Music history’s still where you find it
It wasn’t too long after I got a computer that I started clawing together information about pop music. For decades I’d heard songs that A I wasn’t hearing any more, except on oldies stations. And I wanted to know more about those bands and what became of them.
At the time (of the Commodore 64), there wasn’t much to be found. History was buried in used bookstores, in hard-to-find, dog-eared, pulpish books with yellowing pages. Elsewise it was museumed on the back of vinyl albums — unavailable unless you owned (or knew someone with) a big collection, or worked at a radio station that hadn’t tossed everything out or been slammed shut by nervous college admins.
The internet hasn’t changed that very much. There’s a LOT more pop music history to be found, and heard, but it’s much more scattered — still found where you find it. I found this in The Urban Dictionary (of all places):
In the late 1950s and early ’60s, songwriters like the classically-trained Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim and the soft-voiced guitarist João Gilberto created a smoother, jazz-influenced version of the Samba — which itself was a product of the nation’s poorer classes. Middle-class Brazilians preferred the newer sound, which was dubbed Bossa Nova, or “The New Way.” Bossa Nova is velvet sophistication atop a feathery five-against-four rhythm, and is most famously epitomized by Gilberto’s “Girl from Ipanema.”
But before we get to that, let’s catch a glimpse of the era Bossa Nova landed in. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1960. And, here we are.
He invented Bossa Nova
The word ‘bossa’ dates to the 1930s, means trend, flair, charm; it became part of Rio’s artistic beach culture of the 1950s. 1959 sees the release of what’s considered the first bossa nova album: Chega de Saudade (‘enough longing’) by 28-year-old Brazilian singer-guitarist João Gilberto. ☉ Chega
In 1962 Brazilian songwriter-pianist Tom Jobim’s bossa nova song, The Girl from Ipanema is first recorded.☉ Girl In 1964 a version sung in English by João’s wife Astrud Gilberto charts at US#5 — setting it up to become one of the most recorded songs of all time. It wins the 1965 Grammy for Record of the Year, and turns ‘bossa’ into a major thing.
Gilberto’s albums include many songs by Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. In 2001 the debut album is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and wins the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame Award. ( Website ) ☉ Jobim, Wave
Bossa consumes Jass
Top-selling US jazz musicians quickly leaped on Bossa Nova and started riding it around the world. Fortunately, because the marketplace easily turned Ipanema into elevator music (a classic joke in Blues Brothers) … and a major earworm.
In 1962, on album Jazz Samba, Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd turn Jobim’s Desafinado into a major hit (easy-listening US#4,UK#1) which earns Getz a Grammy.
Some Bossa/Jazz videos of recordings from the era: