Saturday night, 14 January 1961, at around 9:30 PM Tito Madi whose real name is Chauki Madi, 31 years old, single, living on Rua Melo Alves, 500, Jardim America, was at Teatro Record's backstage waiting to be called onstage to receive a Chico Viola Award for 'Menina moça' his Columbia record which was one of the 25 best selling singles of 1959.
In a matter of minutes Tito Madi had to be rushed to Hospital das Clinicas's Emergency Room with a head injury that covered him in blood. The mess was great. Madi got 10 stiches on his skull but apparently the cut was not deep. How did it all happen? Fellow singer João Gilberto who was waiting to receive a Chico Viola Award for 'O amor, o sorriso e a flor' - the album of the year - had smashed a guitar on top of Tito's head causing all the commotion.
17 January 1961 - Tuesday - 'Ultima Hora' tells its version of how it happened. João Gilberto who had been playing his acoustic guitar backstage was told to quiet down as the noise was coming through to the audience disturbing the function. Apparently João got angry at the way Tito Madi had asked for silence - 'Psiu! meaning 'shoo!' - lifted the said-musical-intrumental and struck Tito's head full on.
A police inquest was open at a near-by police station. Even though Tito Madi tried to shield his aggressor from prosecution - cooking up a story he had brushed his head against some stairs - he was contradicted by the confession of an eye-witness, Antonio Lafuente Baston, 60 years old, living on Rua Maceió, 90. Mr Lafuente said he saw João Gilberto smashing a guitar on top of Tito Madi's head, who immediately lost his sense and colapsed on the floor.
Singers Isaurinha Garcia (received the trophy for 'Ninho do Nonô) and Elza Soares (for 'Se acaso você chegasse') who were near by, saw the whole thing and had their evening gowns besmirched with Tito's blood corroborated the story at the P.D.
'Ultima Hora' 17 January 1961.
19 January 1961 - Thursday - Five days after the fracas, João Gilberto comes out of the shadows - in far away Rio de Janeiro - to give 'Ultima Hora' his version of what happened on Saturday night at Teatro Record's backstage: 'Tito Madi was the aggressor not me!'
'Elza Soares and Isaurinha Garcia had invited me to keep them company at their dressing room. Elza started singing on the spur-of-the-moment and I accompanied her on my guitar. That's when we heard a loud thud on the wall coming from the next dressing room. I cried: 'Stop that, you jerk!' (Para com isso, seu ignorante!)'.
'A moment later who comes into the room but Tito Madi, the 'jerk' himself. He was raring to fight having pushed me aside with his knees. Elza and Isaurinha tried to avoid a scuffle but to no avail. I even remarked I didn't want to get upset because I was expected to sing onstage in a few minutes. Tito couldn't control his rage and slapped me hard. That's when I smashed the guitar on his head. That's all, folks!'
'Ultima Hora' 19 January 1961.
At São Paulo's Teatro Record - on 14 January 1960, while waiting backstage at presentation of 'Chico Viola' Awards for the best selling recording artists of 1959 - João Gilberto lifted the acoustic guitar he had been playing and crashed it down on Tito Madi's head.
Revista do Radio tells the whole fracas...
According to Revista do Radio, the guitar which got smashed in the fracas didn't belong to João Gilberto but to Luiz Claudio. The only thing RR doesn't explain is how Luiz Claudio's guitar could have been in São Paulo when Luiz Claudio wasn't in the list of Chico Viola's awardees.
Radiolandia #346 tells the whole story... with some inaccuracies...
Tito Madi married Lucia Maria Hemaís on 21st January 1960, only a week after having been hit on head by a guitar wielded by João Gilberto. The wedding was at Saint Ignacio's Church at 6:00 PM.
some years later - Tito Madi with Lucia Maria, daughter & son.