100 ESSENTIAL BRAZILIAN SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 4: The 1970s

Brazil’s music transition into the 70s was marked by the consolidation of MPB (Música Popular Brasileira, Brazilian Popular Music) which now incorporates into its repertoire different rhythms, not only from Brazil’s different regions (such as the northeastern baião), but also from foreign countries (like Jamaican reggae). Standout artists of the 70s MPB are, among others, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Gal Costa, Simone, Elis Regina, Rita Lee and Maria Bethânia.

The Jovem Guarda had already made its appearance in the 60s and was still very popular in the beginning of the 70s. Nevertheless, Brazil was under military dictatorship at that time, and the cultural elites accused these artists of being “alienated” from the country’s social and political problems; as a result, the movement soon lost its strength.

Without the presence of the nonchalant Jovem Guarda, a different genre of popular romantic music emerged, which would gain the pejorative epithet “cafona“, then replaced by “brega” (both words meaning “tacky”). Once the name got accepted by its fans, brega music became a trend and won a wide audience. Many artists belong to this genre, although its fame was consolidated by Waldick Soriano. Since the end of the Jovem Guarda, Roberto Carlos also approached a more romantic, brega style; nevertheless, he managed to establish his position as the country’s most popular singer.

The decade of the 70s, together with the 60s, gave some of the most beautiful and timeless songs of Brazil’s cultural legacy. I really had a hard time to choose just a few among the many great songs of this period. This is the list I finally put together:


32) Maria Creuza, Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes – “Eu sei que vou te amar” (1970) 

This incredibly beautiful song (English: “I know I will love you“) was composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes. Although initially recorded by Maysa, it would become a classic when performed live in Buenos Aires by Vinícius de Moraes, together with two iconic artists of Brazil’s music stage of the 70s: Vinicius’s favourite vocalist Maria Creuza and his long-time partner, singer and guitarist Toquinho. He would  later include it on his 1970 album En ‘la Fusa’ con Maria Creuza y Toquinho (also known as “Grabado en Buenos Aires con Maria Creuza y Toquinho”). The amazing melody by Tom Jobim, and Vinicius’ impassioned lyrics on the immortality of love would establish “Eu sei que vou te amar” as one of Brazil’s quintessential songs. Indeed, it was voted the best Brazilian song of all times in a survey organized by Revista Bula.

 

33) Wilson Simonal – “País Tropical” (1970) 

“Tropical Country” was composed by Jorge Ben Jor, but it became a hit when singer Wilson Simonal released it on his 1970 Album, Simonal.

Over the years, the song would be increasingly credited to its author, overshadowing the success of the first version by Simonal. It has also been adapted by many composers and singers like Sergio Mendes, Ivete Sangalo, or even Shakira, but also by Jorge Ben Jor himelf, on his album Tropical in 1976.

 

34) Paulinho da Viola – “Foi um Rio que Passou em Minha Vida(1970) 

“It was a river that passed in my life” is the song that gives the name to the second album of carioca sambista (samba composer) Paulinho da Viola.

The song was a huge success, being sung by the masses during Rio’s carnival, and became Brazil’s biggest hit of the 1970, projecting Paulinho nationally.

 

35) Vinicius de Moraes and Toquinho – “Tarde em Itapoã ” (1970)

This is another fruit of Toquinho’s long partnership with Vinicius de Moraes, which would last until Vinicius death in 1980. Composer and performer with 50 years of sucessful career, Toquinho has to date 84 records released, over 450 compositions and about 8,500 shows in Brazil and abroad.

This song (“Afternoon in Itapoã”) immortalizes Itapuã as a serene, romantic and exuberant place, located 20 km from the center of Salvador de Bahia. Unfortunately, spending an afternoon in Itapuã is no longer the quiet program Vinícius and Toquinho described: the neighborhood became Salvador’s noisiest and one of the most polluted.

 

36) Chico Buarque – “Construção” (1971)

Brazil in the early 1970s was a land of paradoxes: under military government, the so-called “Brazilian Miracle” promised record economic growth; as a result, construction was booming. Workers though, would spend endless hours at the constructions and earned very little.

This was also a period when censorship hampered artistic freedom of expression. Fearing persecution, Chico Buarque spent a brief period of exile in Italy; but longing his beloved Brazil, he returned determined to show his disagreement with the situation. And he managed to create a masterpiece.

“Construction” is the chronicle of the life and death of a construction worker. The character of the song leaves the house, kisses his wife and children and goes to work. There he works “as if he were a machine”. Finally, he falls from the scaffolding in the middle of the street “like a package, disrupting the traffic”.

The lyrics are truly brilliant, written in dodecasyllable verses with each sentence ending with a proparoxytone word (that is, stressed on the antepenultimate syllable). The stanzas are repeated three times, with some keywords being changed position; these changes make the understanding of the lyrics ambiguous as it is not clear whether the worker dies as a result of the bad working conditions or he commits suicide, desperate in the face of his scant life prospect.

“Construction” would not be so overwhelming without the symphonic, imposing arrangement conceived by Rogério Duprat, who uses the orchestra as a sinister component, emulating the chaotic noises of the metropolis, its horns and buildings under construction.

The song is a strong critic of workers’ alienation in a modern, urban capitalist society; it is still a reference song to understand a thorny period of Brazil’s history. Deservedly, “Construção” was selected by Rolling Stone magazine as the greatest Brazilian song of all times.

 

37) Maria Creuza – “Você Abusou ” (1971)

The Baianos Antônio Carlos and Jocáfi composed and first sung this beautiful song (“You abused”), which was successful with the sultry voice of Maria Creuza -who later married Antônio Carlos.

It became an international hit, particularly in France, where it was later adapted by Michel Fugain with the nameFais comme l’oiseau”; other famous versions are those by Celia Cruz and Stevie Wonder.

 

38) Nara Leão – “Insensatez” (1971)

“How foolish” is a bossa nova song composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim, with lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes. The song resembles Chopin’s prelude in E minor.

It has been re-recorded many times by Brazilian and foreign artists such as Olivia Newton-JohnLiberace, Iggy Pop, and Pat Metheny. Nevertheless, I love this version, performed by “the muse of bossa nova”, Nara Leão.

 

39) Roberto Carlos – “Detalhes” (1971)

Latin pop superstar Roberto Carlos is a major figure in Brazil – and worldwide: his popularity as romantic ballad singer is perhaps rivalled only by Julio Iglesias.

During the 60s he initiated a major revolution; in a period when the Beatles were taking over the world, Carlos became their Brazilian counterpart as the leader of the Jovem Guarda. Initially a TV show, this “Young Guard” soon became not only a musical style, but also a behavioral, fashion and language influence to an entire generation. With his light music and simple lyrics, he was a deep contrast to “serious”, “somber” MPB. Managing to pursue a successful career throughout the years, Roberto Carlos is arguably the most successful romantic artist in Brazil, gaining the title of “The King”.

