I remember the very first time I ever heard about The Beatles. It was in the first semester of 1964. I lived on Rua Simpatia, 103 in Vila Madalena, a suburb of São Paulo that would go upmarket in the 1990s but it was pretty much a working class neighbourhood then.
Three houses up from ours was a grocery store owned by Massao Tsutsui minded by his oldest son Walter Teruo Tsutsui who was 16 years old and much interested in music and movies. Walter showed me a newspaper in which there was a big picture of The Beatles with an article about their having taken the U.S.A. by storm. I did not actually heard them sing then but only saw some pictures of their 'mop-top' hair.
I had been more interested in Italian rocking teen-ager Rita Pavone and didn't think much about the Fab-4. Next thing I heard 'I want to hold your hand' which I thought good but nothing really out of the ordinary. I was more into Italian rock than British rock.
The first time I really thought The Beatles were something out-of-the-ordinary was when I saw 'A hard day's night' (Os reis do ié ié ié) and fell in love with the song 'If I fell'. I couldn't have enough of John and Paul's wonderful harmony. I went out and bought the album... this must have been around March 1965 for the movie premiered on 28 February 1965 at Cine Metropole in Sao Paulo.
In 1966 I was in for another shock when I heard the album 'Rubber Soul' and fell in love with John Lennon's 'Girl'. Something moved me deep inside and I knew that that was pure genius. Later in 1966, after listening to 'Eleanor Rigby' with its string-quartet I knew I could not dismiss The Beatles as just 'another act'.
In early 1967, I met Paulo Naoto Tyba at Vila Madalena's High School... Paulo was a serious Beatle-fan... During our July winter-school-holidays Paulo came home with a copy of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonley Hearts Club Band'... At first I couldn't make head or tails of such a monstruos ouvre. But when the needle approached the last track of side one... 'A day in the life'... well, what could I say?
Paulo was instrumental in introducing all those earlier Beatles songs I had never heard because when those albums were out I was deep into Italian pop music so I missed all that. Paulo who used to be in and out of rock bands gave myself and my younger brother a 'fast course' on Beatles repertoire. Songs like 'Ask me why', 'Baby, it's you', 'P.S.: I love you', 'There's a place', 'Till there was you', 'I don't want to spoil the party' and even songs like 'Baby's in black' and 'She's a woman' that had not been released in Brazil until that time.
The Beach Boys were not as nearly popular as The Beatles in Brazil but circa 1964-1965 they had placed 'I get around' and 'Help me Rhonda' in the lower rungs of Brazilian charts.
As of June 1964 through to late 1967, I used to get up early on Sunday mornings to listen to the 25 BestSelling Singles countdown beamed on Radio Bandeirantes or Radio Nacional in Sao Paulo. Those hit parade shows started at 10:00 AM lasting for 2 hours up to 12 noon.
Not only did I listen to all the records but also made a point of writing their titles and artists' names on a sheet of paper that I would later transcribe to a neat note-book to keep. That's how I kept tabs with the chart action in that glorious period.
As I've always been a sucker for great voice harmonies The Beach Boys struck me as a gold mine and I rooted for their (few) records to get on to a higher position but I don't think either of their discs got higher than # 8.
By 1966, when 'Barbara Ann' was released, I had become a serious fan of Italian pop music and would follow the Italian scene reading magazines such as 'Giovani' and 'Big'. That's how I realized The Beach Boys (along with the Rolling Stones and other British rock groups) were really much more popular in Italy than they were in Brazil. Their Italian 45 rpms had colourful picture-sleeves and were high up in the charts whereas in Brazil they were virtually ignored due to the rise of the Brazilian rock aka Jovem Guarda.
By 1967, I fell in love with beautiful 'Sloop John B'. I bought the Capitol-Odeon single but it didn't get higher than # 13 which was a pity. That was probably the last I heard of The Beach Boys in Brazil. As you can see, one could say The Beach Boys had 4 milddling hits in Brazil in the 1960s. Their highly praised album 'Pet sounds' was thoroughly overlooked and differently from the rest of the world 'Good vibration' didn't even make it as a single.
Capitol / Odeon singles
7C-11021 - Surfin' USA / Shut down - 1963
7C-11029 - Fun fun fun / Be true to your school - 1964
7C 11032 - I get around/ Don't worry baby - 1964
7C 11045 - Help me, Rhonda / Kiss me baby - 1965
7C 11037 - Papa oown mow mow / The wanderer - 1965
7C 11049 - Barbara Ann (Fred Fassert) / Girl don't tell me - 1966
7C-11055 - Sloop John B / You're so good to me - 1967
7C-11056 - Heroes and villains (B.W.-Van Dyke Parks) / You're welcome (B. W.) -
7C 11071 - Do it again / Friends - 1968
(11.032) 'I get around' was the Beach Boys' first hit in Brazil.
