Monday, 28 December 2015

Brazilian Hybrid-English acts 1971-1975

As of 1971 Brazilian show business started a new trend which I quaintly call Hybrid English Acts or Hybrid English Songs. Actually, Brazilians were only following an international trend started elsewhere a few years back in which acts from non-English-language countries would write and perform songs in English.

I particularly call this trend 'Hybrid-English' because most of this material was beset with heinous grammar mistakes. Sometimes song-writers would simply invent words in disconnected sentences that would make no sense whatsoever. To top it off most of these acts had an atrocious pronunciation of Shakespeare's tongue.

Terry Winter aka Tommy Standen was probably the first Brazilian act to avail himself of such a gimmick releasing 'You'll notice me' in late 1971 for New Records, a label deliberately set up by Copacabana Records with the intention of selling Brazilian acts disguised as 'international stars'. 

By 1973, Hybrid English records were all the rage and Chrystian aka Jose Pereira da Silva Neto took 'Don't say goodbye' all the way to #1 and ended up as the best selling record of the year. 

Chrystian from Goias and Gretchen from São Paulo recorded only in English.

Ever since 1971 when Brazilian singer-song-writer Thomas Standen suddenly changed his name to Terry Winter and recorded 'You'll notice me' in English for Copacabana's new subsidiary New Records as if he were a foreign act there was a new trend. Brazilian singers with high-pitched voices were in demand from local labels to record melodic romantic tunes written in English by Brazilians.

1973 turned out to be one of the best years for those singers who recorded this sort of Hybrid English. They were Portuguese-speaking young musicians who grew up listening to romantic Anglo-American ballads like those sung by the Beatles and Bee Gees and somehow got hold of elementary English grammar skills to ape those melodies and write whatever English they could grasp.

Most of the songs would be written in 'mangled English' but nobody would give a hoot because after all the buying public did not understand the lyrics in the first place. One had only to fill in the blanks with whatever nonsense they came across, then find a singer with a high-pitched melodic voice, hire some session musicians and studio time and there you were: a new foreign-act sensation. Especially if one of the TV networks would chose your tune to be the 'love theme' of such and such at some novela that would drag its feet from 8 to 12 months.

Chrystian (born Jose Pereira da Silva Neto on 3 November 1956 in Goiania-GO) was 16 years old in late 1972 when this trend was at its peak. Chrystian was perfect for the role of a romantic balladeer who would woo the hearts (and ears) of millions of TV addicts who watched those saccharine soap-operas six nights a week. He had been a Brazilian country singer since childhood but moved to Sao Paulo where he was trying to 'hit the big time'.

Chrystian was actually hanging out at the RCA Victor studios on Rua Dona Veridiana in Sao Paulo where he used to do back-up singing for other people when a record-producer approached him and told him there was a commission from TV Globo for a love-song that would play every time popular husband-and-wife duo Tarciso Meira and Gloria Menezes showed up on the small screen in their next novela 'Cavalo de aço' (Iron horse) that would beam from 24 January through to 21 August 1973.

TV Globo wanted a singer with a velvety voice and Chrystian's voice was just like an angel's. As Chrystian knew blind-key-board player Sergio Sá aka Paul Bryan had a tune just waiting on the side lines, they went up to Fabio Junior's house (Fabio was aka Jim Saloman) sat themselves down and finished writing 'Don't say goodbye' that fitted like a glove into the drama and went to # 1 as soon as released as a single and stayed at the top for 8 weeks.

Chrystian turned out to be one of the best and most prolific of all Hybrid English-acts having a string of hits like 'Tears' and 'More than you know' while most of those other acts were one-hit-wonders.

Morris Albert was the one and only H.E.A. that broke into the US market having taken his 'Feelings' to #5 at Billboard in 1975.

Dave MacLean aka Jose Carlos Gonzales (Carlão) first hit with 'Me and you' (played on novela 'Os ossos do barão') and then again with 'We said goodbye' both in 1974. 'We said goodbye' was #1 in Mexico and other Latin countries.

ChrystianDave MacLean and Sunday's lead vocalist Helio Eduardo Costa Manso all had beautiful melodic voices. It's a pity the songs they sang although of good quality melodically were such disasters when it came to grammar and meaning. But that's what one gets when one lives in a country with such a huge cultural cringe as Brazil.

Pete Dunaway aka Otavio Augusto Fernandes Cardoso had his biggest hit with 'I'll be fine' played every night on TV Tupi's novela 'Mulheres de areia' which ran from 26 March 1973 through to 5 February 1974.
Light Reflections, a rock band from Sao Paulo kept strong at the charts with 'That love'; Paul Bryan aka Sergio Sá had placed two hits at the charts so far this year: 'Window' and 'Listen'; and now we had a new singer-song-writer from Sao Paulo called Morris Albert aka Mauricio Alberto Kaisermann whose 'The throat' was being well played at DJ Big Ben's show at Salvador's Radio Cultura da Bahia.

before Pete Dunaway fled to TV Globo's Som-Livre had a few hits on TV Tupi's novelas like 'I'll be fine' in 'Mulheres de areia' (1973) and 'Believe me, darling' in 'Os inocentes' (1974).
Pete Dunaway aka Otavio Augusto Fernandes Cardoso soon moved on to TV Globo where he recorded this album and became an insider at Som-Livre, Globo's own recording label.
Most of performers of Hybrid-English songs avoided being photographed but Pete Dunaway went all the way and showed his face on the sleeve of his 1974 album for Som-Livre. 
Sunday were the very first Brazilian act to record in English as if they were a 'foreign-act'. They covered Lou Christie's 'I'm gonna get married' that played incessantly on two of TV Tupi's soap-operas: 'Beto Rockfeller' (ran from 4 November 1968 through to 30 November 1969) and 'Super plá' (ran on TV Tupi from 1st December 1969 through to 16 May 1970). They were a rock-band from S.Paulo. 
blind singer Jean Carlo who started recording 'Eu nasci p'ra você' a cover of Pino Donaggio's 'Sono nato con te' in 1966 turned to recording in English in 1973 for Top-Tape when 'Another song' using a new name Michael Davis. The song was included in the sound-track of 'Semideus' and had a lot of air play. Next year - 1974 - Jean Carlo changed his name yet a 3rd time and became Edward Cliff having recorded 'I'll never walk alone again' which was included in 'SuperManoela'.
Mark Davis who became better known as Fabio Junior later on finally made it into the charts with 'Don't let me cry' penned by Pete Dunaway that found its way onto TV Globo's novela 'O espigão' that ran from 1st April 1974 through to 1st November 1974.
Morris Albert aka Mauricio Alberto Kaisermann (born in Sao Paulo on 7 September 1951) was the only Brazilian act that actually did the almost-impossible: to chart in the USA. Morris wrote, sang and recorded 'Feelings' for Copacabana's Charge Records reaching #1 in the Brazilian charts circa December 1974. Little did he know that 'Feelings' would reach #6 at the Billboard's Hot-100 on 25 October 1975.

Morris Albert recorded a whole album for Charger-Records a label belonging to Copacabana Discos when 'Feelings' got to Number One in the Brazilian charts in December 1974. Little did he know this album would be picked up by RCA to be released world-wide less than a year later when 'Feelings' got to #6 at the Billboard singles' chart.

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