Jovem Guarda (New School)

Brazilian Pop Music is born

Silvio Essinger
"The future belongs to the youth, for the old school is obsolete". Taken out of context by advertiser Carlito Maia, Wladimir Lenin’s sentence christened Brazil’s leading TV show in 1965: Jovem Guarda, hosted by emerging singers and teen idols Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos and Wanderléa. The show, broadcast to São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Recife, amassed the necessary ingredients to tune Brazilian music in with the international rock movement led by the Beatles, bringing up new musical languages and attitude standards.

Electric guitars swept over the scene (being definitely incorporated into typical Brazilian music by the following movement, the Tropicália), as well as the idea of music made exclusively for the youngsters, which enabled new stars to arise: Wanderley Cardoso, Jerry Adriani, Eduardo Araújo, Martinha, Leno & Lílian, Bobby Di Carlo and groups like Golden Boys, Renato & Seus Blue Caps, Os Incríveis and Os Vips. The TV show was cancelled in 1969, but the Jovem Guarda aesthetics has remained inside Brazilian music since then.

First idols
The movement began on the second half of the 50s, when rock’n’roll started being promoted in Brazil through Elvis Presley and Bill Haley albums, as well as specialized magazines and radio shows. By the end of that decade, the country produced its first rock icons: Cely Campello, Sérgio Murilo, Tony Campello (Cely’s brother), Demétrius and Meire Pavão. They played ballads and represented rock’s sweetest veins. The wilder edge, like that of Elvis and Chuck Berry, was still under way.

The kids in Tijuca (in the suburbs of Rio) dug rock’n’roll. In 1958, Tim Maia, Erasmo Carlos and Roberto Carlos started the band Os Sputniks, which broke up that same year, but managed to attract the attention of a samba composer with wired ideas: Jorge Ben. In 1960, though, in spite of one hit or another, rock lost its power in Brazil due to the emergence of bossa nova. In the beginning of the decade, Cely Campello traded music for marriage and Roberto Carlos proceeded to play bossa. Nonetheless, rock resisted in the suburbs of Rio and São Paulo, where new bands and artists were popping up all the time.

Starting a kingdom
In 1963, Roberto Carlos came up with a version of Splish Splash (Bobby Darrin), followed by the smashing hits Parei na Contramão and O Calhambeque. He wrote his name in the rock club that would later be described as Jovem Guarda. Roberto’s fellow composer, Erasmo Carlos, was also starting a solo career and enjoying success with hits like Minha Fama de Mau.

In 1965, when the Jovem Guarda TV show started being aired, the setting and characters were ready – Wanderley Cardoso was The Good Boy; Eduardo Araújo was The Good One; Jerry Adriani was the All Italian, Martinha was the Little Cheese, Rosemary was the Blonde Singing Doll and Ronnie Von was the Little Prince. Many others followed, and iê-iê-iê (an adaptation of "yeah, yeah, yeah', taken from the Beatles’ She Loves You) was the rule. The lyrics were mostly coy and naive, and many of the songs were versions of American, British, Italian and Japanese rock hits, but there were a number of local composers doing their job quite right, like Roberto & Erasmo, Getúlio Côrtes, Leno, Carlos Imperial and Rossini Pinto.

The relations between Jovem Guarda and bossa nova were not always good, although some artists like Jorge Ben did manage to have a try in both circuits. Singer Elis Regina, who hosted antagonist TV show O Fino da Bossa (dedicated solely to bossa nova) with Jair Rodrigues, led a demonstration against the use of electric guitars in Brazilian music.

Garage explosion
Success was going higher. In 1966, Roberto Carlos had become popular also in Portugal, France, Argentina and Mexico. That same year, the Jovem Guarda TV show held a festival for 5 thousand bands. It was an indication that garage groups were blossoming around the country, playing wherever they might put some equipment together and later catching the psychedelic train – like Mutantes (Rita Lee and brothers Sérgio and Arnaldo Dias Baptista).

1967 would bring unexpected novelties. By suggestion of his sister, Maria Bethânia, post-bossa nova Caetano Veloso changed his opinion on iê-iê-iê. At the same time, his mate Gilberto Gil turned into a Beatles fanatic. As a result, both Gil and Caetano were backed up by rock bands in music festivals: Gil by Mutantes and Caetano by Argentinean group Beat Boys. It was the birth of Tropicália, which would later be presented in the manifesto-album Panis Et Circensis.

The TV show was soon cancelled and Jovem Guarda dissolved. Roberto Carlos dived into romantic ballads, and many followed his steps. Some, like Erasmo, remained faithful to rock’ n’ roll, while others switched to brega, caipira (country) music and folk rock.

In the 80s, Brazil Rock brought back some of the Jovem Guarda hits with re-readings by Lulu Santos, Blitz, Léo Jaime and Patife Band. It was a revival drill for what would actually happen in 1995, on the 30th anniversary of the old TV show. Survivors like Wanderléa, Erasmo Carlos, Ronnie Von, Bobby de Carlo, Os Vips, Os Incríveis, Martinha, Leno & Lilian and Golden Boys re-recorded their hits for a 5-CD box set and performed a series of sold-out gigs. Meanwhile, original albums were released on CD. In the 90s, rock bands like Barão Vermelho, Engenheiros do Hawaii and Skank started recording Jovem Guarda hits all over again.



Quero Que Vá Tudo Pro Inferno – Roberto Carlos
Calhambeque – Roberto Carlos, versão para Road Hog, de John Loudermilk
Festa de Arromba – Erasmo Carlos
Pode Vir Quente Que Eu Estou Fervendo – Erasmo Carlos
Gatinha Manhosa – Erasmo Carlos
O Bom – Eduardo Araújo
Prova de Fogo – Wanderléa
Menina Linda – Renato & Seus Blue Caps, versão para I Should Have Known Better, dos Beatles
Pensando Nela – Golden Boys, versão para Bus Stop, do The Hollies
Pobre Menina – Leno & Lilian, versão para Hang on Sloopy, do The McCoys
Coruja – Deny & Dino
Tijolinho – Bobby Di Carlo
Coração de Papel – Sérgio Reis
Eu Daria Minha Vida – Martinha