Wednesday, 23 May 2012

1961 Chico Viola Awards IV



Martha Mendonça, Teixeirinha, Lurdinha Pereira, Wilson Miranda & Edith Veiga.
Chantecler Records was king in 1961.


1. Tu sabes                                                 Martha Mendonça         Chantecler
2. Faz me rir [Me da risas]                            Edith Veiga                  Chantecler
3. Bat Masterson                                         Carlos Gonzaga             RCA
4. Moliendo café                                           Poly                             Chantecler
5. Hey mama                                               Celly Campello              Odeon

6. Coração de luto                                        Teixeirinha                   Chantecler
7. Flor do meu bairro                                     Nelson Gonçalves         RCA
8. Tenho ciúmes de tudo                               Orlando Dias                Odeon
9. Alguém é bôbo de alguém  [Somebody’s fool]  Wilson Miranda       Chantecler
10. Poema do adeus                                      Miltinho                       RGE

11. Ansiedad                                                 Nat King Cole             Odeon
12. Palhaçada                                                Doris Monteiro            Philips-CBD
13. As folhas verdes de verão [Green leaves of summer] Wilma Bentivegna Odeon
14. Runaway                                                  Del Shannon              London-Odeon
15. Não sei explicar [Good night, Johnny Boy]   Morgana                   Copacabana

16. A noiva                                                   Cauby Peixoto             RCA
17. Teu desprêzo                                          Claudio de Barros         Chantecler
18. Orgulho                                                  Carlos Galhardo            RCA
19. Corinna, Corinna                                      Demétrius                    Continental
20. Maria Helena                                           Roberto Vidal               RCA-Camden

21. Querida Susie [Susie darling]                   Tony Campello             Odeon
22. Escondido [A escondidas]                       Francisco Egydio          Odeon
23. Guarânia da lua nova                               José Otoni                    Philips
24. The man with the golden arm [O homem do braço de ouro]  Henry Jerome  CBD
25. Tema de "Exodus"                                    Mantovani & Orq.          London-Odeon

26. Nunca aos domingos [Never on Sunday]    Billy Vaughan               Dot-RGE
27. Wheels                                                   Billy Vaughan               Dot-RGE
28. Look for a star                                          Ronnie Cord                 Copacabana
29. Confissão                                                 Roberto Luna               RGE
30. Amargo retorno                                        Trio Cristal                    Fermata

31. Aliança                                                   Leo Romano                 Odeon
32. Papéis velhos                                          Lurdinha Pereira            Chantecler
33. Calcutta                                                  Walter Wanderley         Odeon


1. Odeon [10]
2. Chantecler [7]
3. RCA [4]
4. RGE [4]

5. Philips-CBD [3]
6. Copacabana [2] 
7. Fermata, Continental [1]



Martha Mendonça's swarthy beauty conquered all.


Martha Mendonça cherishes her trophies... Chico Viola is in the foreground...

1961 was the year boleros came back with a vengeance. Chantecler, a small label started in São Paulo in 1957, became a giant competing tooth-and-nail with multi-nationals the likes of EMI’s Odeon and RCA Victor. Brazilian-made products ruled the charts and apart from some foreign instrumentals by the orchestras of Mantovani, Henry Jerome and  Billy Vaughn Brazilians were kings and queens... especially queens.

Suddently the air-waves were invaded by two completely unknown female singers from the Chantecler’s stables. Early in the year Edith Veiga stormed the charts with ‘Faz me rir’ [Dame risas] [You make me laugh] a tongue-in-cheek response to a man who thinks he is women’s answered prayers when he’s actually only a God-damned turkey!  ‘Faz me rir’ became a classic and it still is in the Brazilian collective unconsciousness. Soon after Edith was number one, Martha Mendonça, another young lady from Chantecler’s roster took ‘Tu sabes’ [You know], a very melodic bolero with a beautiful long introduction arranged exquisitely by conductor Elcio Alvarez all the way to number one.  Neither Edith Veiga nor Martha Mendonça ever managed to release follow-ups to their smash-hits. Both of them had rather long careers but never got as near to the top as they did in 1961.


Edith Veiga holds her 'Chico Viola' trophy proudly on the night she received it. 