Together with his longtime partner Erasmo Carlos, he composed this timeless ballad whose lyrics are, according to Rolling Stone Brazil: “…among the most beautiful in the history of music, in any of the five continents”.

 

40) Gal Costa – “Vapor Barato” (1971)

Arguably one of Brazil’s most amazing voices, a representative figure of the Tropicália movement, an indisputable timeless icon. Gal Costa is a star that keeps shining for over 5 decades.

Back in the 70s, things were not easy for Gal. While all her friends had gone away, exiled by the dictatorship, she decided to stay in Brazil, as part of the “resistance”. And she managed to become the muse of Tropicália with the show Gal a Todo Vapor. Directed by Wally Solomon, the show was recorded in her outstanding double album Fa-Tal.

“Vapor Barato”, included in Fa-Tal is about the disenchantment of the post-1968 years, of course expressed in a very poetical, metaphorical way so as to remain under the radar of censorship. Although now considered a timeless song, it had been almost forgotten until filmmaker Walter Salles “rescued” it by including it in the soundtrack of the film Terra Estrangeira (Foreign land).

41) Jorge Ben – “Filho Maravilha” (1972)

Brazilians’ passion for football (soccer) is not a secret; therefore, a song devoted to a football player comes to no surprise. “Filho Maravilha” is a song written by one of the most important Brazilian artists, singer and songwriter Jorge Ben (later renamed Jorge Ben Jor), and refers to Brazilian football player João Batista de Sales, better known as “Fio Maravilha”.

Always innovative and open-minded, Jorge Ben has been a member of most of the important movements of 20th Brazilian popular music. He is the author of two of the most legendary samba songs: “Mas Que Nada” and “País Tropical“.

 

42) Sérgio Sampaio – “Eu Quero é Botar Meu Bloco na Rua” (1972)

Sérgio Sampaio was not a mainstream artist. His elaborate lyrics, often with literary references (he was an admirer of Franz Kafka) did not enjoy much commercial success. Nevertheless, his enormous talent and his irreverent manners were invariably praised by critics and a selected public.

He did have one big hit, “Eu Quero é Botar Meu Bloco na Rua” (I want to throw my troops on the streets), a song that refers, as many songs of that period, to the military dictatorship and Sampaio’s wish that everybody goes out and express anything they had keep to themselves.

43) Milton Nascimento – “San Vicente” (1972)

Milton Nascimento is one of Brazil’s most talented and influential artists, with a sublime tenor voice “that often slips into an ethereal falsetto, (…) as that of an angel”, the New York Times once wrote.

San Vicente is one of his greatest classics; it has become an anthem, both in Brazil and other Latin America countries. Recorded in 1972 in the double collective album Clube da Esquina, it is, without any doubt, one of the most beautiful songs of the Brazilian popular songbook. Milton has interpreted it with many other artists, of which those with the remarkable Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos and the Argentinian iconic singer Mercedes Sosa are just marvellous.

 

44) Airto Moreira – “Tombo In 7/4” (1973)

The most iconic percussionist of the 70s –and still one of the world’s greatest, Airto Moreira (or just Airto) helped make percussion an essential part of modern jazz; he has collaborated with the greatest names of jazz such as Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Chick Corea.

This song was part of his masterful 1973 album “Fingers”, and was composed together with Uruguayan artist Hugo Fattoruso. What Airto probably never imagined was that “Tombo In 7/4” would become a huge mainstream success, until German group Bellini sampled it in 1997 to create the super hit “Samba de Janeiro”.

 

45) Novos Baianos – “Samba da Minha Terra” (1973)

Os Novos Baianos is regarded as one of the most important and revolutionary groups in Brazilian music. They had a primordial role in the fusion of rock with Brazilian folklore rhythms, helping along the evolution of MPB. Formed in Salvador, Bahia in the late ’60s by Paulinho Boca de Cantor , Pepeu Gomes , Moraes MoreiraBaby Consuelo and Luiz Galvão.

This song belongs to their third record, Novos Baianos F. C.; it displays the enormous talent of the band, particularly through the voice and violão (acoustic guitar) of Moraes Moreira, and the electric guitar of virtuoso Pepeu Gomes.

 

46) Raul Seixas – “Metamorfose Ambulante” (1973)

Raul Seixas is without any doubt one of Brazil’s fundamental rock musicians. In spite of his premature death at 44 years old in 1989, “Raulzito” –his nickname- remains a strong influence to popular music and a timeless idol for Brazilian people.

His expressive and existentialist discography was heavily marked by his collaboration with the outstanding novelist Paulo Coelho. From his numerous hits I find this song (“Walking metamorphosis”) is one of the most beautiful; it was released in his acclaimed debut album Krig-ha, Bandolo!

 

47) Fagner – “Canteiros” (1973)

Raimundo Fagner (or just Fagner) is a singer, composer, musician, actor and music producer. He has managed to remain highly successful from the beginning of his career in the 70s till nowadays, not only in Brazil, but also abroad -particularly in Spanish-speaking countries.

During his long career he has recorded in several countries and collaborated with many international artists, leading to the release of -so far- 35 albums (the last one in 2014). This song belongs to his debut album, Manera Fru Fru, Manera.

 

48) Nelson Cavaquinho – “A Flor e o Espinho” (1973)

Nelson Cavaquinho is -together with Cartola- the most talented and prolific samba composer: he left 600 compositions that have been recorded by some of the greatest interpreters of Brazilian music.

Cavaquinho composed the tune for this beautiful samba and Guilherme de Brito wrote the lyrics, which are among the most heartbreaking of Brazilian music: “Get your smile out of the way, ‘cause I want to go by with my pain”. Its tone is typical of the pair, usually pessimistic about love and life.

 

49) Secos & Molhados – “Rosa de Hiroshima” (1973)

Formed in 1971 by Ney Matogrosso, Gerson Conrad and João Ricardo, Secos & Molhados is one of few bands who led Brazil from bossa nova through Tropicália and then to Brazilian rock. Much of the group’s success, apart from their masterful first eponymous album (one of the biggest selling phenomena of the 1970s), was their extravagant stage presence, with heavy use of makeup and dramatic elements, and of course Ney’s signature counter-tenor voice.

“Rosa de Hiroshima” was originally a poem by Vinicius de Moraes. Its very powerful lyrics are a criticism to war; the poetic tone managed to fool censorship and became a huge success during the seventies.

 

50) Os Originais do Samba – “Saudosa Maloca” (1973)

Appreciated for their particular blend of traditional samba and humor, Os Originais do Samba became a commercial success, achieving three gold records during their long-lasting career. Their fame in Brazil extended abroad: they were the first samba group to perform and record at the Olympia in Paris; they also performed in the USA.

This song (“Nostalgic Shed”) belongs to the great paulista composer Adoniran Barbosa; it has been performed by many artists including Adoniran himself, but this version by Os Originais do Samba is my favourite.

