Brasil '66 singles

Discussion in 'Look Around: Sergio Mendes/Brazilian Music Forum' started by Harry, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. lj

    lj Active Member

    Very astute observations Michael. The term turntable hits was used for all those MOR songs that got a lot of airplay on those MOR stations, but very little in record sales. Middle of the Road AKA Easy Listening Music was my kind of music growing up as a teenager in the 1960s. Sure the Beatles and Beach Boys were great to listen to. But for me the easy listening artists such Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme etc. singing the great songs of the great composers of the 1960s such as Jobim, Bacharach, Legrand, Mancini, Van Heusen & Cahn was the pinnacle in pop music. Then with the arrival of groups such as the TJB, BMB, and Brasil 66, this was like icing on the cake. Alas, sadly by 1979 when Billboard Magazine's Easy Listening chart was changed to Adult Contemporary, most of the classic MOR artists had lost their record contracts and even turntable hits were but a memory. Fortunately for me here in San Diego in the 1970s, the huge collection of Brazilian music at the legendary Tower Records filled the void. What a joy it was to browse the record aisles and discover and purchase Brazilian albums which became for me the greatest pop music in the world. A music whose richness and sophistication in melody, harmony and rhythm was without equal.

    Michael in addition to the KMPC and KFI stations in LA, do you recall KBIG AM Radio Catalina in the late 60s early 70s? The signal was weak so they had to sign off at night, but what great middle of the road music they played during the day, with a lot less talk. They had fabulous choral singers who with the amazing vocal acrobatics of Sally Stevens sang a variety of the station's jingles. And KBIG had the late, great DJ Ray Willes with his deep bass voice. He went on to become the announcer of the Barbara Walters Specials.
  2. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member shipped multi-platinum, and nearly FOUR MILLION copies were returned. It's believed only 100,000 (at best) ever made it into the hands of paying customers.
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  3. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    LJ: I'm sorry for the five-month delay, but I'm just now seeing your post!

    I sure do recall KBIG. Their being a daytimer wasn't because their signal was weak. Their signal was weak and they were a daytimer by order of the Federal Communications Commission---because they were on the same spot on the dial (740 AM) as KCBS in San Francisco. They might have been able to get around the daytime-only authorization with a directional signal, but they also had to protect a pre-existing 740 in Phoenix, Arizona and one in Toronto, Canada. And, if I'm not mistaken, there is or was a 740 south of the border. So a directional signal would have had to be pointed due west---out over the Pacific from KBIG's transmitter on Catalina Island. There'd be only a partial signal on the island itself and nothing would reach Los Angeles, so there was no point in nighttime operation.

    By the way, the station, now Christian programming as KBRT, has since moved its transmitter to the mainland in between Corona and Irvine and, thanks to FCC rules that weren't in effect back in the day, operates at night with 190 watts, a low enough wattage to not cause trouble for Phoenix, much less Canada or Mexico. The move inland also eliminated a daytime interference issue with KCBS, since radio waves travel well over open water.
  4. lj

    lj Active Member

    Thanks Michael for your update on why KBIG AM signed off at night. Very interesting indeed. Compare that to the west coast powerhouse LA's 50,000 watt clear channel station KFI, which can be heard throughout the western United States at night. What got me hooked on KBIG in 1970 was how they played tons of songs from Brasil 66 and the TJB.
  5. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    Yep. They and KGIL in San Fernando (1260 AM) both were very good alternatives to KMPC and KFI. We "weird kids" (my term for myself and other Baby Boomers who liked MOR) had a lot to choose from back then. In fact, KGIL is where I first heard Sergio's "Crystal Illusions"....on one of those socked-in early Sunday mornings in the South Bay. Eerie and atmospheric.