Edith Veiga made the whole country laugh with 'Faz me rir' (You make me laugh).

Celly Campello was still big in 1961 and took Paul Anka’s ‘Hey mama’ to number one. Anka had written this tune especially for Disneyland’s Annette Funnicello’s brash voice. Celly’s rendition of ‘Hey mama' is the ultimate recording. No one could geta as near as good as Celly!

Rock was out in 1961. Even Carlos Gonzaga, who had big rock hits in 1958 and 1959 released something different. Gonzaga took ‘The ballad of Bat Masterson’ the Brazilian version of an American TV series to number one. ‘Bat Masterson’ was a top TV hit from the USA that was dubbed in Brazilian-Portuguese and became hugely popular here too. This was Gonzaga’s fourth Chico Viola, which made him the only act who won the award every single year since its inception in 1958. Carlos Gonzaga was big but due to him being Black was never crowned King-of-Rock’n’roll or King-of-Anything for that matter, which only comes to prove that Brazilians were definitely racist. Brazilian racism has never been overt like the one practiced in the USA but it still pervades all in a disguised fashion.


Carlos Gonzaga took 'Bat Masterson' to the top. 

Rock was down but not out. Demetrius, a young man who started recording in English  for Young Records, released his first Portuguese-language single, a Ray Peterson’s cover of ‘Corinna, Corinna’ and made it to the top. It clearly proved that Brazilians preferred to listen to songs they understood the lyrics. This showed how wrong Miguel Vaccaro Netto [Young Records producer] was when he decided to record all his acts in English rather than the local language. Some foreign acts did become popular in Brazil singing in English but they needed to have very melodic tunes to reach the local population's ears. Demetrius was prevailed upon by Continental Record producer Palmeira Diogo Mulero that he'd better sing in Portuguese to become really popular... and it paid in the end.  

Chantecler’s rock singer Wilson Miranda was huge with ‘Alguém é bobo de alguém’, Connie Francis’ ‘Everybody is somebody’s fool’ a C&W tune she took to # 1 in the US. Miranda's cover ended up being better than the original maybe because of the rich orchestration.

Tony Campello, Celly’s brother, finally made it to the top with ‘Querida Susie’ a cover of Robin Luke’s ‘Susie darling’.  As I said before, Brazilians prefered rock’s soft side which they called ‘rock ballad’. These softer rockers could easily fall into the ‘fox’ category. Up-tempo rock tunes were really rare.


Poly, the slide-guitar player made it again. This time it was ‘Moliendo café’ [Grounding coffee] that was a hit world-wide by many different acts. In Brazil it hit the top in an instrumental version.

Nelson Gonçalves & Carlos Galhardo from RCA Victor with their Chico Violas.

In the category of sexual-desire-followed-by-extreme-guilt we had Nelson Gonçalves’ ‘Flor do meu bairro’ [My suburb’s flower] where he tells the story of a young lady who lived next-door to him who had been his sweetheart. He brags he knew her first lover, her first heartbreak and her first ‘mistake’. Mistake was euphemism for sexual intercourse. She falls madly in love with a man from another part of town who promises her a better life somewhere else. The suburban flower goes away and no one ever hears of her again until one day the Narrator goes out to a brothel which was common for young men to ‘relieve’ their sexual tensions and meets her on the street strutting her stuff. He ends up paying for sex with the woman he would have gladly married. The euphemism for sexual intercourse in this case is a kiss: ‘I ended up paying for a kiss that in the past had been mine!’.

1961 was the last year Nelson Gonçalves had a #1 hit. Actually he had two number ones; ‘Fica comigo esta noite’ [Stay with me tonight] was on top of the charts too and was Nelson’s swan song. He had been Brazil’s most popular male singer for nearly 10 years but time was quickly changing.