 

51) Benito De Paula – “Meu Amigo Charlie Brown” (1974)

With his fancy dressing and emotional interpretations, Benito di Paula became the father of a new samba style, which would be known as sambão-jóia, a romantic and commercial genre precursor of contemporary pagode romântico.

This was one of di Paula’s greatest hits; it was covered by artists like Two Man Sound and Sylvia Vrethammar.

 

52) Elis Regina and Tom Jobim – “Águas de Março” (1974)

“A a stick, a stone, it’s the end of the road”… “Águas de Março” describes the beginning of the rainy season in Brazil, the month of March, which also marks the end of the summer (in the Southern Hemisphere). The element of water is a metaphor for a rebirth, a promise of life. Both the lyrics and music have a constant downward progression much like the water torrent from the rain.

Tom Jobim wrote both the English and Portuguese lyrics. Although there were previous recordings, this is the version that many consider definitive; it was recorded by Elis Regina and Tom in the album Elis & Tom.

“Águas de Março” was named as the all-time best Brazilian song in a poll conducted by the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, and the second greatest Brazilian song by the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone .

 

53) Tim Maia – “Imunização Racional (Que Beleza)” (1975)

Musician and songwriter known for his humorous and ironic musical style, Tim Maia is regarded as one of the biggest icons of Brazilian music. Mostly acknowledged for introducing soul into Brazil’s musical scene; he also contributed to a wide variety of musical genres, such as funk, bossa nova, disco, romantic ballads, pop, rock, jazz, baião and MPB.

This song belongs to his fifth album, Tim Maia Racional Vol. 1. Although not well received by the critics at that time, it is now regarded as one of the best albums of all times, ranking 17 in Rolling Stone’s list.

 

54) Clara Nunes  – “Juízio Final” (1975)

“Queen of Samba” Clara Nunes is considered one of the greatest of her generation. She was the first female singer in Brazil to sell over 100,000 copies of a record, and at the peak of her career she would sell more than a million copies of each album she released. Nunes was researcher of the rhythms and folklore of Brazil and the roots of black music, she even converted to Umbanda in her later life. She died in 1983 at the age of 40 years old; nevertheless, she remains one of the most popular singers in Brazil.

This song (the title means “Last Judgment”) was written by Nelson Cavaquinho, and belongs to her album Claridade.

 

55) Cartola – “Preciso me Encontrar” (1976)

Cartola is one of the most wronged cases of Brazilian music: he became known only at advanced age, although his songs had been often recorded by other singers. Nevertheless, he is considered one of Brazil’s quintessential artists.

This particular song, sophisticated and delicate as most of his songs, was released in his masterful second disc Cartola II. It was included in the soundtrack of the highly acclaimed film Cidade de Deus (City of God), and lately in the TV series 3%.

 

56) Milton Nascimento and Chico Buarque – “O que Será (A Flor da Pele)” (1976)

O Que Será (What may it be?) was composed by Chico Buarque for the film “Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos”, based on the book by Jorge Amado.There are three versions of this song: “O que será? (Abertura)“, performed by Simone; “O que será? (À flor da terra)“, sung by Chico Buarque; and the mesmerizing “O que será? (À flor da pele)“, in which Buarque is accompanied by the incomparable Milton Nascimento. The song has a deeply passionate tone, although there are many interpretations of its lyrics.

 

57) Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento – “Caxangá” (1977)

Elis Regina is certainly one of the most talented singers to emerge from Brazil, often deemed the greatest Brazilian singer of all times. With her explosive personality and her sublime voice, she gained the respect not only of the Brazilian people, but also of the nation’s leading songwriters, who would line up to have one of their songs recorded by her. Elis’ death at the age of 36 shocked the whole country; nevertheless, she remains as popular after death as she was in life.

This beautiful song is interpreted together with Milton Nascimento, and belongs to her album Elis.

 

58) Maria Bethânia and Gal Costa – “Sonho Meu” (1978)

Maria Bethânia is one of Brazil’s biggest voices, with a long and successful career: she is among the 10 best-selling music artists in Brazil, having sold more than 26 million records. Talent seems to run in her family’s veins: Bethânia is the sister of the singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso and of writer-songwriter Mabel Velloso, as well as being aunt of the singers Belô Velloso and Jota Velloso.

From her album Alibi comes Sonho meu (“My dream”), where her unique voice blends with another, incredible one: Gal Costa’s.

 

59) Caetano Veloso  – “Sampa” (1978)

It is curious that in a city with great musical representatives like Os Mutantes and Demônios da Garoa, no one could decipher São Paulo better than the baiano Caetano Veloso. “Sampa” (short for São Paulo) is Caetano’s tribute to the city of São Paulo, known for its characteristic drizzle and the large number of migrants, especially from the Northeast region of the country (pejoratively called “baianos”).

Pollution, the reception to migrants, the multiple cultures and the dreams of their inhabitants are pictured in the elegant lyrics, so intense to make the song an all-time classic and transform the intersection of Ipiranga and São João Avenues in one of the most famous spots of the city. In the song, from the album Muito (1978), Caetano is accompanied by the group Outra Banda da Terra.

 

60) João Bosco  – “O Bêbado e a Equilibrista” (1979)

A civil engineer-turned-singer/songwriter, João Bosco would become one of Brazil’s most formidable songwriters, with songs recorded by the country’s greatest artists. During his early career, he supplied Elis Regina with some of her best material; since Elis’ death he started to perform his own songs, becoming an emblematic figure in Brazil’s musical scene.

This is his most personal protest song (English “The Drunkard and the Tightrope Walker”), which was selected as the theme song of Amnesty International. I love this version, sung by Bosco himself, although “O Bêbado” was made famous mostly by Elis Regina. Written during the last years of a military dictatorship, it is a deeply metaphoric, poetic song, not easy to understand on a first read. The drunk represents the artists, poets and musicians who dared to raise their voices against the dictatorship, the Equilibrist is the hope for democracy, which at every “event” that disturbed the military (marches, etc), saw its existence threatened.

 

61) Gilberto Gil – “Toda Menina Baiana” (1979)

Already a star from the 60’s, Gilberto Gil is known not only for his innovative musical style, but also for political and environmental activism.

This song (“Every girl from Bahia”) is a tribute to women from Bahia, and was reportedly inspired by Gil’s teenager daughter; it appeared in his album Realce.

 

62) Beth Carvalho – “Coisinha do Pai” (1979)

Beth Carvalho’s name is synonymous with samba, particularly the Mangueira Scola do Samba. Singer, guitarist, cavaquinist and composer, she began recording in the mid ‘60s; her interpretation of “Andança” earned her the third place at the III Festival Internacional da Canção and became a classic of MPB, re-recorded by many great singers like Maria Bethânia, Elis Regina, and Nana Caymmi.

Her 1979 album No Pagode is considered a masterpiece, and featured this song, her biggest hit of all time. In the late ‘90s, the song was even sent to outer space in the space probe Pathfinder!

