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Nelson

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Versão em Português

Gonçalves

T H E   G O O D B Y E   O F   M R.   G O O D B A R

 
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Leia também: [Ping-Pong Interview] [ The Last CD]

THE END OF AN ERA

[Our Readers´Homages]

Nelson Gonçalves' death, at his 78 years old, on saturday April 18, approximately at 9 pm, due to a heart attack, represented not only the goodbye of one of the most important singers in Brazilian music of all times, but also his death marked the end of the gold cycle belonged to the singers of great voices, dramatic performances and great mass appeal, started in the 40's with names such as Orlando Silva, Silvio Caldas and Francisco Alves - the biggest names in that classical romantic field. So Nelson ended a Brazilian music era.

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``This country doesn't have memory. Does anyone know when Chico Alves died? It's because of it that I want to be incinerated: to no one urinate on my grave"

(Nelson Golçalves)

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THE LAST GOODBYE

Nelson Gonçalves was mourned at Brazilian House of the Representatives (Câmara dos Vereadores), in downtown Rio de Janeiro, on April 19, where almost 600 people came up with their last goodbye to the singer. During the way to the cemetery, lots of people acclaming and waving at the direction of his coffin. Nelson was buried with a Flamengo banner, the soccer team he used to support. The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Paulo Conde, was at the funeral and proclaimed three mourning days in the city. On his third marriage, Nelson Gonçalves left three sons and ten adopted ones. Since a year and a half, he was living alone from his wife, Maria Luiza, an ex-singer fan.

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CHAMPION LIFE

Antonio Gonçalves Sobral was singer and songwriter, born in Santana do Livramento, in Rio Grande do Sul, Southern part in Brazil, on June 21, 1919. Right after his birth, Nelson moved with his Portuguese parents to Brás neighbourhood, in São Paulo, where he was raised. And just to survive, Nelson did some ordinaire jobs. Before working as a waiter in his brother's restaurant, on famous São João Avenue, in São Paulo, time in which he became envolved with Paulistan night life and with music, he worked as a shoeshiner, mechanic and newsboy. By being a very impulsive and violent guy, at his 16, he was a Paulistan Boxer Champion on middleweight rank. After that, and during the time he tried to live in Rio, after being refused in some radios there, he was eventually admitted as a Copacabana Palace Cassino crooner, reaching then the so expected nationwide glory.

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UPS AND DOWNS OF AN IDOL

One of the greatest idols in the 50's, he performed in many Brazilian capitals and great cities, Out of Brazil, he went to Uruguai, Argentine and in the United States, where he sang, in 1961, at legendary Radio City Hall, in New York. At the end of the 50's, he was unfortunately involved with cocaine. In 1966, he even ended up in prison and passed a month in jail. After being released, he found himself in ostracism which gave him a great deal of suffering and lots of work to recover himself from the shame and from the bad habit. But Nelson used to live his life with a kind of an almost uncontrolled persevering intensity. His private life seemed to mengle with the dramas in his songs. Nelson lived and fully portraited his onw art.

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``It's much easier to raise ten sons than to keep a vice"

(Nelson Golçalves)

A MONUMENTAL WORK

Despite of his frenzy life and hot temper, Nelson Gonçalves dedicated more than fifty years of his lifetime to the music. During his career, he recorded more than 2.000 songs, 183 albums in 78 format, 128 standard albums and sold more than 78 million albums, received 38 golden albums and 20 platinum albums. For his last CD called `Ainda é Cedo' (It's Early, 1997), Nelson was just about to receive a golden album. His albums were released in China, Latin America, Italy, Germany and Portugal. In Belgium, in 1975, the first hit parade was his song called ``Naquela Mesa" (On That Table). He was a champion in whatever he worked on, a man without boundaries.

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THE GREAT NELSON GONÇALVES PARTNER

The most well succeded Nelson Gonçalves' partnership was with his longlife friend, Adelino Moreira, one of the greatest lyricists and songwriters on song-samba genre in Brazil. Adelino wrote more than 370 songs for Nelson's voice. And he, who helped a lot building Nelson's style, was also very touched at the funeral of his friend, singing samples of a song called ``Luna Namoradeira" (Flirting Moon), a theme he was just finishing for Nelson Gonçalves.

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AN UNFORGETTABLE VOICE

And it was because of that partnership, since the early 50's, that some of the greatest Nelson's successes were born, such as ``A Volta do Boêmio" (The Mr. Good Bar Return), ``Deusa do Asfalto" (Asphalt Goddess), ``Fica Comigo Esta Noite" (Stay With Me This Night), ``Êxtase" (Ecstasy), ``Escultura" (Sculpture). Those were romantic songs, almost tear-jerkers, full of lost and impossible loves. All of this, naturally embroidered with his big voice of great extension and carried with the most pure emotion.

And Nelson Gonçalves also liked to mention that he used to use only the third part of his generous voice. He, who studied music a lot in his life, had a remarkable musical background in technique, tune, harmony, breathing, key-notes and word divisions. Nelson labelled forever `boleros', `tangos' and `foxes', and anything else he used to sing. He gave noble aspects to tear-jerker songs, turning the so called tacky music into something elegant. And he did it in his pioneer way.

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``I'm a kind of dinosaur"

(Nelson Golçalves)

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A KIND OF DINOSAUR

Nelson Gonçalves ended up with some famous nicknames such as Radio King (Rei do Rádio), Machine Gun (Metralha) because of his stutterer, Street smart guy (malandro), Nightingale (Rouxinol), Brazilian Frank Sinatra, Brazilian macho, Hero etc. Only the necessary distance of the time for we to fully understand the enormous importance of Nelson Gonçalves into Brazilian music history. Lots of things should be done in that matter. As he used to consider himself, as ``a kind of dinosaur".

Walter de Silva

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