Times were really changing. 1961 was the swan songs for not only Nelson Gonçalves but also to Cauby Peixoto, very popular since 1956; Carlos Galhardo, popular waltz singer since 1933; Roberto Vidal, who emulated Nelson Gonçalves’ phrasing, intonation and repertoire; Francisco Egydio, a strong Black baritone who was a nice chap; Roberto Luna, who sang mostly boleros & samba-cancoes and was a hell raiser; Leo Romano, José Otoni and Claudio de Barros. Nine acts who appeared in the charts for the last time. That’s a lot for one year. All of these male singer represented the ‘old school’ of big voices and larger-than-life gestures who dramatized about brothels, love-gone-wrong or sado-masochism-in-desguise. Let’s have a peek at their subject matter:

Carlos Galhardo in the 1930s (left); Galhardo in 1961 could still hit. 

Cauby Peixoto sang about ‘A noiva’ [The bride] who is in the act of getting married to the wrong guy. When she weeps at church everyone thinks she’s weeping for joy, but actually she knows she’s doing the wrong thing. Then she falls down to her knees and asks the Virgin Mary to be pardoned. Carlos Galhardo sings about ‘Orgulho’ [Pride] saying he will not bend down and go back to his lover because he’s got too much pride to subject himself again to her tortures. Roberto Luna’s song is called ‘Confissão’ (Confession)... well, what can you expect from such a title?

Roberto Vidal extolls the beauty of ‘Maria Helena’ a young woman who comes crying to him to tell all about her unrequited love for another man. Maria Helena doesn’t have a clue she’s telling her woes to a guy who in love with her. Leo Romano sings about ‘Aliança’ [Wedding band] ... it’s not too difficult to imagine that someone abandoned someone and the wedding ring was the only thing left behind. Francisco Egydio’s ‘Escondido’ [Hidden] tells the story of two young lovers who can only meet in hiding because their parents are against their relationship.

Claudio de Barros complains about ‘Teu desprezo’ [Your  contempt]... jee, what can one say about loving someone who despises her suitor?  José Otoni with ‘Guarania da lua nova’ [Guarania of the new moon] is the only one who sings about love in a general sense without a grudge or a big chip on his shoulder.

One of the biggest sellers of the year was ‘Coração de luto’ [A heart in grief] by Teixeirinha, an accordion player and singer song-writer. Teixeirinha belts out about his having lost his dearest mother dead in a fire that destroyed their house. He was left an orphan at 9 years of age and with no place to go. He was destitute and went hungry in this cruel world. People sympathized with Teixeirinha's plight and bought his records by the hundreds of thousands making him a rich man. Well-off Brazilians, though, despised Teixeirinha’s true story and dubbed the song as ‘Mother’s barbecue’ [Churrasquinho de mãe] which shows how callow and insensitive the upper class really are.  Teixeirinha went on to make a film out of the song that was a big hit in Brazil and Portugal.

Miltinho was a ‘new’ sensation. Actually Miltinho had been around for more than 15 years either as a singer with vocal group Anjos do Inferno or a lead-singer and percusionist with Djalma Ferreira & his Rhythm Millionaires. He had also recorded solo before but only hit the big time when he was under contract with independent label RGE. ‘Poema do adeus’ [Poem of Adieu] was his first of a string of hits that would come in succession the next two years. Miltinho could really ‘swing’ when he sang sambas. But his biggest hits turned out to be mellow slow numbers.

Orlando Dias was a singular kind of singer. His wild histrionics were over-the-top making people laugh or be disgusted. He would mess up his hair, would fall down on his knee, throw himself on the floor or simply go completely out-of-control to give the right rendition to his numbers. He had two hits in 1961: ‘Perdoa-me pelo bem que eu te quero’ [Forgive me for the good that I wish you] which the title itself shows a quirk ambivalence! His biggest hit though was ‘Tenho ciúmes de tudo’ [I’m jealous of everything]. He had a field day when he sang that song on TV. The lyrics say: ‘I’m jealous of the sun, the sea, the moon and the stars, I’m jealous of everything... I’m jealous even of the clothes you wear...’  Well, the song itself is a anthem for madness... imagine what Orlando Dias did on stage to convey all the drama built in such a song! It was sheer mayhem!


Orlando Dias, the hardest-working man in Brazilian show-business.

Female singers were very prominent in the charts in 1961 as noted before. Petite Wilma Bentivegna sang ‘As folhas verdes de verão’ [The green leaves of summer] the beautiful melody written by Dimitri Tiomkin for John Wayne’s long-winded saga of ‘The Alamo’.   Bentivegna’s cover became a bolero but very well performed.


