Italian volcano Rita Pavone broke all the records in Brazil in 1964.
1964 - CHICO VIOLA VII
1. Datemi un martello (If I had a hammer) Rita Pavone RCA
2. Io che amo solo te Sergio Endrigo RCA
3. Dominique Giane Chantecler
4. Rua Augusta Ronnie Cord RCA
5. Una lacrima sul viso Bobby Solo Ricordi-Chantecler
6. Que queres tu de mim? Altermar Dutra Odeon
7. Deixa isso p'ra lá Jair Rodrigues Philips
8. Cin cin (Cheat cheat) Richard Anthony Odeon
9. Roberta Peppino Di Capri Odeon
10. Pombinha branca (Vola colomba) Silvana Copacabana
11. Ritmo da chuva (Rhythm of the rain) Demétrius Continental
12. Trem das Onze Demônios da Garôa Chantecler
13. O divorcio (El divorcio) Oslain Galvão RGE
14. Sabe Deus (Sabrá Diós) Carlos Alberto CBS
15. I want to hold your hand The Beatles Odeon
16. Scrivi (Lady Love) Rita Pavone RCA
17. Sapore di sale Gino Paoli RCA
18. La Bamba Trini Lopez Reprise-Odeon
19. Michael Trini Lopez Reprise-Odeon
20. Separação Claudio de Barros RCA
21. Juramento de amor José Lopes Chantecler
22. Bicho do mato Jorge Ben Philips
23. É proibido fumar Roberto Carlos CBS
24. Deixa p'ra mim a culpa (Echame a mi la culpa) Agnaldo Rayol Copacabana
25. Zimbo Trio - musical album of the year Zimbo Trio RGE
26. Vozes da Amazônia - special album Johann Dalgas Frisch Sabiá-Copacabana
1. Odeon 
2. RCA 
3. Chantecler 
4. Copacabana 
5. Philips 
6 RGE 
7. CBS 
8. Continental 
article in 'Intervalo' about 1964's Chico Viola Awards gala.
What a year 1964 was. There was nothing like 1964. Everything changed in 1964. There were signs of changing coming in 1963 but nothing so radical was expected. There was a total upheavel in the charts. From the 25 most popular songs, 17 of those were done by a new talent that had never been in the charts before. That’s a lot of new stuff.
The year started with ‘Dominique’ sung by Giane, a nice young lady who harmonized with herself accompanied by one acoustic guitar in a adaptation of Soeur Sourire’s telling of Saint Dominic’s life. Paulo Marques the man who did the translation job for Chantecler thought that maybe a song about a monk’s life in the Middle Ages wouldn’t be very popular so he changed the story willy-nilly and made the saint become a young lass who was waiting for her Prince Charming. Some elements in the Catholic Church didn’t like the saint’s sex-change at all but they couldn’t grumble much because the final product was ‘harmless’. After all, Dominique, the young lady was not a wanton woman but prim-and-proper, just biding her time until her dream came true. In the end her Prince turns out to be just another worthless dude who deserts her. Well, that’s life.
As soon as ‘Dominique’ left the scene, there was a procession of Italian hits starting with amazingly beautiful ‘Io che amo solo te’ [I who love only you] written and sung by lovable Sergio Endrigo who had a most agreeable voice. Italian music was suddenly hip! Endrigo not only sold singles but thousands of albums and extended-plays that were played constantly on the radio. ‘Basta così’, ‘Se le cose stanno così’, 'Annamaria', 'Era d'estate' and ‘Aria di neve’ are some that come to my memory.
Incredibly talented Sergio Endrigo on Italian TV.
RCA Italiana was at the head of the Italian invasion. They would release compilation albums made up of sides A and B of singles that would play on the radio all year long. ‘Sapore di sale’ [Taste of salt] a splendid tale about summer loving sung charmingly by singer-songwriter Gino Paoli was number one. Other Italian hits that made the charts are Michele’s ‘Se mi vuoi lasciare’, Nico Fidenco’s ‘Tutta la gente’, Edoardo Vianello’s ‘Abbronzadissima’ and ‘O mio Signore’, Rita Pavone’s ‘Cuore’ etc.
Gino Paoli's amazingly beautiful 'Sapore di sale'.
Gino Paoli's tortured soul gave us beautiful music.
