Dancin’ Days (1978) – International Soundtrack


(image source: ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫     Só Música    ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ )

And so, once again, I’m reviewing a international soundtrack from a soap-opera after doing it so for “Locomotivas”, “Espelho mágico” and “Te contei?”

This time, I’ve downloaded recently the international soundtrack of a hit soap-opera from 1978 called “Dancin’ days” (seen in Portugal from October 1979 to June 1980. A new version of the soap-opera made in Portugal (the first one for Portugal in terms of remaking soap-operas from other countries. The first remake of a soap-opera in Portugal happened on RTP 1 with “Vila Faia” (the original version of the soap-opera was first seen in 1982, becoming a tremendous sucess. The remake was made in 2008, but was less sucessfull) was transmitted since 18th June 2012 on SIC and has been a suprising sucess. And it’s rumoured that Rede Globo will do their own remake of the soap in a few years time (also it’s rumoured it will be at 23:00, brazilian time)

General plot: Júlia Matos (Sônia Braga), after 11 years (of a 22 year prison sentence, after being accused of fatally running over a person by accident), is out of prison by conditional freedom. Wanting to forget the past, she is about to rebuild her life. Her first goal being reconnecting with her daughter Marisa (Glória Pires), something that her older sister, Yolanda Pratini (Joana Fomm), fears to see happening, as it will mean losing Marisa – which leads Yolanda to do anything to prevent a reconciliation between Júlia and Marisa

Many other parallel stories come and go between. Some of the unforgettable moments: on the 79th and 80th episodes, Júila returns after travelling extensively to several countries of Europe in a exuberating style, giving a memorable and sexified dancing on the recently opened discothèque “Dancin’ Days” and on the 174th and last episode, after a lot of verbal bickering, Júlia and Yolanda get into a intense brawl, ending in a sensitive and tearfull reconciliation of the sisters (the fight between these two characters was also the last scene to be shot. Many cast members were crying over the end of making the soap-opera, with one (for example) bursting to tears for 40 minutes)

More informations on the following sites (in (brazilian) portuguese): http://www.teledramaturgia.com.br/ and http://memoriaglobo.globo.com/programas/entretenimento/novelas/dancin-days.htm

Now, let’s review the international soundtrack:

01 – Harmony Cats – Dancin’ Days medley

The only brazilian artists in the soundtrack, Harmony Cats were born as Bandits of Love, a first phase in which included the recording of the opening song for the 1976 soap-opera “Duas vidas” called “Deixa”. Only later that year they changed the name for the one they were most known for. It took them two years to get their biggest sucess by doing medleys of known songs at the time, mainly the one that is going to be commented. Although it has the title “Dancin’ Days medley”, the medley is an extract of the album “Ever night fever” that, for the inclusion in the soap-opera’s international soundtrack, only included songs from Bee Gees (mainly those included in the soundtrack of the 1977 hit movie “Saturday Night Fever”, a movie that only several months after its first screening in USA would be screened for the first time in Brazil and become such as phenomenon in there as well). I don’t usually dig medleys very much, but this one is entertaining and cohesive at least, altough the girls’ english accent is quite doubtful in some parts. On the soap-opera, this is the location theme (meaning: the heartbeat song of a city or a place in a soap-opera) for the 17 and Dancin’ Days discothéques. TRIVIA: the song was included in the portuguese Maxi-EP release of the national soundtrack of “Dancin’ Days”. Suprisingly, the opening track of the soap-opera sung by Frenéticas wasn’t included in it at all (although it was released as a separate single later on)

02 – The Commodores – Three times a lady

By the time the soap-opera started, the group was at the peak of their carrer, culminating with the song in question that gave them their first #1 hit in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles (USA) charts and in the British Single Charts. Written by one of its members, Lionel Ritchie (who went on to have a sucessfull carrer as a solo artist), the song was, according to him, about the commitment his father made to his mother saying that he loved, wanted and needed her, explaining therefore the “three times a lady” title. Maybe one of their most melodical ballads they ever performed. On the soap-opera, this is theme of the pair formed by gym teacher Carminha (Pepita Rodrigues) and lawyer Franklin (Cláudio Corrêa e Castro), this coming after her wife Celina (Beatriz Segall)’s death in a car accident. The car accident also envolved him and two other characters (one of them also died there, the other survived)NOTE: the group had two songs of theirs, “Machine gun” and “Easy”, in a international soap-opera soundtrack before in 1974, “Fogo sobre terra” and in 1977, “O astro”, respectively

03 – Voyage – Scotch machine

A project band created by four french musicians, Voyage debuted in the previous with their self titled album and some of their singles from the album were modest hits, especially the song that was included in this soundtrack as it got the #13 spot in the British Single Charts (as a double A-side with “From east to west”, song that had been included in the international soap-opera soundtrack of “O pulo do gato” from 1978). The title says it all: the influence for this disco song was the traditional scottish music with the bagpipes as the instrument pillar of all its creation. It’s a fun song, that’s for sure. It’s not their best song, though