Wilma Bentivegna holds her 'Chico Viola' for 'As folhas verdes de verão'. Wilma had not shown up for the 1959 awards when she won it for 'Hino ao amor'. Some say she was too much in love with Odayr Marzano, the man who translated the word for Portuguese, to be bothered to go to the bash. Things must have been different two years later.


Celly Campello [Hey mama], Tony Campello [Querida Susie] and Wilma Bentivegna [Folhas verdes de verão]... a team from Odeon-EMI.

Morgana, the Blonde Fairy [Fada Loura] reappears with ‘Não sei explicar’ [I don’t know how to explain] a US ballad that became a hit in Germany as ‘Gute Nacht, Johnny Boy’, sung by Marlene Stolz.  It turned out to be Morgana’s last major hit. It looked like 1961 was the dying ground for a lot of acts.  It’s not that all of them disappeared overnight. It only means that 1961 was the last year they had a major hit. Morgana went on recording until 1967 but she never soared up to the top anymore.

Morgana, the Blonde Fairy sang 'Good night, Johnny'!

Lurdinha Pereira was the last of Chantecler’s ladies to hit. She placed ‘Papeis velhos’ [Old papers] in the charts but her biggest hit – ‘Lembrança’ – was yet to come next year. Talking about lady singers, Doris Monteiro, who had been around since the early 50s hits big with ‘Palhaçada’ [Buffoonery] a samba that was recorded by lots of acts but ended up being most successful with Doris. Miltinho also did a perfect rendition of the same tune. Funny that Doris Monteiro & Miltinho would record many albums as a duo later in the decade that sold millions for Odeon. ‘Palhaçada’ is a funny samba that pokes fun at someone who tries to be so smart but ends up being just a... well, a clown!

Trio Cristal who made ‘Juramento de amor’ their biggest hit in 1960, hit it again with ‘Amargo retorno’ [Bitter return]. They were a typical Paraguayan combo; a trio made up of three harmonizing voices with two acoustic guitars and one guy doing percusion. Their harmonies were intricate and they were really good singers.

Now the only songs left out are the foreign recordings. The biggest of all was ‘Runaway’ by Del Shannon. What can we say about such a perfect tune? Nothing that has not been already said. It is really a tragedy what happened to poor Del Shannon at the end of his life.

Ronnie Cord was not exactly a ‘foreign act’ because he was a Brazilian national, even though he sang in English. This time he recorded ‘Look for a star’ the theme-song from a British-German minor flick called ‘Circus of Horrors’. Garry Mills is in the sound-track but there were lots of versions of the same tune done by Garry Miles [someone here was trying to fool someone else!], Billy Vaughn and Deane Hawley.


Del Shannon cancelled his visit to São Paulo at the last minute.

Nat ‘King’ Cole was back with marvelous ‘Ansiedad’ [Anxiousness] so well performed in a state-of-the-art recording studio in Havana, Cuba. The mandolin playing in the introduction is infectious and surely was instrumental in making this song a major hit. Nat sang Spanish like hehad a hot potato in his mouth... but at the same time it was quaint and beautiful. Nat was King... no doubt about it.


Nat 'King' Cole was king in English as well as Spanish and Portuguese.


Nathaniel & Natalie Cole.


Nat tickling them keys away...

The biggest instrumental hit of 1961 was ‘The man with the golden arm’, theme from the movie of same title done in 1955. Elmer Bernstein's sound-track was sheer jazz. Now, it took six years for that tune to hit Brazil because band-leader Henry Jerome had been around since the early 30s recorded an album for Decca called 'Brazen Brass goes to Hollywood' in 1961.  Jerome’s series of Metais em Braza [Brazen Brass] were really popular among those who liked ballroom dance which was pretty popular in the early 60s. All of a sudden radio started playing the tune and it went to number one.



Billy Vaughn and his Orchestra’s records were also very popular then. Dot Records discs were distributed by RGE that  did a good job with radio stations and record outlets. Billy Vaughn hit twice with ‘Wheels’ [originally done by String-A-Longs] and ‘Never on Sunday’ – done by hundreds of acts around the world.

