The Brazilian musician Joao Gilberto is often considered the father of Bossa Nova, cementing this new style after sequestering himself away in a bathroom in Minas Gerais for 8 months during 1955.
He had up until this time had no luck as a musician. He was always broke and depressed, living off of friends and his sister.
After this woodshedding incident in the bathroom, where his singing and guitar style truly emerged as a very jazzy, breezy form of samba, his father decided his son had lost it. “Gilberto’s father, upset by João’s bizarre singing style and refusal to take “normal” work, committed him to a mental hospital. In a psychological interview there, Gilberto stared out the window and remarked, “Look at the wind depilating the trees.” The psychologist replied, “But trees have no hair, João,” to which Gilberto responded, “And there are people who have no poetry.” He was released after a week.”
After being released from the hospital Gilberto went to Rio de Janeiro where he hooked up with an old music friend name Antonio Carlos Jobim. Jobim of course needs no introduction and we’ll devote a post specifically to him coming up. Jobim fell in love with Gilberto’s new style and they called it Bossa Nova, or “New Trend”. While Girberto’s first actual bossa nova song was Bim Bom, his first recorded song and subsequent LP was Chega De Suadade.
The song Chega de Suadade was written by Jobim in Gilberto’s new style in order to get the style out to the people. In 1957 Gilberto’s bossa nova was a sensation in the district where Gilberto was playing and Jobim figured if they could get an established artist to record it, it would go huge. Jobim wrote Chega De Suadade and gave it to Elizeth Cardoso to record in 1958 (with Gilberto playing guitar). However Elizeth Cardoso had no intention of changing her singing style to suit some daft idea. The song went unnoticed.
Gilberto said fuck this and recorded the damn thing himself. Boom. It went viral. 1959 viral. Seriously, bossa nova went world wide.
We present for you today Gilberto’s first album, recorded in 1959, bossa nova’s first album, the album that started it all, Chega De Suadade.