04 – Santa Esmeralda – The wages of sin

With Leroy Gomez out of the group after the sucess of the versions made for the songs “Don’t let me be misunderstood” (a Nina Simone original and included in the international soap-opera soundtrack of “O astro” from 1977) and “The house of the rising sun” (a traditional folk song made popular by The Animals and included in the international soap-opera soundtrack of “O pulo do gato” from 1978), Jimmy Goings was chosen as the new lead singer of the group. The song in question was, unlike the group’s two sucessfull cover versions, a original made song for them whose particularity is to focus on love in its more smirking way. In a way, there’s a whole lot of sassiness an sexyness going on throughout this disco entry that doesn’t really make it unoticed

05 – Debby Boone – You light up my life

Daughter of singer Pat Boone, she rose to stardom out of the nowhere in late 1977 with her rendition of the forementioned song that was originally recorded by Kasey Cisyk for the romantic comedy movie of the same name (with Didi Conn lip-synching Kasey‘s singing voice), a rendition that would give her the distinction of being a #1 hit in the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts for 10 consecutive weeks (a record only beaten in 1991 by Boyz II Men and the song “End of the road”) and the Grammy for Best New Artist. It surely sounds and feels like an adult contemporary song: I’d prefer a bit the movie’s original version, but Debby‘s version lifted it a bit higher with the singer’s allmighty voice and the more elaborated arrangements, knowing the song is about a person who has a new positive shed for life thanks to the person (or to God, as it was (somewhat unofficially) explict in Debby‘s version) that lightened up her life. On the soap-opera, this is theme of Verinha (Lídia Brondi), an orphan girl who works as a receptionist in the same gym Carminha (Pepita Rodrigues) was teaching in order to pay the monthly rent of the house she lives in, together with Carminha‘s parents. At one point, she was dating the owner of the Dancin’ Days discothèque, Hélio (Reginaldo Faria), a playboy, but in the end her love belonged to Beto (Lauro Corona, in his first full acting debut as he had a little participation in a 1978 series, “Ciranda cirandinha”), coming after his separation with Marisa (Glória Pires)

06 – Grand Tour – The grand tour

Apart for the fact that the group was created by canadian producers Willi Morrison and Ian Guenther from the Three Hats Productions Orchestra, nothing more is known about what is viewed as a disco group project that only released an album in 1977 called “On such a winter’s day”. One of the songs from album is the one I’m going to give an opinion right now. It’s quite rare the fact a disco song could be quite so smooth and symphonic as this one. I could imagine myself hearing the song when I’m on a bus or in a car and I’d be carried way along with song during those travels (“travel” being the theme of the song). All in all, pleasant melodic and vocal arrangements with an easy-breezy catchy drumming

07 Freddy Cole  I loved you

Younger brother of famous american singer Nat King Cole and uncle of equally famous singer Natalie Cole, he reached a modicum of success in the 70’s on Brazil with some of the songs he sung, like his version of Stevie Wonder‘s “For once in my life” (included in international soundtrack of the 1977-1978 soap opera “O astro”) and the song that will be opined, made by no other than… Paul Curtis (famous in the Eurovision Song Contest circles for making several songs to the British NF‘s during the 70’s and 80’s and that a few of which went to ESC, for example in 1975 with “Let me be the one” (sung by The Shadows) or 1984 with “Love games” (sung by Belle & The Devotions). It strikes me as a ballad about the complications of a love relationship that blends well with the classic soul sound with a more contemporary arrangement in the surface. Really a very nice ballad sung well by its singer. On the soap-opera, this is theme of the main romantic pair formed by Júlia (Sônia Braga) and Cacá (António Fagundes). The latter was also a lawyer like his father, but right from the begining of the soap-opera he grew tired of it to a extent that he’d chase his dreams to become a movie director. The pair would only be dating a couple of episodes later in the begining, but not without its complications: at one point, before and after Júlia‘s triumphant return to Brazil, Cacá was dating Inês (Sura Berditchewsky, in her first soap-opera acting role)

08 – Village People – Macho man

Created by french producer Jacques Morali, the group was becoming a hugely popular disco music group due to their on-stage costumes depicting usual USA stereotypes (although the group was created to please a certain target) and also for their unique suggestive lyrics put in infectous catchy melodies thanks to the modest hit “San Francisco (You’ve got me)”. The biggest example of the group to that date was the song in question, reaching the #25 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts, supposedly a hymn to fitness and working out. There’s disco music and… there’s disco music: it’s, in fact, a very silly song lyrically wise (to me, at least) that makes me rolleye a bit (eventhough I’m not against fitness and doing physical exercise). Working in its favour, at least, is the catchiness of the song (the musicality of the verses after the first time the chorus is sung is so vibrant)