Mantovani hit the charts with ‘Exodus’ main theme from the Otto Preminger's film of same title and Brazilian organ player Walter Wanderley got a Chico Viola for his rendition of ‘Calcutta’ that was recorded by dozens of artists too. Lawrence Welk's recording was the most popular even though it was overlooked by the panel at TV Record who made the hit-list.

Well, I guess that wraps up the year of 1961. Was Chico Viola Awards really reliable? I guess not. There were a few hits that were big and didn’t make it to their list. 'Blue Moon' with The Marcels is just one instance. Well, it doesn’t really matter if they were a 100% reliable. It’s just the fun of it that we're aiming at.

1961 foi o ano da gravadora Chantecler, tendo 5 dos 10 mais vendidos do ano, coisa não muito facil de se igualar.  A produção nacional estava no auge. Parabens ao Talento Nacional...


SONG WRITING CREDITS 1961


1. Tu sabes  [Joaquim Taborda] – Martha Mendonça
2. Faz me rir [Me da risa] [Francisco Yoni-Edmundo Arias; v.: Teixeira Filho] – Edith Veiga
3. Bat Masterson [B. Corwin-H. Wray; v.: Edson Borges] – Carlos Gonzaga
4. Moliendo café [Manzo] – Poly
5. Hey mama [Paul Anka; v.: Fred Jorge ] – Celly Campello
6. Coração de luto [Teixeirinha] – Teixeirinha
7. Flor do meu bairro [Adelino Moreira] – Nelson Gonçalves
8. Tenho ciúmes de tudo [Waldyr Machado] – Orlando Dias
9. Alguém é bôbo de alguém  [Somebody’s fool] [Howard Greenfield-Jack Keller; v;: Fred Jorge] - Wilson Miranda 
10. Poema do adeus [Luiz Antônio] – Miltinho

11. Ansiedad [Roberto Tito Mendoza] – Nat King Cole
12. Palhaçada  [Haroldo Barbosa-Luiz Reis] – Doris Monteiro
13. As folhas verdes de verão [The green leaves of summer] [Paul Francis Webster-Dimitri Tiomkin; v.:  Paulo Rogério] – Wilma Bentivegna
14. Runaway [Del Shannon-Max Crook] - Del Shannon
15. Não sei explicar [Good night, Johnny Boy-Gute Nacht, Johnny Boy] [Art Harris-Fred Jay; v.: Teixeira Filho] – Morgana
16. A noiva [La novia] [Joaquin Pietro; v.: Fred Jorge] – Cauby Peixoto
17. Teu desprêzo [Claudio de Barros-Geraldo Blota-Serafim Costa Almeida] – Claudio de Barros
18. Orgulho [Rene Bittencourt] – Carlos Galhardo
19. Corinna, Corinna [Parish-Chapman-Williams; v.: Demétrius] – Demétrius
20. Maria Helena [Adelino Moreira] – Roberto Vidal

21. Querida Susie [Susie darling] [Robin Luke; v.: Romeu Nunes] – Tony Campello
22. Escondido [A escondidas] [Luis Araque; v.: Martha de Almeida] – Francisco Egydio
23. Guarânia da lua nova [Luiz Vieira] – José Otoni
24. The man with the golden arm [O homem do braço de ouro] [Elmer    ] – Henry Jerome
25. Tema de "Exodus" [Ernest Gold-E.Marnay] – Mantovani & Orq.
26. Nunca aos domingos [Never on Sunday] [Nadjidakis-Towne] – Billy Vaughan
27. Wheels [Norman Petty] – Billy Vaughan & Orchestra
28. Look for a star [Mark Anthony] - Ronnie Cord
29. Confissão [Confesión] [Enrique Disceplo-Amadori; v.: Lourival Faissal] - Roberto Luna
30. Amargo retorno [Julio Jaramillo] - Trio Cristal

31. Aliança [Getúlio Macedo] - Leo Romano
32. Papéis velhos [Geraldo Vietri-Rolando Boldrin] - Lurdinha Pereira
33. Calcutta [music: Heino Gaze; words: Hans Bradtke] - Walter Wanderley


Demétrius is awarded his Chico Viola for 1961's 'Corina, Corina'.

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