Coming soon:

  • The 1980s 
  • The 1990s
  • The 2000s – 2010s

 

100 ESSENTIAL BRAZILIAN SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 3: The 1960s

As the bossa nova movement evolves in the early 1960s, Brazil’s original aestheticism gives way to the introduction of political themes. The politicization of popular music would take shape under Brazil’s military dictatorship of 1964 leading to the so-called “protest song“, of which one of the most emblematic is Caminhando (“Walking”) by Geraldo Vandré. It is the time of great musical festivals, when a “university” generation of composers and singers appeared. Artists such as Chico Buarque and Edu Lobo would be idolized by intellectuals and were instrumental in the creation of Música Popular Brasileira (Brazilian Popular Music) or MPB, a movement initially linked to political engagement against dictatorship.

The Tropicália movement was also a form of protest song that appeared during the same period; it was characterized by the eclectic blend of pop culture elements -such as rock- with the elite culture -the modernist and concretist schools of visual arts- having a more erudite and experimental character. The Bahians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil were the main exponents of this movement.

The Iê-iê-iê style (Brazil’s rock’n’roll of the 60s, the equivalent of France’s yé-yé) was “softer” in Brazil than in the USA or UK, adopting a more romantic style. This movement came to be known as Jovem Guarda (Young Guard) and had huge commercial success. Its more representative artists were Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos, Tim Maia and Wanderléa, among others.

These are some of the greatest songs of this period:


11) João Gilberto – “Corcovado” (1960) 

Corcovado” was written by Antônio Carlos Jobim in 1960 and refers to Rio de Janeiro’s iconic  Corcovado mountain. An English version was later released with the title “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars“.

This song was included in the album Brazil’s Brilliant João Gilberto, which was released in the United States in 1960. It was the record that introduced João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and bossa nova to the American audience, before Stan Getz scored a hit with “Desafinado”.

 

12) Carlos Lyra – “Minha Enamorada” (1960) 

This song (“My beloved”) is the most successful fruit of Carlos Lyra’s partnership with “El poetinha” Vinicius de Moraes.

“Minha Namorada” was released during the bossa nova boom, but in terms of rhythm and melody it does not have much to do with it. It is a romantic, tender and sincere ballad; Lyra and Vinicius wrote other emblematic songs, but few were as perennial as this one.

 

13) Maysa – “O Barquinho” (1961) 

One of Brazil’s most charismatic divas, known as “the Janis Joplin of Bossa Nova” due to her tumultuous personal life, Maysa would become influential for a whole generation of Brazilian artists.

This song (the title means “Little boat”) was reportedly composed by Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Bôscoli while being with friends on a boat; suddenly the engine broke down, and the sound of the motor when they were trying to restart the boat made the tune for “O Barquinho”. It was re-recorded many times, but this is one of the most successful and beautiful versions.

 

14) João Gilberto and Stan Getz – “So Danço Samba” (1962)

“Só Danço Samba” was composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim, with lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes; it was suggested that the song was part of a failed movement to invent a bossa nova dance.

Só Danço Samba became in instant classic with hundreds recordings over the decades. With English lyrics provided by Norman Gimbel, it gained immediate international popularity under the titles Jazz Samba, Jazz ‘n’ Samba or occasionally I Only Dance Samba (literal translation of the original Portuguese title).

 

15) Antônio Carlos Jobim – “Água De Beber” (1963)

“Drinking-Water” was composed by Brazil’s towering figure of bossa nova and one of the great songwriters of the century Antônio Carlos Jobim, with lyrics by another fundamental figure in Brazilian music, the co-father of bossa nova, Vinicius de Moraes.

This was reportedly the first song composed in the new Brazil capital, Brasilia, while it was still being constructed. It has had many re-recordings; some great versions are those by Astrud Gilberto, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

 

16) Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto and Stan Getz – “The Girl from Ipanema” (1964)

This is arguably Brazil’s most iconic song; the sound of an era in which bossa nova was the lingua franca of the country and this song its anthem.

Summer 1962, Rio de Janeiro. The story goes that Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes were sitting at a bar near Ipanema Beach in Rio, when they saw the most beautiful woman walking by, and they immediately wrote this song down on a bar napkin! (not quite exactly the truth, though, read more here). The original version, Garota de Ipanema was released in 1962. Nevertheless, while an Ipanema girl named Heloísa inspired the song, it was another Carioca who made it famous worldwide.

Astrud Gilberto was the wife of singing star João Gilberto, when she entered a New York studio in March 1963. João and Jobim were making a record of the song with tenor saxman Stan Getz. The idea of a verse in English came up, and Astrud was the only one of the Brazilians who spoke English. The song with the name “The Girl from Ipanema” was released and it rapidly became a huge worldwide hit. Indeed, it is the second most re-recorded song in history after The Beatles’ “Yesterday”.

 

17) Demônios da Garoa – “Trem das onze” (1964)

This song (English: “The 11 P.M. Train”) was composed by São Paulo singer and composer Adoniran Barbosa; it portrays, in a tragicomical way, the drama of a lover who lives in a distant suburb of São Paulo, and who cannot stay longer with his beloved woman because the last train will be departing soon, at 11 p.m, and his mother won’t sleep until he gets home. “Trem das Onze” is an example of both samba paulista  (samba developed in São Paulo) and samba-de-breque (here).

It was released in 1964 and made famous that same year by the samba group Demônios da Garoa. It is one of the best known Brazilian popular songs and considered of the most representative cultural symbols of the city of São Paulo.

 

18) Moacir Santos – “Nanã – Coisa Número 5” (1965)

“Coisas” (“Things”) is the debut album by composer, maestro and multi-instrumentalist Moacir Santos. It was released in 1965; the ten tracks of the album were named as “Things” – numbered from 1 to 10. The LP was chosen by the Brazilian Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the 100 best Brazilian records of all time.

 

19) Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 – “Mas que nada ” (1966)

If you want to hear good, uplifting samba, this is the song! Mas que nada (the English translation would be “come on” or “yeah! Right”) was the first hit of an artist who would became a real school within Brazil’s popular music, Jorge Ben (later, Jorge Ben Jor). It was an impressive hit in 1963, and the beginning of Jorge Ben’s career.

But I have to say I love this version by another great artist, Sergio Mendes. With this song he managed to go beyond Brazil’s borders in 1966, and then again in 2006 when he re-recorded with The Black Eyed Peas

 

20) Walter Wanderley Trio – “Samba de Verão” (1966)

“Summer Samba” (also known as “So Nice”) was first popularized by Walter Wanderley Trio in 1966 — the album Rain Forest on which it was issued reached platinum status in 1970. The song became an instant success, with radio stations playing it constantly. Also in 1966 the trio accompanied Astrud Gilberto on her A Certain Smile, a Certain Sadness album, which features a beautiful, sung version of this song.

Although immortalized as an “easy listening” or “lounge music” artist, Wanderley music was at that time innovative and revolutionary. The percussive rhythms reminiscent of a Brazilian black tradition were not dear to many Brazilians; in fact most of his successful career took place in the United States.

 

21) Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes – “Canto de Ossanha” (1967)

In candomblé (an Afro-American religious tradition), there is no ceremony without the presence of Ossanha,  the entity that holds the magic force – the axé – necessary in every ritual. Perhaps this is the reason why “Canto de Ossanha” is the opening track of Os Afro-Sambas, the third album emerged from the partnership between the music of Baden Powell and the lyrics of Vinicius de Moraes.

This syncretism of Brazil with Africa via Bahia, now so natural, was not taken for granted in the 60s. “Canto de Ossanha” helped the sound of Afro-Brazilian religions, systematically persecuted until two decades before, become an inextricable part of Brazil’s music and culture.

A great cover of this song was released in 2006 by Jurassic 5.

 

22) Caetano Veloso – “Alegria, Alegria” (1967)

“Happiness, Happiness” is a song written and performed by Caetano Veloso. Often referred to as “the Brazilian anthem of 1967”, it later appeared on his influential eponymous 1968 album.

This was the song that introduced the Tropicália movement to Brazil. The ideal exposed by the song lyrics was first presented at a memorable live performance in 1967, reinforced by the Argentine group Beat Boys, who added visual aesthetics. It was a hit at the time, and was often sung during public manifestations in favor of impeachment.

 

23) Wilson Simonal – “Nem Vem Que Não Tem” (1967)

An emblematic figure of Brazil’s popular music, Wilson Simonal was a singer with great success in the 1960s and 1970s, although he was relatively unknown outside of South America.

This is his biggest international hit (the title would be translated as “Don’t even think about it!”); it was adapted and recorded by French singer Zanini, who made a hit with the song “Tu veux ou tu veux pas”.

 

24) Edú Lobo and Marília Medalha – “Ponteio” (1967)

A singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer, Edú Lobo is one of the driving forces behind the MPB movement. He has worked with the most important Brazilian artists and his songs were covered by big names of international music such as Sarah Vaughan and Earth, Wind & Fire.

This is one of his most famous songs, performed here with Marília Medalha; with this song they were the winners of the  III Festival de Música Popular Brasileira/FMPB in 1967.

 

25) Chico Buarque and Mpb4- “Roda Viva” (1967)

Arguably one of Brazil’s most renowned songwriters and singers, Chico Buarque is an iconoclastic figure in post-bossa nova Brazilian music.  With his distinctive voice, elegant phrasing, and considerable skill at lyric writing, Buarque  became extremely popular in the 1960s –particularly among women, as he was very handsome. However, Buarque resented the role of pop star and chose to be seen as a serious artist.

Roda Viva (“The wheel of life”) is a song that Buarque wrote for the eponymous play; it was a criticism to the obsessive fan culture. During the play, the pop star protagonist was literally torn apart and his flesh consumed by his fans; the performers would also offer the audience pieces of the dead pop star’s flesh to eat (it was chicken meat). Needless to say, the military dictatorship in charge those years did not like the idea of the play and soldiers were sent out to disrupt the performances, destroy sets and assault performers; Chico Buarque himself was briefly jailed.

 

26) Os Mutantes – “Panis Et Circenses” (1968)

Os Mutantes (“The Mutants”) are one of the most talented and influential Brazilian psychedelic rock bands that were linked with the Tropicália movement. Their unique blend of psychedelic rock, bossa nova, tropicália and samba has inspired many contemporary American and European artists, who cite Os Mutantes as a major influence. With many changes from the original line-up featuring Rita LeeArnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Dias, the band has been active since then, with their last album being released in 2013.

The title  of this song means “Bread and Circuses”, and it is an allusion to the classical poet Juvenal, who scorned ancient Romans for their easy and predictable manipulation through bread and circus.  The song, in turn, is a satire of bourgeois conventions. In the lyrics, a first-person poetic voice tries desperately to alarm the family, to snap them out of their mental and physical stagnation; the attempt is futile.  During these early years of military rule in Brazil, when economic liberalization brought quick financial boons to the complaisant and complicit upper middle class, expressions of rejection of these mores were frequent in Brazilian music.

 

27) Caetano Veloso – “Tropicália” (1968)

The opening track of the first tropicalista album by Caetano Veloso, “Alegria, Alegria. It was very popular upon its release in Brazil, and the Brazilian press used the song title “Tropicália” to christen the larger artistic movement it represented “Tropicalismo”, to the disdain of Caetano himself. Later it was re-recorded by Gal Costa and inspired a homonymous song, released by the American Beck, declared lover of the movement.

Although Caetano has expressed displeasure with the album, it often shows up on lists of greatest Brazilian albums, and was inducted into the Latin Grammy Award Hall of Fame in 2001.

 

28) Geraldo Vandré – “Pra não dizer que não falei das flores” (1968)

Also known as “Caminhando” (“Walking”; or “Not to say that I haven’t spoken about the flowers”), it was composed by Geraldo Vandré and was presented at the III International Festival of Song of TV Globo in 1968 where it ranked second (the winner was “Sabiá”). It caused a great controversy at that time because the public, mostly students thirsting for protest songs, booed the jury’s decision and made the explosive “Pra Não Dizer…” a sort of anthem of a generation.

The song was considered by the dictatorship a mockery of the armed forces; public playing of the song was forbidden, all the registers of Vandré’s presentation at the festival were deleted, and Vandré became one of the most hunted persons in the country, forced eventually to flee the country. The song was finally released 11 years later, with the end of dictatorship.

Walking is still used to remember the situation the country was going through at the time and to keep alive the memories of those who were victims of the hard times of dictatorship. It has been re-recorded many times, of which one of the most iconic is the one by Simone; the latter was lately sampled by Reboot and Federico Scavo.

 

29) Gilberto Gil – “Domingo No Parque” (1968)

With this song (“Sunday at the park”) Gilberto Gil got the second place at the 1967 III Festival of Popular Music, accompanied by Os Mutantes; it was later released in the album Gilberto Gil (1968). Gil, together with Caetano Veloso, became the leader of Brazil’s Tropicalia movement. His musical style provided a more universal sound to the music played at that time, mixing electric guitar with traditional Bahian elements, such as the sound of the berimbau. He is undoubtedly one of Brazil’s, and the world’s most celebrated singer/songwriters, with a musical career that has successfully spanned six decades and hits in each one.

 

30) Noriel Vilela – “Dezesseis Toneladas” (1969)

With his signature deep bass voice, Noriel Vilela made a career first as a member of the samba vocal group Cantores de Ebano. His 1969 solo album “Eis o Ôme” is a succession of sambalanço songs with strong afro influence. This was Vilela’s greatest hits, which is a Portuguese version of the American classic “Sixteen Tons” by Ernie Ford and Merle Travis.

The latest years Vilela enjoys a cult revival among fans of sambalanço. In 2014 “Dezesseis Toneladas” was used for a famous beer commercial, and since then it has been re-recorded several times.

 

31) Erasmo Carlos – “Sentado à Beira do Caminho” (1969)

“Sitting at the Edge of the Road” was composed by the legendary duo Roberto Carlos & Erasmo Carlos and released by Erasmo Carlos.

The song describes the despair and hopelessness of a lover waiting for his beloved; it became an instant hit and was adapted in many languages, the most famous version being the Italian by Ornella Vanoni with title “L’appuntamento”. Vanoni’s version was included in the musical score of the film Ocean’s Twelve.

 

YouTube playlist here

 

Coming soon:

  • The 1970s
  • The 1980s 
  • The 1990s
  • The 2000s – 2010s

 

100 ΕΜΒΛΗΜΑΤΙΚΑ ΓΑΛΛΙΚΑ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙΑ ΠΟΥ ΠΡΕΠΕΙ ΝΑ ΑΚΟΥΣΕΙΣ – Μέρος 2: Η δεκαετία του ’60

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Με την ολοκλήρωση της μεταπολεμικής ανασυγκρότησης, η δεκαετία του ’60 αποπνέει μια αίσθηση δύναμης και αισιοδοξίας στη Γαλλία. Η μόδα, ο κινηματογράφος και η μουσική αντανακλούν αυτά τα συναισθήματα: η κινηματογραφική Nouvelle Vague και το pret-à-porter είναι εμβληματικά αυτής της περιόδου. Εν τούτοις, μετά τα γεγονότα του Μάη του ’68, οι νέοι θα επηρεαστούν σε μεγάλο βαθμό από την κουλτούρα των χίπις, γνωστή στην Γαλλία ως baba cool. Στην γαλλική μουσική σκηνή εμφανίζεται το γιε-γιέ (από τα αγγλικά “ναι, ναι”), ένα μουσικό στιλ που έγινε παγκόσμιο φαινόμενο και έδωσε στον κόσμο μερικά από τα καλύτερα τραγούδια όλων των εποχών.

Αυτά είναι μερικά από τα πιο αξιομνημόνευτα γαλλικά τραγούδια της δεκαετίας του ’60:

16) Gilbert Bécaud – “Et maintenant” (1961)

Γνωστός ως “Monsieur 100.000 Volts” λόγω της ενέργειας του μετέδιδε επί σκηνής, ο Bécaud υπήρξε δημοφιλής καλλιτέχνης για σχεδόν πενήντα χρόνια. Αυτό το τραγούδι είναι για μια ερωτική απογοήτευση: η απελπισία και η θλίψη του ακούγονται σε κρεσέντο (όπως και η μουσική), και καταλήγει με έναν τραγικό στίχο: “Πραγματικά δεν μου έχει μείνει τίποτα”.Ήταν τεράστια επιτυχία. Το 1961 ο ίδιος ο Bécaud το ερμήνευσε στα αγγλικά με το όνομα “What Now My Love”, και έγινε αμέσως hit στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο και τις ΗΠΑ.

 

 17) Françoise Hardy – “Tous les garçons et les filles” (1962)

Ο τίτλος του τραγουδιού σημαίνει “Όλα τα αγόρια και τα κορίτσια” και μιλά για τα συναισθήματα μιας νεαρής γυναίκας που δεν έχει βρει την αληθινή αγάπη, και τον φθόνο που νιώθει για τα ζευγάρια που την περιβάλλουν. Πολύ γρήγορα έγινε επιτυχία, η ίδια η Hardy το ερμήνευσε και στα αγγλικά, στα ιταλικά και στα γερμανικά. Έχει διασκευαστεί πολλές φορές και έχει ακουστεί σε κάποιες ταινίες, όπως και στην ελληνική Attenberg.

 

 18Georges Brassens – “Les copains d’abord” (1964)

Παραγωγικός τραγουδιστής / τραγουδοποιός / ποιητής, με περισσότερα από 100 ποιήματα και 14 άλμπουμ στο ενεργητικό του, ο Brassens είναι γνωστός για τις αναρχικές του ιδέες και το μαύρο χιούμορ που περιέχουν οι στίχοι του. Les copains d’abord, ένας ύμνος στη φιλία, έχει γίνει ένα από τα πιο διάσημα του τραγούδια, το οποίο ο τραγουδοποιός είχε γράψει για την ταινία Les Copains.

 

19) Enrico Macias – “L’amour c’est pour rien” (1964)

Ο Αλγερινός Macias αναγκάστηκε να εγκαταλείψει τη χώρα του κατά τη διάρκεια του πολέμου της ανεξαρτησίας, και εξορίστηκε στη Γαλλία. Από τότε δεν του έχει επιτραπεί να γυρίσει στην πατρίδα του, εξού τα νοσταλγικά, ανατολίτικα τραγούδια του: “Adieu mon pays”(Αντίο πατρίδα μου), L’oriental” (Ο ανατολίτης), μεταξύ άλλων. “L’amour c’est pour rien” (Η αγάπη είναι δωρεάν) είναι ένα πιο ρομαντικό και ελαφρύ κομμάτι.

 

20) Alain Barrière – “Ma vie” (1964)

Διάσημος μετά από τη συμμετοχή του στο διαγωνισμό τραγουδιού Eurovision το 1963, ο Barrière κυκλοφόρησε το πρώτο του άλμπουμ, Ma vie (Η ζωή μου), από το οποίο το ομώνυμο κομμάτι έγινε τεράστια επιτυχία.

 

21) Charles Aznavour – “La Bohème” (1965)

Με τη μοναδική του φωνή, ο Αζναβούρ έγινε ένας από τους μακροβιότερους καλλιτέχνες της Γαλλίας, ο οποίος συνήθως συγκρίνεται με τον Frank Sinatra. Έχει ηχογραφήσει πάνω από 1200 τραγούδια σε 8 γλώσσες. “La Bohème” είναι από τα πιο γνωστά του τραγούδια, που μιλά για έναν ζωγράφο που θυμάται τα νεανικά του χρόνια στην μποέμ συνοικία Μονμάρτρη του Παρισιού.

 

22) Christophe – “Aline” (1965)

Αυτή η ρομαντική μπαλάντα περιγράφει, με ποιητικό τρόπο, τα συναισθήματα ενός άνδρα για την αγαπημένη του, την Aline, η οποία τον έχει αφήσει. Έγινε αμέσως επιτυχία σε διάφορες χώρες, και είναι από το πιο διάσημα τραγούδια του Christophe, μαζί με το εξίσου ρομαντικό Oh mon amour.

 

23) Sylvie Vartan – “La plus belle pour aller danser” (1965)

Η Sylvie Vartan συγκαταλέγεται μεταξύ των πιο διάσημων καλλιτεχνών του γιε-γιέ. Αυτό το τραγούδι (ο τίτλος σημαίνει “Η πιο όμορφη για το χορό”) έγινε μία από τις μεγαλύτερες της επιτυχίες, όχι μόνο στη Γαλλία, αλλά και σε άλλες χώρες, όπως Ιαπωνία.

