Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
is the first album by Sérgio Mendes and Brasil '66
, released in 1966
Mendes said the song "Mas Que Nada
" "was the first time that a song in Portuguese was a hit in America and all over the world". "Mas, que Nada!" was written and originally performed in 1963 by Jorge Ben on his debut album, which became Sérgio Mendes' signature song in his 1966 cover version. It was voted by the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone as the fifth greatest Brazilian song.
Brazilians use Mas que nada (or just que nada) colloquially to disagree with someone. A fitting English translation might be a sarcastic "Yeah, right!"
. With many recordings, the title song is incorrectly written Mais que nada
(Portuguese for "more than nothing") which would fundamentally alter its meaning. Also it should not be confused with the Spanish más que nada, which means "more than anything", or "above all", and is used in the sense of "mainly" or "principally".
Sérgio Mendes covered the song with his band Brasil '66 on their debut album Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (1966). In the United States, the single reached number 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number four on the Billboard Easy Listening chart. This 1966 version is the best-known and, to many, the definitive version of the song. In 1989, Mendes re-recorded the song; in Brazil, the song is also well known for being the theme song for the local television channel Globo's Estrelas. In 2006, Mendes again re-recorded the song, this time with The Black Eyed Peas
and additional vocals by Mendes' wife, Gracinha Leporace, for his album Timeless and included in the 2011 animated film Rio
(along with another version recorded in the style of Brasil '66)
Bandleader Sérgio Mendes, the godfather of bossa nova, was Brazil’s most celebrated artist in the Sixties. His most popular recording, “Mas Que Nada,” was originally penned and performed by singer-guitarist Jorge Ben, a former member of Mendes’ band. According to Ruy Castro’s 1990 book Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World, Ben went out for a haircut before a show in Los Angeles and, under America’s pervasive Jim Crow laws, the Afro-Brazilian was turned away. It was then that Ben allegedly dropped off the tour and bought a one-way ticket back to South America — his song, however, remained with Mendes.https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=BrZBiqK0p9E
That same year, a military junta took over Brazil, employing a fierce nationalism and anti-imperialism that eschewed all Western cultural influence. It was then that Mendes made a home in the United States where, with the help of Herb Alpert and his home label A&M Records, Mendes would assemble a band of Americans and Brazilian exiles called Brasil ’66. In their rendition of “Mas Que Nada,” Ben’s throaty wails are replaced by the discreet chirps of Lani Hall and Bibi Vogel, trailing after a brisk samba rhythm. Here, they are introduced by Eartha Kitt on her 1967 “Something Special” — in which she opened with a performance of “I’m a Different Kind of Cat” — praising them for offering “a new look, a new sound, a new approach” to entertainment.
Their debut record, Herb Alpert Presents: Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66, hit gold in the United States and ascend to the Top Ten of the Billboard 200. Meanwhile in Brazil, the anti-authoritarian, countercultural movement known as Tropicália was beginning to take shape, leaving the apolitical bossa nova era in the dust. The song remains a staple of Brazilian music history to this day. Mendes later re-recorded his hit in 2006 with the Black Eyed Peas, but the 1966 version only gets better with age.
The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame