Brasil '66 singles

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

  1. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Very clever in that They tried to duplicate it exactly But the vocalists to me are a Dead giveaway Sergio. Lani and Karen have Distictive voices and this series should have the words "Avoid At All Costs" written all over them.but I have to give Billy May Some Credit For Trying .
    Steven J. Gross likes this.
  2. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    These were likely meant to be used as background music for cocktail parties that the adults had back in the 60s. Rather than a full album by one artist, these would have a bunch of songs that were familiar from radio, TV, etc., played in a similar style to the hit version, and played with the volume turned low. Musical wallpaper.
    Steven J. Gross and Bobberman like this.
  3. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    There's nothing like good taste.

    And these albums were nothing like good taste.
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  4. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I Totally Agree Michael. I first saw these particular LPs at a second hand store in the late 80s I was suspicious immediately and had a gut feeling I should avoid it and this thread Confirmed my younger suspicions and I'm glad I held out for the Real deals
  5. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    Well, As You Remember Them was a direct result of the huge success of Time-Life's "Swing Era" sets, which offered re-recordings of 1930s through early 1950s material (with one album devoted to Benny Goodman's 70s output), which frankly makes more sense than redoing then relatively recent material. That said, the weird thing about As You Remember Them is that it started as an *instrumental* series (the first several volumes were even branded that way), but they started branching out into vocal "recreations" later, none of which sounded remotely like the originals, at least in terms of the vocalists. I've always wondered how the licensing deals went down with something like this -- wouldn't someone like Grusin have complained about his orchestrations being lifted whole cloth?
  6. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    Not if he got a cut.
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  7. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    It's All about The Licensing.
  8. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    The economics of this particular series kind of baffle me, since these were all newly done recordings (the Swing Era utilized some Glen Gray stereo recreations of other big bands' hits that had been recorded in the late fifties, along with the newly recorded stuff). You had to pay Billy May, you had to pay all the musicians, you had to do the mechanical royalties and all of that hoohah, and I just have to wonder how they handled the actual original arrangers/orchestrators. I'd love to be able to talk to someone who either knows or maybe even was around during the deal making. Maybe that same person could solve the enduring mystery of Terry Baxter, but I digress. :)
    Intuitive Samba likes this.
  9. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    When we sold 8-tracks, I kept seeing "soundalike" tapes with plain-ish labels, but upon listening they were clearly just dubs of the real thing. I got into more than one argument where the customer would say "It's not really Chicago, it just sounds like them" and I would say "Dude, nobody can play guitar like that except Terry Kath" and so on.

    My grandpa had that Swing Era series -- I never realized they were re-recordings.
    Intuitive Samba likes this.
  10. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    One final comment on that abhorrent You Stepped Out of a Dream -- one of the things I noticed repeatedly on the As You Remember Them versions is that while the orchestral recreations were often spot on (as the Grusin orchestration is -- more or less, anyway -- here), the mixes were often profoundly different. There's a whole emphasis on the midrange instruments on this version that the original doesn't have. Also, whoever "copied" Sergio's brief solo should have practiced a bit more -- his phrasing is completely wrong. That's also unusual, since as mentioned the instrumental/orchestral playing tended to be A+ most of the time.
  11. Out of curiosity, I wish I could hear these, so I could better understand what J.M.K. is saying -- as a reference, at least.
    Mr. JMK sounds like he has high musical standards and a very good ear. I would be intimidated by the prospect of being in a band with him (or on the same stage, in any way, for that matter)!
    Sergio, too, was a demanding, stern band-leader, in his own right -- from what I've gathered.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  12. I don't know if there's previously been a discussion (on this forum) of the song choices on Brasil '66 records of the dichotomy between the --
    Brasilian songs,
    the (Anglo-)American covers.

    I notice the absence of any Beatle or contemporary American Rock-Pop covers in Brasil '65, or any of Sergio's pre-1966 output.
    I read something about how Lou Adler actually influenced or at least provided some ideas for the direction and formula (approach taken by) Brasil '66. e.g.: songs like: "Going out of My Head"
    I think the arrangement/rendition that Sergio made of "Going Out Of My Head" is quite wonderful and is classic. (It was included on the Greatest Hits compilation.) But, in some ways, I think the original is more moving and powerful with the introduction being the way it is. But both are wonderful. Sergio deliberately chose to start his arrangement on a different section (structural passage) of the song.