Italian teen-ager Rita Pavone was 1964’s sensation. Pavone's first album and an extended-play had already been released in 1963, but what took her to the top of the charts was ‘Datemi un martello’ a free-adaptation of Pete Seeger and Lee Hays’ ‘If I had a hammer’, a folk song they wrote in 1959 and turned into an anthem for justice & freedom during the Civil Rights marches in the USA. Trini Lopez was the first to trifle with ‘If I had a hammer’ when he recorded it ‘live’ in a Los Angeles whiskey-a-go-go venue filled with drunks and merry-makers. Trini’s version was supposed to launch a new dance called ‘surf’. A song that started as a protest march anthem against injustice turned into a ‘surf’ craze. Then, Italian lyricist Sergio Bardotti at RCA Italiana took it a step further. He simply tore up the original lyrics and wrote a completely new story about a girl being bored at a teenager party because they wouldn’t play up-tempo records. She wishes she’d have a hammer to start breaking everything in sight, including a few hammer blows on the heads of those terrible kids who danced to slow tunes. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Nonetheless, ‘Datemi un martello’ is fun and it was supposed to be danced to as a ‘surf’.
Rita Pavone arriving in Brazil for her 1964 tour.
Rita Pavone had been a phenomenal success in her native Italy in 1963. Then her manager tried to introduce her to US audiences but due to the language barrier she never quite made it there. On her way back to Italy from the States, Rita came through South America where she was greeted as a statesperson such was her personal success. Rita performed to crowded venues in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. She mesmerized the whole country when her video-taped show was aired on TV Record on a Thursday night. Rita broke all the records: best selling single, extended-play and album. While in Brazil Rita was accompanied by Brazilian rock band The Clevers who were hot property since mid-1963 and had a hit of their own with ‘Il tangaccio’. Rita received two Chico Violas; one for ‘Datemi un martello’ and the other for ‘Scrivi!’ [Write to me] a Charlie Rich minor C&W hit called ‘Lady love’ which Pavone transformed into a slick pop tune. Rita could do no wrong!
Rita Pavone was bigger than The Beatles who showed up with ‘I want to hold your hand’. It took a while for the Beatles to ‘catch on’ in Brazil. Brazilians were in the midst of appreciating Italian music which is more melodic and slower. For many people, it was the first time they heard Italian music. I include myself in this group. You see, I am half Italian. My father was Brazilian but my mother was ethnically Italian since both her mother and father had migrated from Italy in late 19th Century. Lots of Brazilians [as well as Argentinians] are half or a quarter Italian. So it was good to hear a bit of our cultural heritage being played on the radio. I guess that explains why Italian music was so popular for approximately half-a-decade... until we got bored with it [around 1968].
Rita Pavone was so successful she had a lot of 'look-alikes' who tried their chances on TV's talent scout competions like Chacrinha's famous 'Gong Show'.
‘Una lacrima sul viso’ [A tear on the face] was Bobby Solo’s entry at famous San Remo Festival in 1964. It didn’t win but became the most popular song immediately after. It was the first million-seller single in Italy’s story. Mr. Solo was an Elvis Presley emulator who made it good.
Richard Anthony, an Egyptian national who sang in French but could also sing well in Italian went straight to the top with infectious ‘Cin cin’ [Cheers] translated from a US hit called ‘Cheat cheat’.
Peppino di Capri, an Italian rocker from Naples who had ridden the top of the twist craze suddenly turned mellow with marvelous ‘Roberta’, that had won the 1963 Cantagiro, an Italian summer song competion and became one the first Italian hits in Brazil. It is so melodic and beautiful it is hard to fathom. We must admit Italians are good at creating melodies. 'Roberta’ is not Nat King Cole but it’s unforgetable. .
São Paulo's Rua Augusta was the 'in' place to be.
Instrumental rock had been big in 1963. In ’64 it was the rock singer’s turn. First came Ronnie Cord who finally recorded in his own native language taking ‘Rua Augusta’ to number one. Some music critics consider ‘Rua Augusta’ as the first truly Brazilian rock number because it was the first time a real rock tune – not a ‘rock ballad’ – was written in Portuguese. Don’t forget that up to then most of our rock tunes were translations or adaptations of US or European originals. Ronnie’s dad, Herve Cordovil wrote this youth-oriented song although he was already past his sixties being old enough to be a great-grand-father.
