up any time on the radio to everyone’s chagrin. Elitism in the Brazilian upper classes has always been preeminent... this time it went way overboard. Gordurinha ended up poking fun at the Elite showing how ridiculous its racism is! Gordurinha’s record was better but Luiz Wanderley’s ended up getting more air-play and won the trophy.

Luiz Wanderley's biggest hit written by Gordurinha.

João Gilberto who happens to be a native of Bahia was actually the most sophisticated of all Brazilian singers proving in a warped way Gordurinha’s maxim: ‘Bahiano burro nasce morto’ or at least ‘Bahiano sofisticado é primeiro lugar’ [Sophisticated Bahiano is number one]. Gilberto earns his second ‘Chico Viola’ with the rendition of ‘A felicidade’ [Happiness] one of the themes from ‘Black Orpheus’, the French-produced film based on Vinicius de Moraes & Tom Jobim’s musical 'Orfeu da Conceição’, that was filmed that year and ended up winning the Cannes Film Festival and Hollywood’s Academy Awards as best picture. Bossa Nova started its foreign conquest through this French production.

While the French made films in Brazil and won multiple international awards, the Spanish actually packed all the main cinemas in Brazil with Joselito’s tear-jerkers like ‘Saeta’ in which he warbles ‘Donde estará mi vida?’ [Wherever is my life?] to the multitude’s enjoyment.  Joselito was a 12 year-old boy soprano from Andalucia, Spain, who became an overnight sensation in the Spanish-speaking world through his many technicolor films with thin plots and lots of flamenco songs and dances. A good opportunity for pedophiles around the world to swoop down on unsuspecting soprano boys who admired such a luminary as Joselito.

Joselito was everything I wanted to be when I was 9 years old.

The biggest instrumental hit of 1959 was the beautiful ‘Petite fleur’ with the Werner Müller Orchester. In the USA it was a hit by Chris Barber and his Jazz Band a British combo who recorded this French tune written in 1952 so marvelously. An avalanche of different versions were recorded everywhere and Polydor was fast enough to have German band-leader Werner Müller’s record released in Brazil before the others could... and it went all the way to number one. Such a beautiful clarinet solo, done here by Heinz Shönberger, could not go unnoticed!

German band-leader Werner Müller.

Edith Piaf’s ‘Hymn a l’amour’ [Hymn to Love] was covered in Brazil by tiny singer Wilma Bentivegna. Odayr Marzano, a radio-actor from a soap-opera radio station, did the translation and changed the bridge quite a bit. The result was not bad. Bentivegna sang her heart out and convinced the public that her rendition of ‘Hino ao amor’ was better than Morgana’s or everyone else’s... apart from the French original, naturally.

Wilma Bentivegna
Conjunto Farroupilha, a sophisticated vocal group made up of three guys and two dolls recorded ‘Meu tio’ [My uncle] main-theme from ‘Mon oncle’ a French movie made popular wordwide by comic Jacques Tati. The Farroupilhas had their own weekly show on TV Record where they not only sang folk and pop songs in the native tongue but also in English, German, French, Italian etc.  They were good actors and comics too.

Estrela D'Alva, Floriano Faissal, an unidentified radio speaker, Dionba, Inah & radio speaker Abelardo Barbosa aka Chacrinha. The ladies are members of Conjunto Farroupilha visiting a radio station in Rio de Janeiro.

Conjunto Farroupilha being as hip as can be.

Isaura Garcia, a songstress who had been around since the 1940s reaches the top with ‘E daí?’ [So what?] a samba written by Miguel Gustavo an advertising executive who dabbled in pop music too. It was recorded by myriads of people but Isaurinha’s version was the most popular. It ended up being Isaura’s swan song.

Italian Domenico Modugno who was a sensation in 1958 with ‘Volare’ AKA ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu’, now takes ‘Piove’ AKA ‘Ciao ciao bambina’ to the top. Modugno visits Brazil in  September 1959 and meets Marisa and Dolores Duran who would die a few weeks after that.

‘Você’ – Marina Barbosa

In 1958, ‘Chico Viola’ was awarded to the 23 best-selling recorded songs. Now in 1959, they introduced five new categories being: best vocal album, best instrumental album, best first album, best lyric-writer and best ‘versionist’ i.e. he who made the best translation or adaptation from a foreign tune into Brazilian Portuguese.

Paraguay's Luis Bordon & his harp.

Luis Bordon & his trophies. Chico Viola is the top right.

The best intrumental album award of 1959 went to Luis Bordon, a Paraguayan harp player who sold records by the thousands and put new label Chantecler on the map. Bordon usually recorded recent hits on his harp that became popular all over again in the whole country be it through radio play, ballroom dancing, bar playing or commercial centre PAs. Bordon was King of the Harp for a few years coming. His Christmas album is still played around Xmas time up to date.

Nat 'King' Cole and his trade-mark hat.