    However -- here is my main point -- my guess is that Sergio's musical heart was only really in the Brasilian songs, and not those commercially-motivated choices of Anglo-American cover songs. Maybe those song choices came from Sergio's desire to "break" America, or even commercial pressure from Jerry Moss.

    For example, Sergio's first Beatle cover -- "Day Tripper" -- his piano solo has nothing to do with the song. It isn't based on the harmonic structure (chord changes) of the song. It sounds almost like a Vince Guaraldi solo from that era -- that was pasted into (imposed upon) what is otherwise a Beatle cover. It doesn't seem to fit the Beatle song. But that's just my opinion.
    In my own opinion, a song like "The Word", or even "Drive my Car" would have worked better, musically, for Brasil '66. But those were not singles from the Beatles, so that's why they weren't considered as song choices for B'66. It's pretty obvious that song choices, like those Beatle covers, were based on the fact that a song was a hit single, getting airplay (in the U.S.).

    "Fool on the Hill" ended up being Serigo's most successful, and best-known Beatle cover.

    Maybe Sergio did, in some instances, genuinely like some of those Beatle songs, or at least the Bacharach songs. Perhaps he liked the creative challenge of adapting and re-interpreting and arranging a song.
    Maybe he found musical value in the chord changes -- and at least found interest in approaching the harmonic structure the way a Jazz musician would -- just in terms of harmonic progressions and the possibilities that stem from those.
    And, purely thinking in terms of music, as an arranger, he might have thought -- what can I do with this that will make it interesting and different from the original?

    I think it is fitting that -- to this day -- the song Sergio had the biggest impact with, and that he is still best-known and remember for is "Mas Que Nada."
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  13. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

    Actually, there *is* a Brasil '65 Beatles cover, as I've discussed previously here. It's a really interesting "bridge" from the Atlantic sound to the Brasil '66 sound. Weirdly, the entire single isn't on YouTube, but the following snippet is (with some kind of scary pics of Annamaria Valle LOL):

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  14. Ooops! --
    I should have scoured Y.T. more before I made that statement about an "abscence of any Beatle covers" pre-1966 by Sergio.

    The You Tube post that JMK pointed to

    is only 1m03s.

    I found what I think is the entire audio of that recording (of "All My Loving").
    In fact, it is posted, alongside the other side of the 45 -- the song that it is backed with ("Telephone Song").

    It's halfway-through, starting at 1m42s

    Is the catalogue number: "45-5056" ?

    "Telephone Song"
    has a number:


    ... Whereas, the flip-side ("All My Lovin'")

  15. Speaking of the Beatles' song "All My Loving" --

    Do you know that Paul McCartney got the beginning of his song's melody (not really intentionally or consciously, but intuitively) from what he remembered hearing in a melodic fragment of Dave Brubeck's piano solo that stood out to him -- near the end, before the drums shift tempo and Paul Desmond starts alto sax soloing --
    @ 26m11s into the album _Time Out_

    "Kathy's Waltz"

    1m02 into the track:
  16. Maybe, instead of doing "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay",
    B'66 could have covered --
    "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon (and Garfunkel).

    I'm the great arm-chair, historically-revisionist fantasy A&M A&R man!

    It's too bad, what Mr. Hagerty has been saying about the changing tides (trends) of the late-1960s in the U.S. pop market, in respect to major-label artists covering current hits --
    "Undun" by Randy Bachman (The Guess Who) --
    There's also "Living in the Past" by Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). -- That record possesses so many of the elements of a Brasil '66 record (Sergio arrangement) -- except the lead vocalist. Even Martin Barre's rhythm guitar sounds like what's on the B'66 arrangements/productions (Joe Pisano?).
    In fact, that song was first recorded and released in the U.K. in 1969, where it was a hit.
    Those of you who remember American radio back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, please tell me -- Was that song getting airplay in '69, or did that not happen until the American re-release in 1972. (There was also a double-album compilation released that year in which that song was its title track.)
  17. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    Intuitive Samba: Here's the problem: Lyrics began to matter. Music became personal as '68 morphed into '69, and artists seemed less authentic doing songs that others popularized or whose lyrics didn't seem to fit their persona.

    Brasil '66 scored biggest with the songs they introduced to the American audience ("Mais Que Nada") and with songs that you could reasonably believe Lani or Janis meaning the words to ("The Look of Love").

    "The Fool on the Hill" probably worked because it was an album cut for the Beatles, not a single---most people in the Brasil '66 audience most likely weren't familiar with the Beatles' version. But "Scarborough Fair" stalled at #16---most likely because Simon & Garfunkel hit big with it and the audience identified the song with them. The era of the cover was ending. "Mrs. Robinson" would have suffered a similar fate, I think.