 

24) Adamo – “La nuit” (1965)

Ο Βέλγος καλλιτέχνης Salvatore Adamo (επίσης γνωστός ως Adamo) είναι ένας από τους πιο διάσημους καλλιτέχνες της δεκαετίας του ’60, αλλά και ο Βέλγος μουσικός με τις μεγαλύτερες πωλήσεις όλων των εποχών. Μάλιστα, θεωρείται ένας από τους πιο εμπορικά επιτυχημένους μουσικούς στον κόσμο. “La Nuit” (Η νύχτα) είναι ένα από τα πιο εμβληματικά του τραγούδια μαζί με το “Tombe la neige” και το “Inch’Allah”.

 

25) Hervé Villard – Capri c’est fini” (1965)

Αυτό το τραγούδι (ο τίτλος σημαίνει “Το Κάπρι τελείωσε”) μιλάει για το τέλος μιας σχέσης που είχε ξεκινήσει στο ιταλικό νησί του Κάπρι, που ήταν ένας πολύ δημοφιλής καλοκαιρινός προορισμός κατά τη διάρκεια της δεκαετίας του ’60. Το τραγούδι έγινε τεράστια γαλλική και διεθνής επιτυχία το καλοκαίρι του ’65 μαζί με το Aline του Christophe.

 

26) Mireille Mathieu – “La dernière valse” (1967)

Η Mireille Mathieu ήταν ένα από τους πιο αναγνωρίσιμους Γάλλους καλλιτέχνες της δεκαετίας του ’60 -και εξακολουθεί να είναι! Έχει ηχογραφήσει πάνω από 1200 τραγούδια σε 11 γλώσσες, και έχει πουλήσει πάνω από 150 εκατομμύρια άλμπουμ παγκοσμίως. Αυτό το τραγούδι είναι η γαλλική εκδοχή του “The Last Waltz”, και έγινε επιτυχία όχι μόνο στη Γαλλία, αλλά και στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο, όπου η Mathieu κλήθηκε να το τραγουδήσει στο Royal Performance για την Βασίλισσα Ελισάβετ ΙΙ.

 

27) Jacques Dutronc – “Les cactus” (1967)

Ο Dutronc ήταν πολύ δημοφιλής στις γαλλόφωνες χώρες, αν και ελάχιστα γνωστός αλλού. Είναι εκπρόσωπος ενός μουσικού στιλ που έγινε γνωστό ως garage rock, το οποίο δημιουργήθηκε ως αντίθεση στην ελαφρότητα των “γιεγιέδων”.

Μην νομίζετε πως οι στίχοι αυτού του τραγουδιού δεν βγάζουν νόημα (“Όλος ο κόσμος είναι ένας κάκτος, είναι αδύνατο να καθίσεις”): ο Dutronc επικρίνει δριμύτατα την συμβατικότητα, την αστική τάξη και “τον εγωισμό και ατομικισμό που προκύπτουν από τον καπιταλισμό”.

 

28) Claude François – “Comme d’habitude” (1968)

Μετά την κυκλοφορία του το 1968, το κομμάτι αυτό γινόταν όλο και μεγαλύτερη επιτυχία, και παιζόταν συνεχώς στο ραδιόφωνο και την τηλεόραση. Σε ένα ταξίδι του στο Παρίσι, ο Paul Anka έτυχε να το ακούσει, αγόρασε τα δικαιώματά του και του έγραψε αγγλικούς στίχους. Και έτσι γεννήθηκε ένα all-time classic : το περίφημο “My Way” του Φρανκ Σινάτρα.

 

29) Joe Dassin – “Les Champs Élysées” (1969)

Αυτή είναι μία από τις πρώτες επιτυχίες του Ντασέν, ο οποίος θα γίνει εξαιρετικά δημοφιλής κατά τη διάρκεια της δεκαετίας του ’70. Περιέργως, αυτό το τόσο παριζιάνικο κομμάτι είναι μια διασκευή από ένα αγγλικό τραγούδι. Το έχει ερμηνεύσει τελευταία και η Zaz.

 

30) Georges Moustaki – “Le Métèque” (1969)

Αιγύπτιο-Γάλλος (Ίταλο-Ελληνικής καταγωγής) ο Ζωρζ Μουστακί έγινε γνωστός για τα ποιητικά, απλά και ρομαντικά τραγούδια που συνέθεσε και συχνά τραγουδούσε. Κατά τη διάρκεια της μακρόχρονης καριέρας του, έδωσε στην Γαλλία μερικά από τα πιο αγαπημένα της τραγούδια: έγραψε περίπου 300 κομμάτια, τα περισσότερα εκ των οποίον ερμήνευσαν οι πιο δημοφιλείς Γάλλοι τραγουδιστές (ακόμα και η Πιάφ). Αυτό το αυτοβιογραφικό τραγούδι έγινε τεράστια επιτυχία: Métèque (από την ελληνική λέξη μέτοικος) είναι ένας υποτιμητικός όρος που χρησιμοποιόταν εκείνη την εποχή για τους μετανάστες μεσογειακής προέλευσης.

 

31) Zanini – “Tu veux ou tu veux pas” (1969)

Με το χαρακτηριστικό μικρό μουστάκι, το καπέλο και τα γυαλιά του, ο Zanini θα γίνει γνωστό μετά την μεγάλη επιτυχία του “Tu veux ou tu pas veux” (Θέλεις ή δεν θέλεις), το οποίο είναι μια διασκευή του βραζιλιάνικου τραγουδιού “Nem vem que não tem” του Wilson Simonal.

 

32) Johnny Hallyday – “Que je t’aime” (1969)

Το πιο εμβληματικό κομμάτι του “Γάλλου Elvis” Johnny Hallyday, το οποίο παραμένει μέχρι και σήμερα ένα από τα αγαπημένα τραγούδια του γαλλικού λαού. Ήταν τέτοια η επιτυχία του, που οι φαν του συχνά πάθαιναν υστερία και λιποθυμούσαν. Ο Hallyday αναγκαζόταν πολλές φορές να “διασωθεί” από έναν περιπολικό για να αποφύγει τον υπερβολικό ενθουσιασμό των θαυμαστών του.

 

33) Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – “Je t’aime moi non plus” (1969)

Ο τίτλος του τραγουδιού σημαίνει “Σ’αγαπώ – εγώ όχι πια” και αφηγείται την αδυναμία δύο εραστών να είναι μαζί. Έγινε αμέσως ένα απόλυτο hit διεθνώς, αν και λόγω του σεξουαλικού του περιεχομένου, απαγορεύτηκε σε πολλές χώρες.