Singer Roberto Carlos was the second act with a real Brazilian rock tune. ‘Parei na contra-mão’ [I stopped at a wrong way street] was penned by Roberto Carlos himself and his best friend Erasmo Carlos [no relation]. Both songs dealt with cars and speed – a male-oriented subject. Well, some say rock is pure testoterone. I guess there’s some truth in that. Roberto Carlos, a young man from Espirito Santo, a state north from Rio, would become the greatest show business act in Brazil in a few years. But in 1964 he was only a rock’n’roll singer. I almost forget to mention that Roberto got his Chico Viola not for ‘Parei na contra-mão’ but for ‘É proibido fumar’ [No smoking allowed] written by him and Erasmo, too. It is a rocker too but not as good as the first though.
Roberto Carlos' breakthrough album.
Demétrius, who started in 1959 singing only in English at rock laber Young Records, then moved to Continental Records, had his biggest hit ever with 'Ritmo da chuva', a translation of The Cascades' 'Rhythm of the rain'. Demétrius version was really close to the American original and we have to agree he's got a pleasant singing voice.
Oslain Galvão & Trio Cristal sing boleros.
Oslain Galvão not only sang well but became a DJ at Radio Piratininga. He eventually went to Medical School and became a doctor.
Even though we were in a topsy-turvy year boleros and samba-canções wouldn’t miss it for the world. Boleros were too ingrained in the Brazilian soul to just die peacefully. ‘Que queres tu de mim?’ [What do you want from me?] was a typical bolero sung by Altemar Dutra in his only second year in the charts. Oslain Galvão, a young black singer who had won ‘A voz de ouro ABC’ – a talent contest, two years before, hit it big with ‘O divorcio’ [The divorce] a translated hit from Mexican songwriter Pepe Avila. It is ironic that someone in his right mind could sing a song titled ‘The divorce’ in a country where there was no such a thing. Brazil, being a Roman Catholic country, was banned from having anything resembling a divorce. For Catholics a marriage is forever. But even if you were not of the Catholic persuasion you were not allowed to divorce someone you didn't like anymore. Talking about Muslim fundamentalism... how about a bit of Vatican’s dictatorship? Thank God we live in different times now.
Carlos Alberto, the man who sang with a tear in his throat.
Carlos Alberto was CBS’s answer to Odeon’s Altemar Dutra. Altemar though, had the best songwriting team to write him original material whereas Carlos Alberto had to make do with translations from Mexican or Latin American hits. ‘Sabe Deus’ [Sabra Diós] that translates as ‘God only knows’ was Carlos Alberto first big hit. He would go on to record dozens of albums of similar stuff during the next few years. Carlos had a tear in his voice. He sang as if he was weeping!
Agnaldo Rayol was Copacabana’s answer to Odeon’s Altemar Dutra or CBS’s Carlos Alberto. Although Agnaldo had been around for more than 10 year since he was only a boy when he started in show business – that was the first time he recorded boleros specifically. Most of them translations from the same source, that is, Mexico and assorted Latin American countries. Rayol’s bolero this year was ‘Deixa p’ra mim a culpa’ [Echame a mi la culpa] that translates as ‘Let the blame on me’.
Claudio de Barros who started the decade so well at Chantecler never had a really big hit at RCA, his new label. ‘Separação’ [Separation] was his last hit. Times were really catching up with a lot of acts, unfortunately. Silvana who skipped 1963 altogether was back with a vengeance. And now she was flying solo with ‘Pombinha branca’ [Vola colomba] a 1952 Italian tune done originally by Nilla Pizzi that sounded more like something coming out straight from Mexico.
Chantecler’s José Lopes’ ‘Juramento de amor’ [Love’s pact] is a really idyosincratic song. It’s not a bolero, it’s not a samba-canção, it’s not a guarania. It’s a slow number, very soulful and beautiful, but strange nonetheless. Chantecler was losing ground quickly to the multinationals but could still churn out a hit or two. Actually, with the advent of the Italian invasion Chantecler was in a solid position for it pressed and distributed Ricordi’s records here. Ricordi being Italy’s second biggest label after RCA Italiana and was the first label, with ‘Una lacrima sul viso’ to sell a million singles.
Chantecler also had the year’s brightest idea. They re-recorded Demônios da Garôa, a vocal & instrumental samba group who had been very popular eight years before working at Odeon. Chantecler re-recorded all their old hits plus a brand-new one, ‘Trem das Onze’ [Eleven o’clock train] that went straight to number one. Most of their songs were penned by Adoniran Barbosa an old-timer who had been a comedian, singer, song-writer and poet. All of a sudden it felt like it was 1956 again.