    Basically, for a group that depended on the songwriting of others, 1968-1969 was the beginning of the end. It didn't just hit Brasil '66---talk to the Sandpipers, the Lettermen and a handful of other once-popular 60s vocal groups. The times changed.

    As to "Living in the Past", it probably got some airplay on FM progressive rock and freeform stations from its original release, but it didn't get any significant Top 40 play until its re-release in '72.
  18. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I was just going to say something along the same lines. In the beginning of the rock era it was pretty much a given that almost any artist (most often singers) would cover the hits of the day. It wouldn't make much sense for them to cover "album cuts," because they don't have the name-recognition value.

    Older folks probably thought they were being "cool" when they bought a Ray Coniff album featuring covers of Beatles tunes.

    That all changed when more and more artists began to write their own songs. For whatever reason, the original "hit" version of a song became the definitive version and it made less sense for older artists to cover tunes. Sergio and company were kind of a hybrid act in that they wrote some of their own stuff, but not very much.
  19. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Sergio also brought some of the best music of Brazil to the US market. I wouldn't have gotten into the music had I not had early influences by Brasil '66. My dad also had some of those easy listening records featuring Bossa Nova, so I knew the melodies.

    To be honest, I am an album listener, so the singles market really never meant anything to me.
  20. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Well-Known Member

    Ah, the Ray Conniff (NAME OF HIT SONG FROM SIX MONTHS AGO) AND OTHER GREAT HITS OF TODAY FEATURING (list of ten more hit songs from six months ago) albums. Always a very pretty girl on the cover and 10-12 songs that Conniff and Company had absolutely no business doing.


    For the uninitiated, here's how hopeless these things were. Remember, this song is about a guy who's minutes from committing suicide because of how horrendous life has been. Apparently, they think it's a toothpaste jingle:

  21. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    That's me too, outside of the fact that I was in the business so I was pretty vitally interested in singles from that angle. And I do like quite a few "one-off" singles where the album was basically a cash grab and/or the act was a one-hit wonder. But with most of my favorite artists, I could make a list of favorite songs and there would be just as many, or more, album cuts on the list as there would be singles.
    Rudy likes this.
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    I was always an album person too, but once I latched onto the fact that the 45s of these old 60s and early 70s tracks often had unique mixes that offered a "new way" of hearing old familiar favorites, I began an effort to uncover those of my top artists.

    So, locating singles for Brasil '66 and the Tijuana Brass and the Carpenters has been a fun diversion over the last decade or so.
  23. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    My only interest in singles is for non-album B-sides. At least in the days of 45s, though, it was a good way to sample an artist before taking a gamble on an entire album. Or if I was too anxious to wait for the LP. :laugh: But I didn't buy things strictly because they were "hits." I think I have about 1½ racks of 45s in my "serious" collection, which would be maybe 50-60 singles tops. I have boxes of old "beaters" that I could probably toss in the trash and never miss; most of those were promos I got from a now-defunct studio not far from me.
  24. When I think about it -- Jethro Tull's song: "Living in the Past" wasn't on the 2nd Tull album -- Stand Up (1969).
    (In fact, it may have been recorded even a bit after that album was tracked.)
    I believe that that song was a hit in the U.K. in 1969, when it as first released as a single (45).
    If that song wasn't on any Jethro Tull _album_, maybe no* album-orientated FM rock station in the U.S. played it (* or, at least, not much).
    That changed when the double-album compilation (of the same name/title) was released in 1972.
    -- Or, fill in the details (and correct me) -- if you know better or more than I do.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  25. In the late 1970s, Santana had a hit with a cover of the Zombies' "She's Not There."
    Maybe it was only a small hit ; again, please fill me in on more insights about this.

    I like to think that, of all of the "underground" FM-Rock A.O.R. groups, Santana had a sound that was relatively closest to Brasil '66, in a sense. I mean, not really close -- but what other Rock band was closer? (Several bands used Latin rhythms and percussion, here-and-there, but-- never mind -- That's not my intended main point here.)

    Maybe things had changed yet again by the late 1970s (in respect to that later-day hit by Santana).

    More broadly-speaking, though -- there were popular recording artists (who had hits in the U.S. throughout the 1970s) who did covers. But, maybe some of those songs weren't previously hits for other artists (particularly in the U.S. market).
    For one -- the Carpenters, e.g.

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