Ο Gainsbourg εμπνεύστηκε το τραγούδι όταν η Μπριζίτ Μπαρντό του ζήτησε να γράψει “το ομορφότερο ερωτικό τραγούδι που θα μπορούσε να φανταστεί”. Και τα κατάφερε μια χαρά! Για μένα, είναι πράγματι ένα από τα πιο αισθησιακά τραγούδια που έχουν ποτέ κυκλοφορήσει.

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100 ESSENTIAL FRENCH SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 2: The 1960s

best-french-songs-60s-bb-modSee also 

With France’s postwar reconstruction finally over, a renewed sense of optimism and energy started to exude from young people in the 60s. Fashion, cinema and music reflected this state of mind: Nouvelle vague cinema and pret-à-porter are emblematic of this period, although after the 1968 events, young people would be largely influenced by the hippy culture (known as baba cool in French). French music is marked by the emergence of yé-yé, (from the English “yeah yeah”), which became a global phenomenon and gave the world some of the best all-time songs.

These are some of the most memorable songs of the sixties:

16) Gilbert Bécaud – “Et maintenant” (1961)

Also known as “Monsieur 100,000 Volts” for his energetic performances, Bécaud remained a popular artist for nearly fifty years. “Et maintenant” is about a love deception: in the song, despair and commotion go in crescendo (so does the music) ending with a last tragic verse: “I really have nothing left”. It was a huge success; a 1961 release by Bécaud himself in English known as “What Now My Love” became an instant hit in the UK and USA.

 

 17) Françoise Hardy – “Tous les garçons et les filles” (1962)

This song (means “All the Boys and Girls”) is about the feelings of a young woman who hasn’t found love, and her envy of the couples that surround her. It quickly became a success; Hardy also recorded it in English, Italian and German. It has been covered many times and featured in several films.

 

 18Georges Brassens – “Les copains d’abord” (1964)

This prolific singer/ songwriter/ poet, who wrote and sang more than 100 poems and recorded 14 albums, is known for his anarchist ideas and his black-humored texts. Les copains d’abord, an anthem to friendship, has become one of his most famous songs. It was initially written for the film Les Copains.

 

19) Enrico Macias – “L’amour c’est pour rien” (1964)

Algeria-born Macias was forced to leave his country during Algerian War of Independence, going into exile in France. He has not been permitted to return to Algeria ever since, hence his nostalgic, oriental-influenced songs: “Adieu mon pays” (Goodbye my country), L’oriental(The Oriental), among others. “L’amour c’est pour rien” (Love is for free) is a more romantic, light song.

 

20) Alain Barrière – “Ma vie” (1964)

After getting known from his participating in 1963’s Eurovision Song Contest, Barrière released his first album, Ma vie (My life), from which the title-track became a huge hit.

 

21) Charles Aznavour – “La Bohème” (1965)

With his unique voice, Aznavour is one of France’s longest standing stars, usually compared to Frank Sinatra; he has recorded over 1200 songs in 8 languages. “La Bohème” is Aznavour’s signature song, it’s about a painter who recalls his young years in bohemian Montmartre.

 

22) Christophe – “Aline” (1965)

This romantic ballad describes, in a poetic way, the feelings of a man whose love, Aline, is gone. It was an instant hit in several countries and is Christophe’s most famous song, followed by -so romantic- Oh mon amour.

 

23) Sylvie Vartan – “La plus belle pour aller danser” (1965)

Sylvie Vartan is considered one of the most productive and famous yé-yé artists. This song (means “The most beautiful for dancing”) is one of her most successful hits, not only in France, but also in other countries such as Japan.

 

24) Adamo – “La nuit” (1965)

Belgian artist Salvatore Adamo (also known as Adamo) was one of the 60’s most famous artists; in fact, he is the best selling Belgian musician of all times and is regarded as one of the most commercially successful musicians in the world.  La Nuit” (The night) is one of his definitive songs together with “Tombe la neige” and “Inch’Allah“.

 

25) Hervé Villard –Capri c’est fini” (1965)

This song (means “Capri it’s over”) talks about the break-up of a relationship that had started in Italian island of Capri, a very popular summer destination during the 60s. The song became a huge French and international hit in the summer of 1965 along with Christophe’s hit song Aline.

 

26) Mireille Mathieu – “La dernière valse” (1967)

Mireille Mathieu was one of the most recognizable French singers in the 60s -and she still is!  She has recorded over 1200 songs in 11 languages, with more than 150 million albums sold worldwide. This song is the French version of  The Last Waltz, and became a hit not only in France, but also in the UK, where Mathieu was invited to sing at the Royal Performance for the Queen Élisabeth II.

 

27) Jacques Dutronc – “Les cactus” (1967)

Dutronc is one of the most popular performers in the French-speaking world, although little known in English-speaking countries. He’s among the artists who started as opposition to the lightness of “yéyés”, representative of a genre that would be lately known as garage rock.

Don’t get fooled by the seemingly meaningless lyrics of this song (“The whole world is a cactus, it’s impossible to sit down”), Dutronc sharply criticizes conventionalism, bourgeoisie and “the selfishness and individualism arising from capitalism”.

 

28) Claude François – “Comme d’habitude” (1968)

After its release in 1968, this song became increasingly famous, being played constantly in radio and TV. While in Paris, Paul Anka happens to hear this song, he buys it and writes English lyrics. And just like that, an all-time classic was born: Frank Sinatra’s “My Way“.

 

29) Joe Dassin – “Les Champs Élysées” (1969)

This is one of Dassin’s first hits, who would become extremely popular during the 70s. Curiously, this so Parisian piece is an adaptation from an English song.  It has been lately covered by Zaz.

 

30) Georges Moustaki – “Le Métèque” (1969)

Egyptian-French (of Italo-Greek origin) Moustaki became known for the poetic, simple and romantic songs he composed and often sang. During his forty-year long career he gave France some of its best-loved music by writing about 300 songs for some of the most popular singers. This autobiographic song was a massive success: Métèque is a pejorative word that was commonly used to call immigrants of Mediterranean origin.

 

31) Zanini – “Tu veux ou tu veux pas” (1969)

With his signature little mustache, bucket hat and glasses, Zanini would become well-known after his huge hit “Tu veux ou tu veux pas” (You want to or you don’t), which is actually an adaptation of Brazilian Wilson Simonal’s “Nem vem que não tem”.

 

32) Johnny Hallyday – “Que je t’aime” (1969)

This is “French Elvis” Johnny Hallyday’s most iconic song, which remains to date one of France’s favorite songs. It was such a success that frenzied fans would often go crazy, shout and faint; Hallyday was forced many times to be “rescued” by a police car to escape the enthusiasm of his fans.

 

33) Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – “Je t’aime moi non plus” (1969)

In English the song title means “I love you – me not anymore” and is about two lovers’ impossibility of physical love. It became an instant hit in many countries, but due to its explicit sexual content it was banned in many others.

Gainsbourg came up with this song when Brigitte Bardot asked him to write “the most beautiful love song he could imagine”. And he did it: to me, this is one of the most erotic songs ever recorded.

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