The biggest samba record was a novelty. ‘Deixa isso p’ra lá’ [Leave it all behind] was a half-spoken, half-sung samba done magistrally well by Jair Rodrigues, a new face that would be around for the longest time. Jair was a black kid from the São Paulo hinterland who made it good in the city and had the biggest smile in the world. He was that kind of people who is at the right place at the right time. I’ll explain that later.
Jorge Ben who had been 1963’s biggest sensation was somewhat lacklustre in ’64. He made the airwaves with ‘Bicho do mato’ [Bush animal] a complete detour from what he had done at his ground breaking 1963 'Samba Esquema Novo'. It was not a samba but something shouted and ‘strange’.
Johan Dalgas Frisch, a son of Danish nationals who migrated to Brazil in 1927, was born in 1930. He got a degree in Engeneering and later became an ornithologist who went bush to record the sounds of Brazilian wild birds.
In 1962, Frisch records 'Canto das Aves do Brasil' [Brazilian Birds' Singing] an album he tried to synchronize birds' singing with instrumental popular music. It sold thousands of vynil records. In 1964, he goes back to the jungle and records uirapurú's singing which was a major feat due to uirapurú's being a very shy bird. This second album was called 'Vozes da Amazônia' [Amazon's Voices] and it sold in the hundreds of thousand too.
Johan Dalgas Frisch's 1962's first album 'Cantos de Aves do Brasil'.
'Vozes da Amazônia' [Voices from the Amazon] a special-album produced by Johan Dalgas Frisch for Sabiá a Copacabana subsidiary won a Chico Viola.
Bossa Nova had been changing since its early days in 1958. There were a lot of ‘different’ bossa-novas. The best album of 1964 went to Zimbo Trio, a typical ‘bossa-nova-trio’ made up of piano, drums and double-bass. Does it sound like jazz? Well, some people would say it’s not different at all. Zimbo Trio would play bossa-nova tunes in a jazzy sort of way that only reached those with ‘specially trained ears’. Even though they were so sophisticated they sold enough albums to be qualified to get their Chico Viola, a prominently popular award.
Zimbo Trio's album of the year.
Zimbo Trio's album of the year.
Last but not least, after all the Italian hits we had a new act in the person of Trini Lopez. As we mentioned before, Trini had been huge in the US and Europe in 1963 with his version of Lee Hays and Pete Seeger’s ‘If I had a hammer’. Trini had conquered Paris and the French performing at the same stage as the Beatles.
Trini Lopez hit with 'La bamba' and 'Michael'.
José Scatena, the owner of independant label RGE, knew Trini would be a hit in Brazil and before Odeon had time to release Trini’s records, Scatena, who was also a talent-scout went around São Paulo night-clubs and discovered José Gagliardi, a young man who could really sing and swing fronting rock instrumental band The Jet Blacks at Lancaster, a famous twist dive. Scatena made a deal with José and changed his name for Prini Lorez. Then he took Prini to his studio and made him record all Trini Lopez’s hits, released them in the market before Odeon could have a chance.
All of sudden we had Prini Lorez singing ‘America’ on the radio day and night. One could not distinguish between the original Trini and the ‘copy’ Prini. Prini had had his homework done while he recorded in English for Young Records in 1959 and 1960. He was pretty sure of himself and knew what he was capable of. Actually Prini had opened for Paul Anka when he toured Brazil in September 1960 and was used to the hustle-and-bustle of night club life.
‘La bamba’ was Prini’s second release and it was even bigger than ‘America’. Now, Odeon finally caught up with RGE and released the original Trini Lopez. It was funny listening to the radio then. Sometimes you listened to ‘La bamba’ twice and you would hardly know which was which. There was a period that nobody knew for sure who was Prini or Trini.
That went on until Odeon who represented US’s Reprise Records in Brazil released ‘Michael’ by Trini Lopez. That made all the difference. ‘Michael’ had been just a ‘track’ at Trini Lopez ‘Folk Album’, but for us, Brazilians, it was like the second coming of Jesus. 'Michael’ went straight to number one and wowed radio listeners and the record buying public. It a simple song but recorded in such an exquisite way by genius Don Costa [remember Paul Anka’s first and most important phase?] that made all the difference. The gradual changing of key, half a tone each time, the female choir responses and rapturous final followed by Trini’s cristal-clear Gibson guitar chords make it a classic! Listening to Trini Lopez’s rendition of ‘Michael’ was like a religious experience. Brazilians loved it and I must admit I relished it. I became a Trini Lopez fan right there and then.