09 – Genesis – Follow you, follow me

A odd choice for a international soundtrack of a brazilian soap-opera. By 1978, Genesis were reduced to a trio and their album released would follow with a very permissive title: “…And then there were three”. The song in question was the leading single of album and their biggest charting one to that point: it toped the top-10 in the Swiss and German Single Charts and also on their home country, where they reached the #7 spot in the British Single Charts. It also reached the top-40 of the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts in USA, their first charting single there. The change of genre is very noticable in here as the group did a soft-rock ballad. Solid, tender and “so secure” (taking a few words from the song itself), just to take a few words from the song, and yet with melodical modern arrangements for that time. Certainly one of Genesis‘ greatest ballads. On the soap-opera, this is the theme of contesting and studious Inês (Sura Berditchewsky, in her first soap-opera acting role), a very frontal and sincere girl. Eventhough she was the girlfriend of young doctor Raul (Eduardo Tornaghi), she would date Cacá (António Fagundes) after Raul had left to Amazônia for a special medical job (creating, therefore, a love triangle setback between her, Júlia and Cacá). Episode after episode trying to fully conquer Cacá‘s love, she’d restart her love relationship with Raul

10 – Linda Clifford – Broadway Gypsy lady

6 years is what took the singer to become a name to reckon with due to her cover of “If my friends could see me now”, a song from the Broadway musical “Sweet charity” and also to “Runaway lover”. We’ll be talking about Broadway right now, but in the form of the song included in the international soundtrack of the soap-opera in question. It really is an invitation to a likely hommage on Broadway, contrasted with some exotic disco arrangements. Outrightly nice, but not one of her best songs

11 – Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blue street

By the time they released their latest album in 1977 titled “Brand new day”, the group had already reached their amount of sucesses throughout a long term carrer since they first started their discographic carrer in 1967. But things were starting to colapse in terms of hits since the album where the song that I’ll give an opinion for wasn’t a sucesseful one (the album, released on this occasion by ABC Records, was almost in the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts, stalling at the #205 spot). The sof pop-rock ballad in question was released as a single but didn’t chart… and yet, I wonder why didn’t chart, since it’s a beautifull orchestrated ballad with deep and meaningfull lyrics dealing with struggles of life. One thing I did thought it was odd and something that puts me off a bit, though, was the faux (false) ending: it leaves me quite cold and empty, comparing that to the rest of the song. On the soap-opera, this is theme of Yolanda Pratini (Joana Fomm), Júlia (Sônia Braga)’s sister and the main antagonist (we could say more like an anti-heroine or a common person with all its worst defaults, since that’s the story of the character) of the soap-opera

12 – Gary Criss – Rio de Janeiro

8 years was the time it would take between his first touch in the music world as the vocalist of the group The Glass Bottle (this included a 1971 hit single, “I ain’t got time anymore”) and his first album as a solo artist that had the same name as the song included in the international soundtrack of the soap-opera in question. Some sort of disco alegory and hymn to Brazil‘s biggest and cosmopolitan city, Rio de Janeiro, it’s unquestionably catchy with its pumping drum beat and those funky guitar riffs of those days. Love the guitar solo in the middle of the song

13 – Boney M – Rivers of Babylon

By the time they released their version of The Melodians (jamaican reggae group)1970 song of the same name, the group was at the peak of their carrer with “Ma Baker” (also included, by the way, in the international soundtrack of the 1977 soap-opera “Espelho mágico”. Another song of theirs was also included in another 1977 soap-opera (“O astro”), being the title track of the album “Love for sale”), being their biggest hit yet… until the moment “Rivers of Bablyon” outnumbered their previous biggest hit by becoming their biggest hit of all-time: a #1 hit in several countries, such as Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway and United Kingdom and also reached the #30 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts (USA). Well… it’s a classic rendition that surpasses the original version in many ways, adding the disco beat to make it more catchy. Although not my favourite of Boney M‘s output, the arrangements here were lovely and Liz Mitchell‘s lead vocals matched perfectly with the flow of the song. I love the instrumental intro as well: quite melancholic

14 – Dee D. Jackson – Automatic lover

Formerly a film producer in Munich, Germany, the artist would try the taste of sucess as a singer in the 70’s. After a failed first single with “Man of a man”, the second single (which was the song that will be given an opinion for) became her breakthrough hit, becoming a #1 hit in such countries as Spain, France, Italy and Argentina and reaching the #4 spot in her home country, United Kingdom. The formula was to take the emergent sub-genre of disco known as “space disco” at the likes of austrian group Ganymed or american producer Meco and take it to another level. The word to describe this classic disco track is: sexy. Maybe the ultimate song she has ever sung as everything connects very well, from the empowering vocals to the infectuous drum beat and the tender electronic sound to the dramatic flirty-like lyrics. A guilty pleasure, indeed

All in all, a impressive and unique soundtrack celebrating mostly the disco sound which echoed all over the world at the time and adding some tender ballads to the mix in order to balance the mixture of genres on the list of songs included in the soundtrack. All of it coming from a dramatic soap-opera in its hour schedule (20:00 hours, brazilian time). TRIVIA: the international soundtrack of this soap-opera sold almost a million records (a high number at the time), surpassing the previous number record of the national (brazilian) soundtrack of a 1976 soap-opera, “Estupido cúpido” (with a story taking place in 1961)

A final treat – the vivacious opening of the soap-opera to the sound of a… (any guesses?)… disco song included in the national soundtrack: the title track “Dancin’ days” sung by girl band Frenéticas + a recap of all the 14 songs from the soundtrack:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Posted on 1 de December de 2012, in Music. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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