    KFI had a monster signal. Pulled them in on a car radio in East Texas in the summer of 1970. Impossible these days, with electronic interference.
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  6. rockdoctor

    rockdoctor New Member

    In the eastern Virginia area, the Sergio Mendes & Brasil'66 singles got a lot of airplay on the AM stations and some FM stations until the release of the Stillness album. After that, Brasil'66 disappeared from the FM stations. The AM stations continued playing the singles from all the subsequent albums until "Vintage 74" and one local AM station often plays the Brasil'66 singles. I have enjoyed Brasil '66 for many years and introduce their music to others when I can.
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  7. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    The first record I had with Sergio on it was the compilation Music Box, I'm pretty sure the first place I heard Sergio was probably on KGHL Radio in Billings, MT, which we used to have on in the store when I first started to work there. It was an AM "easy pop" station, so I heard quite a bit of Herb Alpert and some of the A&M Burt Bacharach there too -- I remember they played Burt's "Are You There (With Another Girl)" and "Bond Street." That was where I first heard Sergio's "Fool on the Hill," Herb's "Jerusalem" and quite a few others.
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  8. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    My first actual Sergio Mendes record was on the FAMILY PORTRAIT album. I'd missed the MUSIC BOX album back then, but I did get FAMILY PORTRAIT. Sergio's track on that one is "Like A Lover", and I liked it well enough to start buying Sergio's A&M albums. It took me many years to realize that "Like A Lover" on FAMILY PORTRAIT is a totally different stereo mix than what was on LOOK AROUND. The stereo stage is set differently, and there's a missing piano riff as the track goes into its instrumental middle.
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  9. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I don't remember if I mentioned this elsewhere but believe it or not my first Sergio album was the 1980 Magic lady lp ( after seeing Brasil 88 perform it on the Mike Douglas show) but as far as Brasil 66 the first one I bought was the Brasil 66 Greatest Hits I was looking for the Herb alpert presents album but at that time in 1983 it was not available to me until a few years later when a used record shop opened up and had multiple copies of not only Brasil 66, 77 etc but of BMB and many of Herb's TJB and solo lps and many many other varieties of music for the very few years of its existence it was my go to store for Classic A&M and other classics I was sad to see it go but at least I still have my classics ( albeit mostly on CD these days) I did own a few of the mono singles but I foolishly gave them away not knowing they were actually different from the album versions way back in the late 80s ( I wasn't very wise back then)
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  10. Bonnie Johnson said: "Most of them when they started out couldn't even play their instruments properly. When people went to listen to them at places like the Whiskey A Go Go and Pandora's Box the quality of their music was much less than what was coming out on their albums. I guess people hear what they want to hear. "

    Maybe there is a bit of a parallel between that and the fact that most of the female vocals on the B'66 records were Lani Hall. (I know, this has been discussed in at least one other thread on this forum.)
    Maybe that explains why there are no available recordings of the first line-up of B66, and very few of the 2nd (with Karen Philip and Dom Romao). The live vocal sound of the female front-line was very different from the studio recordings.
    I wouldn't call Brasil '66 a "manufactured" band, though. They were hardly a studio-only project (like Steely Dan later became). The instrumental work was all within the band -- excepting a few orchestrations and Joe Pisano's guitar.
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  11. Michael Hagerty wrote:
    "it never was an issue until The Monkees, at which point it became a matter of credibility that a group play its own instruments. Never mind that The Byrds' "Mister Tambourine Man" was a Wrecking Crew project, as was everything by the Mamas & Papas as well as Simon and Garfunkel."

    The Byrds' first Columbia single was really a Jim McGuinn arrangement -- in which he played the electric 12-string guitar, and did the lead vocal. It was Jim's idea for the backing musicians to play like they did on the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" (chunk, chunk -- rhythm). I think Terry Melcher is credited as producer, but I don't know what particular contributions he made to the music. Jim Dickson was very important to that band's development. But that's off-topic here, isn't it?
  12. Mr. Hagerty's explanations and insights are very good, as usual.

    lj put it concisely with the term "turntable hits"

    What Michael explained makes sense.
    But, from the record company's stand-point -- the reason a record label licenses (and encourages) a radio station to play the records, is to stimulate record sales, obviously.
    So, why would a record company be happy with the practice of repeated rotation / radio airplay for records that end up not selling well? (Did the license fees that radio stations paid to the labels provide sufficient revenue to justify continued airplay, from the record label's stand-point? The radio station's goal was to get enough listeners so that more money could be gotten from advertisers.)