Best vocal album went to US black singer Nat King Cole whose velvety voice was immensely popular in Latin America. Cole recorded ‘Nat canta boleros’ [Nat sing boleros] a whole album of Latin evergreens like ‘Cachito’, ‘Acércate más’, ‘Te quiero, dijiste’, ‘Las mañanitas’ etc that sold millions.  Nat visited Brazil in April 1959 and was greeted as a real King [which he probably was]. Cole drew huge crowds never seen before in this country having sold out sports arenas that were meant for big sporting events. Nat King Cole has been the most successful act to visit Brazil ever. Not even Queen, the British band who in 1980 filled a whole Maracanãzinho – a Rio sports arena – could beat Nat Cole’s feat. Nat filled the same venue twice as much 21 one years before.

Maria Thereza and her debut album.

Maria Thereza, some time later.

Best new album award went to Maria Thereza Salem’s ‘Mecha branca’ [White hair strand] for the Copacabana label. Maria Thereza was also a ‘high society’ lady who was inspired obviously by Maysa. She decided she wanted to record an album of a few pop songs she’d written and complete it with some old Brazilian and international standards. She wasn’t as talented as Maysa but her two albums are not really bad. Her only sin was being too plain as opposed to Maysa’s exuberance. Her strand of white hair was her only ‘transgression’.  Maria Thereza was dutifully forgotten in acouple of years.

Best lyrics-writer award went to Dolores Duran who had died only two months earlier not having reached the age of 30. The country mourned Duran for a long time and she’s still revered today.

Best versionist award went to Fred Jorge [real name: Fuad Jorge Japur] who translated or adapted US hits like ‘Stupid cupid’ ['Estúpido cupido'] into cute Brazilian ditties that were tremendously popular. Fred Jorge who had been a radio soap-opera writer hit the big time translating teenager US hits for the local market. He was the best ‘translator’ because he not only translated the general meaning of the song but adapted the main theme without sticking strictly to the original. Sometimes he veered off the original subject altogether. In ‘Pink shoe laces’ [Lacinhos cor-de-rosa] for example, he changes the sex of the song's main character which in the original US hit was Dooley, a play-boy who enjoys wearing all those weird fashion bits. In Celly Campello’s Brazilian version it is a girl who wears pink shoe laces... on her hair instead of on her shoes. Brazilian sex code would never allow a man wear anything pink so Fred Jorge did away with that and made the girl wear it instead. The record sold like hot cakes. So much for genius!

 Paul Anka and Fred Jorge who translated Anka's 'Diana' into Brazilian Portuguese in 1958.


1. Estupido cupido [Stupid cupid] [Howard Greenfield-Neil Sedaka; v.: Fred Jorge] – Celly Campello
2. Quero beijar-te as mãos [Arcenio de Carvalho-Lourival Faissal] – Anisio Silva
3. Hino ao amor [Hymn a l’amour] [Marguerit Monnot-Edith Piaf; v. Odayr Marzano] – Wilma Bentivegna
4. A noite do meu bem [Dolores Duran] – Dolores Duran
5. Oh Carol [Howard Greenfield-Neil Sedaka; v.: Fred Jorge] – Carlos Gonzaga

6. Cinzas do passado [Claudio de Barros] – Claudio de Barros
7. Jambalaya [Hank Williams] – Brenda Lee
8. Ciclone [Adelino Moreira] – Carlos Nobre
9. Balada triste [Dalton Vogeler-Esdra Silva] – Agostinho dos Santos
10. E daí? [Miguel Augusto] – Isaurinha Garcia

11. Deusa do asfalto [Adelino Moreira] – Nelson Gonçalves
12. A felicidade [Vinicius de Moraes-Antonio Carlos Jobim] – João Gilberto
13. Bahiano burro nasce morto [Gordurinha] – Luiz Wanderley
14. Donde estará mi vida? [Naranjo-Roman-Segovia] – Joselito
15. Recado [Luiz Antônio-Djalma Ferreira] – Maysa

16. Petite fleur [Sidney Pechet] – Werner Müller und seine Orchester
17. Lamento [Luiz Antônio-Djalma Ferreira] – Dorinha Freitas
18. Ô diacho! [Miguel Angelo Roggieri-Irvando Luiz] – Dupla Ouro & Prata
19. Meu tio  [Mon oncle] [F. Barcellini-H. Contet - J.C. Carriere; v.: Fred Jorge] - Conj.Farroupilha
20. Castigo [Dolores Duran] – Roberto Luna

21. Piove [Ciao ciao bambina] [Domenico Modugno-Dino Verde] - Domenico Modugno
22. Você [Mario Albanese-Heitor Carillo] – Marina Barbosa
23. Morrendo de amor [Aluísio Ferreira Gomes 'Canarinho'-Maximino Parisi] - Antonio Martins

Meanwhile in Long Beach, California, Miss Japan was elected Miss Universe 1959...

Akiko Kojima, Miss Universe 1959.

Miss Brazil, USA, Universe, Norway & Poland.

Akiko Kojima Miss Universe 1959 & Vera Ribeiro Miss Brazil.