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Caetano Veloso: 55 years ago, musician reinvented MPB with solo debut

Released in January 1968, Caetano’s first solo album took a ride on the instant success of ‘Alegria, Alegria’ and formed important bases for what would become Tropicália

“He is a genius: who would dare to dedicate this record to João Gilberto?” Caetano Veloso for the back cover of his first solo LP. After launching with Gal Costa a work of João-Gilbertian sound (Sundayin 1967), the 25-year-old from Bahia still revered the creator of bossa nova, but it bothered him to “listen to people saying that samba is always beautiful and remakes our spirit”, and wanted to “violate that in some way” , as he told in an interview with Zuza Homem de Mello. “After bossa, MPB kept discussing everything it proposed, but it didn’t leave this sphere.”

Caetano Veloso, 1968 (Reproduction)

excited about Roberto CarlosCaetano saw in the noisy sound of guitars the way to resume the evolutionary line of MPB and modernize it, as bob dylan did when he electrified his poetry in July 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival. While colleagues went to protest the electric guitar march in July 1967, he focused on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Bandthe disc Beatles released a month earlier that had taken rock music to another level.

The yearning for rupture and the yearning to create an impact intensified with the success of “Alegria, Alegria”, fourth place in the III MPB Festival gives TV Record. Released in November 1967, the single sold 100,000 copies and made Caetano a young idol. His genesis is the DNA for the eponymous LP released in January 1968, produced by Manuel Barenbein with arrangements of Julius Medaglia, Damiano Cozzella and Sandino Hohagen.

Caetano Veloso at the Festival da Record, in 1967, and his debut solo album, in 1968 (Reproduction)

“Alegria, Alegria” was born on the big screen, when Caetano watched a Earth in Trancein Glauber Rocha, and was impressed by the filmmaker’s revolutionary freedom; on the small screen, when he saw get-together and was impressed with how he exposed the idiosyncrasies of a happy and underdeveloped Brazil; and on stage, when the Argentine group Beat Boyswho made more powerful rock than the Brazilians, replaced the R7set of Roberto Carlosat the Record Festival.

If LPs like this one contributed to Caetano’s fame to the point that he became a topic 40 years later just because he parked his car in Leblon, the lyrics of “Alegria, Alegria” were born out of a walk through
Copacabana, where newsstands are described with their colorful covers of Hollywood actresses and b&w newspapers and their war scenes. “Who reads so much news?” asks the lyrics of the march that refer to Glauber, Sartre and Bardot.

Conceived genesis, the aesthetic breadth of the 12 tracks of a cinematographic, experimental and ambitious work granted Caetano Veloso the status of precursor of tropicalism. Track 1, called “Mixtura Fina” by the filmmaker Luiz Carlos Barreto propose the title “Tropicália” (due to the exhibition of the artist Helio Oiticica), exhales the traditions and contradictions of Brazilianness and connects to the concretist vanguards with electrified guitars and epic tones – extended to the cover, which shows Caetano surrounded by colorful drawings, exotic animals and tropical fruits.

The salerosa “Soy Loco por ti America”, by Gilberto Gil and weedis a baião with salsa sung in Portuguese in tribute to Che Guevara. “Superbacana” finally brings the R7 with Caetano. “Clara” has vocals by Gal Costa and a beautiful dissonant arrangement by Hohagen. “They”, along with The mutantsends the album satirizing the bourgeoisie and mixing Hindu instruments with berimbau, psychedelic rock with coconut.

Rolling Stone Brazil Special 80 Years of Music

Caetano Veloso(1968) is one of the albums reviewed in the 80 Years of Music Special, an exclusive edition of Rolling Stone Brazildedicated to the 1942 Generation, which brings together essential names in MPB, such as Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Paulinho da Viola and Caetano himself, in addition to a global overview of those born in that year. The printed special is already on newsstands and digital newsstands. Click here to learn more. Listen to the full album below:


Source: Rollingstone

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