The Beach Boys (11.045) hit the air waves again with 'Help me, Rhonda'.
(11.037) The Beach Boys cover The Rivinstons' 'Papa-oom-mow-mow' b/w Dion's 'The wanderer'.
(11.056) The Beach Boys in 'Heroes and villains' b/w 'You're welcome' - 1967.
beautiful 'Darlin' was released as an E.P. in 1968 but it never got any air-play. Odeon didn't even care to 'update' the Beach Boys' photo on the EP sleeve. They were still re-printing 1964 pictures.
from left to right: Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson & David Marks in 1962. Al Jardine had briefly quit the band at this stage.
1964 - Dennis Wilson, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine & Carl Wilson.
Billy Paul was one of the most popular US Black acts in Brazil - having visited the country many times since he went 'viral' with 'Me and Mrs Jones' in 1973 and later with his idiosyncratic rendition of Elton John's 'Your song'.
Billy Paul had been a popular live act in Brazil since the mid-1970s. He visted the country many times. His last tour was in August 2015 - less than a year before this death.
singer of the hit ‘Me and Mrs. Jones,’ dies at 81
Billy Paul, a singer
whose suave but impassioned vocal style made ‘Me asnd Mrs. Jones’,a slow ballad about a man’s love for a
married woman, a No. 1 hit in 1972, died on Sunday, 24 April 2016, at his home in Blackwood, N.J. He was 81.
His manager, Beverly
Gay, told The Associated Press that the cause was pancreatic cancer.
“Me and Mrs. Jones, ”
written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert, was one of the signature
expressions of the 1970s Philadelphia sound, heard on a stream of hit records
produced by Mr. Gamble and Mr. Huff for Philadelphia International Records.
A lush string arrangement and punchy
horn parts complemented Mr. Paul’s velvety, husky
baritone, which built from a near-whisper
at the beginning of the song to a wrenching, drawn-out shout of “Me and Mrs. Jones” at climactic points.
The song, included on
the album “360 Degrees of Billy Paul,” sold more than two million copies,
earned Mr. Paul a Grammy Awardin
1973 for best R&B male vocal performance, and “established musical
standards for pop soul that have yet to be superseded,” the critic Robert
Palmer wrote in The New York Times in 1978.
Nothing in Mr. Paul’ s
later career came close to matching the success of “Me and Mrs. Jones,” which
was later recorded by the Dramatics, Michael Bubléand others. In 1973, his label made
the risky decision to release an up-tempo funk single, ‘Am I Black enough for
you?’,whose pointed political
message kept it off mainstream radio stations.
“People weren’t ready
for that kind of a song after the pop success of ‘Mrs. Jones,’” Mr. Paul said
in a 1977 interviewwith the
music writer and producer John Abbey. “They were looking for a sequel, or at
least something that wasn’t provocative.”
He broke into the Top
40 with ‘Thanks for saving my life’in 1973, but after that
only two of his singles cracked the Top 100: ‘Let’s
make a baby’ (1976) and ‘Let’s
clean up the ghetto’ a 1977 single featuring several of
Philadelphia International’s stars, including Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass and
the O’Jays, recording as the Philadelphia International All-Stars.
He was born Paul
Williams on 1st December 1934, in Philadelphia. Early on he became enamored of the silky vocal style
of crooners like Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. Because he had a high upper range, he also gravitated
toward Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and other female
“The male singers who
had the same range I did, when I was growing up, didn’t do much for me,” he
told Tony Cummings, the author of “The Sound of Philadelphia” (1975). “But put
on Nina Simone, Carmen McRae or Nancy Wilson, and I’d be in seventh heaven.
Female vocalists just did more with their voices, and that’s why I paid more
attention to them.”
After attending the
West Philadelphia Music School and the Granoff School of Music, he sang in
local jazz clubs and recorded ballads for minor labels before being drafted
into the Army, serving in the same unit as Elvis Presley in West Germany. With Gary Crosby, Bing Crosby’s son, he
formed the Jazz Blues Symphony Band.
“We tried to get Elvis
to join but he wanted to be a jeep driver,” he told the magazine Blues and Soulin March.
He was singing with a
jazz trio in Philadelphia when Mr. Gamble offered him a contract with his new
label, Gamble Records. Mr. Paul, who had changed his name to avoid confusion
with other performers named Paul Williams, recorded an album of jazz standards,
“Feelin’ Good at the Cadillac Club,” for Gamble in 1968 and the more commercial
“Ebony Woman” for its successor, Neptune Records, which evolved into
Philadelphia International in 1971.
Mr. Paul is survived
by his wife, Blanche Williams, and two children. Complete information on his
survivors was not immediately available.