    Michael's explanation about the 30s-50s demographic that was targeted by A.C. / M.O.R. / Easy-Listening -- not buying many records and being content to listen to radio (for-free), makes sense.
    But I would usually think that there is more of a correlation between airplay and record sales, generally speaking.

    Who was buying the Carpenters records in the (first half of the) 1970s? I suspected it was mostly the traditional, older (1960s) A&M audience. But, who knows, maybe there were more teenage and 20-something "Rock" fans who were closet Carpenters record buyers (and maybe also, a few secret John Denver fans too : ) -- than we would have thought? A lot of you boomers, on this forum, are among that demographic, I bet.
    Steven J. Gross likes this.
  13. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    Intuitive Samba:

    First, radio stations don't and didn't pay license fees to the labels. They pay mechanical reproduction rights fees to the publishers of the music, through BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Any expense was that of the record company, which pressed, mailed and promoted free copies of their product to the radio stations, hoping for airplay that might stimulate sales.

    In those days, a record company lived in hope. Rather than being upset that a radio station is playing a song that wasn't selling well, it would hope that continued airplay would finally spur sales. That is, until the next single or album came along, at which point, the label's promo person would urge the station to stop playing the old, dead one and jump on the new one.

    As for the adult demographic back in the 60s and 70s, the hope was to sell some albums to them by repeated exposure of singles on MOR/Adult Contemporary radio. They didn't buy records in anywhere near the numbers that Boomers were buying them, but they could generate enough sales to keep an album from being a financial loss. In fact, before Jerry Moss saw the future at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, A&M could best be described as a Latin-flavored jazz and pop label that used radio airplay to sell albums to adults.

    Carpenters sales for CLOSE TO YOU, CARPENTERS and A SONG FOR YOU were well beyond the volumes of anything but the TJB's biggest records. Top 40 radio broke the Carpenters and a lot of teens and young adults (likely skewing female) bought those records.
  14. Otis Redding's "Sittin' on The Dock of the Bay"
    wasn't much of a hit (except maybe a turntable hit) for Sergio (and Brasil '66).

    Maybe it would have been no better if Sergio did an arrangement of "Spooky" by Classics IV.
    That has a Samba-rhythm to it (the drum-beat). I hear it in my head, with a slightly-faster tempo than the Classics IV version. It was originally a Soul-Jazz sax instrumental tune.

    I had mentioned that song in post #27 of "BRAZILIAN MUSIC IN USA--1967--50 YEARS AGO"

    Maybe I should instead place this (here) post to:
    Songs that Sergio should have arranged and Lani should have sung
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  15. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    Intuitive Samba: Wouldn't have mattered. The era of MOR-ish cover versions of Top 40 hits having any success at all was over. "Fool on the Hill" was probably the last.

    It was also the inevitable end for Sergio and Brasil '66 in terms of chart success. "Fool on the Hill" hit #6, "Scarborough Fair" #16 (there was the warning signal), and a song everyone now says they love, "Pretty World", which wasn't a cover of a Top 40 hit, only got to #62.

    And then they follow with four covers of hits ("Dock of the Bay", "Wichita Lineman", "Norwegian Wood"---not a single for the Beatles, but played like it was by radio at the time---and "For What It's Worth") and the chart action gets worse still---66, 95, 107 and 101 (and, as we've discussed, 95, 107 and 101 mean pretty much the same thing---with 62 and 66 not that much better, really).
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  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    The radio station I listened to - and later worked for - played "Pretty World" quite a bit, and even used a Pams-produced jingle in the years after:

    I would bet that "Pretty World" scored a lot higher in an Adult Contemporary category.
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  17. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    It did. Number four. Of course, we've discussed the basic uselessness of the Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary chart. But even on that chart, "Pretty World" was pretty close to the end of the line. From there, it was #34 for "Wichita Lineman" and #32 for "Norwegian Wood".