Actually I must make a confession. I became an ardent fan of Italian Rita Pavone as well, if you haven’t realized it by now. 1964 was the year I bought my first record player and my first album, Rita Pavone’s ‘Meus 18 anos’.
After the deceit became public knowledge Prini Lorez was never the same. He was still a good performer but he knew he was in a mess for having gone along with such a sham act. He didn’t realize at first he was spending his artistic capital when he agreed to take part in such a swindle. Prini never recovered from that. He continued recording for RGE but never made the charts anymore. It is a pity because Prini or Zezinho or José Gagliardi or even Galli Jr. was a good performer.
Three members of The Jordans with future Prini Lorez [sitting] in 1963.
SONG WRITING CREDITS 1964
1. Datemi un martello [If I had a hammer] [Pete Seeger-Lee Hays; v.: Sergio Bardotti] – Rita Pavone
2. Io che amo solo te [Sergio Endrigo] - Sergio Endrigo
3. Dominique [Soeur Sourire; v.: Paulo Queiróz] – Giane
4. Rua Augusta [Herve Cordovil] – Ronnie Cord
5. Una lacrima sul viso [Lunero-Mogol] – Bobby Solo
6. Que queres tu de mim? [Evaldo Gouveia-Jair Amorim] – Altermar Dutra
7. Deixa isso p'ra lá [Edson Menezes-Alberto Paz] - Jair Rodrigues
8. Cin cin [Cheat cheat] [Charles Blackwell-Pallavicini] – Richard Anthony
9. Roberta [Lepore-Nadeo] – Peppino Di Capri
10. Pombinha branca [Vola colomba] [C. Concina-B. Cherubini; v.: Genival Melo] – Silvana
11. Ritmo da chuva [Rhythm of the rain] [John Gummoe; v.: Demétrius] – Demétrius
12. Trem das Onze [Adoniran Barbosa] – Demônios da Garôa
13. O divorcio [El divorcio] [Pepe Avila; v.: Benil Santos] – Oslain Galvão
14. Sabe Deus [Sabra Diós] [Alvaro Carillo; v.: Nelly Pinto] – Carlos Alberto
15. I want to hold your hand [Lennon-McCartney] – The Beatles
16. Scrivi [Lady Love] [Charlie Rich-Carlo Rossi] – Rita Pavone
17. Sapore di sale [Gino Paoli] – Gino Paoli
18. La Bamba [Traditional] – Trini Lopez
19. Michael [Dave Fisher] – Trini Lopez
20. Separação [Claudio de Barros-Torrinha] – Claudio de Barros
21. Juramento de amor [Maximino Parisi-Canarinho-José Lopes] – José Lopes
22. Bicho do mato [Jorge Ben] – Jorge Ben
23. É proibido fumar [Roberto Carlos-Erasmo Carlos] – Roberto Carlos
24. Deixa p'ra mim a culpa [Echame a mi la culpa] [Jose Angel Espinosa; v.: Nilza Maria] – Agnaldo Rayol
1964 foi o ano que tudo mudou! A musica taliana invadiu o Brasil. Rita Pavone era a Rainha do yé yé; the Beatles apareceram para ficar e Roberto Carlos veio lá do Espirito Santo, com estadia no Rio, para tomar de assalto a Parada Brasileira. Os "Demônios da Garôa" voltaram, depois de 8 anos de ausência, e levaram o "Trem das 11" para o mundo inteiro. Trini Lopez ‘bambou’, e "Michael" tocava 24 horas por dia nos céus do Brasil. O ano abriu com "Dominique" e fechou com "Bianco Natale" da Rita Pavone, ainda tendo muito "Cin Cin" [Tchin Tchin] com Richard Anthony, um egípcio-francês que cantava em italiano. O Brasil era um país multi-cultural. Hoje é apenas um entreposto do imperialismo norte-americano. Carlus Maximus [representante do Imperialismo Romano.]
Meanwhile in Rio de Janeiro, Vera Lucia Couto was elected the first ever Black Miss Brazil...
Meanwhile in Rio de Janeiro, Vera Lucia Couto was elected the first ever Black Miss Brazil...
Vera Lucia Couto, Miss Guanabara 1964 & Miss Brazil #2 - went to Long Beach, California and was placed #3 as Miss International Beauty.