Hugo Santana was born on 5 December 1936, in Palmeira dos Indios in the Northeastern state of Alagoas. His father died in 1939, when Hugo was only 3 years old - so his mother took him and moved to João Pessoa, further up north in the state of Paraíba.
At 13, when he was at the 6th grade, (2a serie ginasial) he was expelled from school due to his association with the school bullies. From bad to worse he spent some time at a children's reformatory where he found out to his surprise he enjoyed singing. After leaving the correctional facility Hugo worked for an uncle in Recife-PE.
In 1952, when Hugo was 16 years old he up and left João Pessoa to try his luck in Rio de Janeiro. Hugo tells us he took a 'pau-de-arara' - a bed-truck with wooden seats and a canvas covering - all the way to the Nation's capital. Those trips usually took 15 to 20 days.
Hugo stayed at another uncle's house in Rio and worked as a clerk, dry-cleaner's hand, as a bread-delivering boy, car-wash hand, ticket-taker at a local cinema etc. He made friends with a fellow who played the guitar and kindly accompanied. He started doing the round of radio stations to sing at amateur and gong-shows. At first he was gonged at Radio Vera Cruz but fared much better at 'Ai vem o pato' having got the 2nd position.
While singing on the radio he met actor Sadi Cabral who gave him a supporting role in a play he had written at Teatro João Caetano. The company toured Sao Paulo and Hugo stayed behind. Not having many choices he became a regular crooner at a Portuguese restaurant a while then moved on to the night-club circuit where he met lots of musicians.
Agnaldo Rayol introduced Hugo to TV director Cassiano Gabus Mendes who was impressed with his way of singing and signed him a 2 year-contract at TV Tupi. Geraldo Vietri, another TV director included Santana in TV play called 'Os gatos pingados' in March 1960, alongside Lolita Rodrigues, Pery Ribeiro, Dorinha Duval, Geraldo Cunha etc.
Izio Gross from Mocambo Records signed Hugo and released his first 78 rpm: 'Na rocha da siribeira' backed with 'Seu sorriso' written by Lupercy Fiorini & Oscar Castro Neves.
Hugo then moved on to Chantecler, Continental Records where he had a great production... and ended up at Odeon in 1965, with the theme-song from 'Deusa Vencida' the most popular soap-opera of the year.
1. Chegou a minha vez de amar (What kind of fool am I?) Bricusse-Mewley; adapt.: Hugo Santana
2. Aconteceu de-repente (Ana Clara Borges)
3. Canção da menina triste ( Edmundo Villani Cortes)
4. Berimbau - Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes)
5. Só o amor ficou (Edmundo Villani Cortes)
6. O amor chegou (Hugo Santana)
1. Papagaio azul (Edmundo Villani Cortes)
2. Amanhã chegou (Manquito-André Perez)
3. Caminho do amor (Luiz Vieira-José Di)
4. Sem defeito (Roberto Siom)
5. Enfim você voltou (Mario Albanese)
6. Samba sem porque (Geraldo Cunha)
Hugo Santana and new-face Denise Dumont fake a romance for the pages of 'Revista do Radio' - 1960.