    And here's further evidence that the Easy Listening chart was detached from even the dubious reality of the Hot 100: "Wichita Lineman" made #95 on the Hot 100, but #34 on the Easy Listening chart. "For What It's Worth" bubbled under at #101, but went to #10 Easy Listening.

    After that? #21 Easy Listening for "Chelsea Morning", which did not chart on the Hot 100 or Bubbling Under charts, and then nothing until "Love Music" three years later (#113 pop, #24 AC).

    I don't want to know how few copies sold that works out to.
  18. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Which is really too bad, because "Love Music" and "Chelsea Morning" are two of Sergio's very best singles, in my opinion. I heard both of them for the first time on KGHL radio, Billings MT which was an adult-contemporary station at the time.

    All artists have a career peak and then run their course, with it being almost impossible to get back onto the charts afterward; but I always wondered if that "'66" in Sergio 's group's name might not have exacerbated the problem somewhat with him. He seemed literally out of date. And then "'77," which came along in 1971 might have been a little too out there and weird. (It did seem really odd to look at at the time, I remember that.) Although, it must be stated, the singles after "Fool on the Hill" and "Scarborough Fair" were not exactly what was hitting the charts by that time -- heavy orchestration was on its way out. That's undoubtedly why the orchestrations were trimmed way back for the Stillness album. By then, though, the group's momentum was over.
  19. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    That is a truly awful musical "allusion" to Pretty World, IMNSHO. :) It reminds me in a way of a kind of funny old Time Life Records set called "As You Remember Them", which purported to "recreate" original hit arrangements in new STEREO! recordings. The set had a ton of TJB redo's, which weren't awful, but their "recreations" of Brasil '66 were almost cringe inducing in terms of the vocalists they had (a mother and daughter duo IIRC).
  20. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    I remember my dad giving me a couple of those "sound sheet" magazine inserts featuring that "As You Remember Them" series. I still have one or two of those somewhere, I think. The sound sheet started with a 78 RPM recording of an original swing era piece, followed by its recreation in, yes, glorious brand new stereo sound. I do think I heard a snippet of a cheap rendition of "A Taste of Honey" (TJB-style) on there as well. We never bought any of the records in the set. But if I ever see one in a dollar bin, I'll have to bring it home, clean it up and give it a spin just for giggles.

    Those "fake versions of hits" records were popular back in the 70s--I recall seeing one on TV all the time. They used to mention the group name--I'd know it if I heard it, but they always spoke it quickly in a matter-of-fact way, so maybe we wouldn't notice. :wink:
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  21. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    They were Very crafty in their promotion just like another Pesky Label we all remember ( Pickwick comes to mind as we have discussed in the past) i saw Many Many of these Fake Hits albums in the stores they were everywhere. Even though I was just a kid in the 70s I always went by my gut and I knew something about them wasn't real so I always held out for the Real Thing. And probably saved Many a dollar and cent in Allowance money back then But however Sometimes some of those cutout or Clearance sales where the L.p.s were going from between a quarter to dollar ( which I took advantage of) always had a couple real Good finds.
  22. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    The Time Life "recreations" were shepherded by Billy May, certainly no slouch. Here's a funny bit of trivia, though: a bunch of the May "recreations" turn up on various Lounge compilation CDs listed as the original (the Walter Wanderley Summer Samba comes immediately to mind -- I knew the minute I heard it on CD it wasn't the original Wanderley, but since I *do* have the complete As You Remember Them, I was able to verify). BTW, for TJB fans, the first set of records came with a big illustrated book that has a pretty funny caricature of a certain trumpeter in a really silly Matador outfit.
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  23. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    OK, don't say I didn't warn you (someone has uploaded a ton, but not all, of the albums -- couldn't find Pretty World, this will have to suffice):

  24. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    It sounds like Jack Sheldon "doing" Sergio in the opening LOL.
  25. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    Dear Lord!

    What's really funny is that far more people (especially in the demographic that these sets appealed to) would remember Nat King Cole's version of the song, or its inclusion in the musical "Ziegfeld Girl", than from a Sergio Mendes album that peaked at #33.
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