Brasil '66  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The original lineup of Brasil '66 was Sergio Mendes (piano), vocalists Lani Hall and Janis Hansen, Bob Matthews (bass), Jose Soares (percussion) and Joao Palma (drums). John Pisano was the guest guitarist. This line-up recorded three albums between 1966-1968 (including the best-selling Look Around LP), before there was a major personnel change for their fourth album Fool on the Hill.

Karen Philipp replaced Hansen as the second female vocalist, while veteran drummer Dom Um Romao teamed with Rubens Bassini to assume percussionist duties. Sebastiao Neto was the new bassist and Oscar Castro-Neves the guitarist. This line up had a more orchestrated and big band sound than their predecessors. Most significantly, in the early 1970s, lead singer Hall pursued a solo career and became Alpert's second wife. Some accounts claim that Mendes was upset with Alpert for years for "stealing" Hall away from his group.

Though his early singles with Brasil '66 (most notably Mas Que Nada) met with some success, Mendes really burst into mainstream prominence when he performed the Oscar nominated Burt Bacharach/Hal David song "The Look of Love" on the Academy Awards telecast in April 1968. Brasil '66's version of the song quickly shot into the top 10, eclipsing Dusty Springfield's version from the soundtrack of the movie, Casino Royale, and Mendes spent the rest of 1968 enjoying consecutive top 10 and top 20 hits with his follow-up singles, "The Fool on the Hill" and "Scarborough Fair." Though he continued to enjoy adult contemporary chart successes with Brasil '66 through 1971 (a group name change to the more forward-looking "Brasil '77" didn't reignite sales), he would not experience the mainstream chart hits he enjoyed in 1968 until his comeback album in 1983 generated the biggest single of his career, "Never Gonna Let You Go," sung by Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66

  • 1966 - Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
  • 1967 - Equinox
  • 1968 - Look Around
  • 1968 - Fool On The Hill
  • 1969 - Crystal Illusions
  • 1969 - Ye-Me-Le
  • 1970 - Live At The Expo '70 (Japan and UK release only)
  • 1971 - Stillness (released as Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 in Australia in 1972)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Brasil '66" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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