Os Gigantes (1979) – International Soundtrack


os gigantes - internacional

(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, Te contei? and Dancin’ days (Escrava Isaura is excluded as it was only a national soundtrack)

This time, I’ve downloaded recently the international soundtrack of a hit soap-opera from 1978 called “Os gigantes” (never seen in Portugal before)

General plot: Paloma Gurgel (Dina Sfat), a known journalist, returns to Brazil after being abroad to see his twin brother, Fred Gurgel, in the hospital as he had a brain surgery. Suffering from that fact that her brother is in coma and only machines keep his vital signs alive, she decides to turn them off. From then on, she faces a lawsuit against her sister-in-law Veridiana (Suzana Vieira). The latter acuses her of doing euthanasia (a “tabu” subject at the time and the main support of the soap-opera)

At the same time, Paloma rencounters two childhood friends: Francisco Rubião (Francisco Cuoco), a doctor who’s engaged with Helena (Vera Fischer) and Fernando Lucas (Tarcísio Meira), married with Vânia (Joana Fomm). Her appearance will lighten both men’s love desire for her, leaving behind their past relationships. Other themes are discussed on the soap like abortion, multinational corportations, etc…

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

Now, let’s review the international soundtrack:

01 – Chic – Good times

By the time the song was released, the group created by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards was having their good times after the big sucess of “Le freak” in the previous year (1978). How they could revalidate that sucess? With a manifesto, lyrically influenced by a few late-1920’s/early 1930’s songs about the  Great Depression of 1929 (although they would be quite in context with the economical crisis of USA of 1979). And what a manifesto: slick, edgy and topical, everything just clicked on at the right time and the right way. Totally catchy and effective, as well flowing well with  (no wonder why it became a #1 hit on the Billboard Top 100 Single Charts and also an influence for many artists in upcoming decades)

02 – Dionne Warwick – I’ll never love this way again

Dionne Warwick had been one of the most popular singers of her genre during the 60’s and the first half of the 70’s, but by the mid 70’s, she was struggling to deliver hits in the most important single charts. In a way, 1979 became her redemption and ressurgence year: she left Warner Bros. Records and was signed by Arista as she recorded her first album for that label, “Dionne”. The song in question (itself a cover version as it was first recorded by one of its composers, Richard Kerr, as “I know I’ll never love this way again” back in 1978) was the first single off the album and it simply restaured the singer’s carrer (among other chart figures, it hit the #5 spot onthe Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts). It might not her best song or ballad either way, but it certainly is soothing: . On the soap-opera, this is theme of the married couple Fernando (Tarcísio Meira) and Vânia (Joana Fomm) whose relationship was on unstablity grounds during much of the soap-opera’s run, becoming much worse at times after Paloma (Dina Sfat)’s return to Brazil

03 – Herb Alpert – Rise

Since the begining of his carrer back in 1957, Herb Alpert has been one of the (not many)  artists to be sucessfull at doing either full instrumentals and full songs that needed singing (the latter was proved in 1967 with the hit “This guy’s in love with you”). His biggest contribution for the 70’s was the jazz funk instrumental included in this soundtrack (a #1 hit in the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts and in the Billboard Adult Contemporary Single Charts, as well as a big european hit and also an award winner: the song won him a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance). Two words to describe it musically: sultry and bold. Certainly the biggest highlight for the artist that decade. On the soap-opera, this is theme of the main character Paloma (Dina Sfat)

04 – Dire Straits – Sultans of swing

An odd choice for a brazilian soap-opera soundtrack, me thinks (but that’s one of the charms of Brazil‘s soap-operas (or “telenovelas”, the defined term for their soap-operas): we don’t ever know what can be heard and released on each and every soap). It took the group 2 years (they formed back in 1977) to get noticed internationally, all thanks to the song in question (when first released in May 1978 as a single, it went unnoticed. But with the good sales of their eponymous debut album (“Dire Straits”) released later that year, the song was once again released as a single in January 1979 and launched the group’s sucessfull carrer: a top-20 hit in several countries, especially on their home country (#8 in the British Single Charts) and on USA (#4 in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles). In the midst of what was charting back then, this is like a breath of fresh air: what makes it original is its unique rock sound and the clever lyrics that wanders into the story of a mediocre band playing in a bar (the “Sultans of Swing” of the title)

05 – The Commodores – Still

Once again, The Commodores make their apperance on a international soundtrack of a brazilian soap-opera (at the time, this was their 4th apperance after “Machine gun” for “Fogo sobre terra” (1974), Easy for “O astro” (1977) and “Three times a lady” for “Dancin’ days” (1978) and just like the latter two apperances, it’s once again a ballad. A #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles and Billboard Hot R’n’B Singles, this was one of the last sucessfull songs written by lead vocalist, Lionel Ritchie, before going into a solo carrer. Intimistic ballad, beautifully ornamented with the leading instrument (piano) and also a beautiful and simple vocal range and performance. On the soap-opera, this is theme of the couple Chico (Fernando Cuoco) and Helena (Vera Fischer) whose relationship was in normally state, something that would be later shaken after Paloma (Dina Sfat)’s return to Brazil

06 – Sérgio Mendes Magic lady

The first of only two brazilian artists in the soundtrack and probably one of the most famous brazilian artists internationally. 1979 was a big year for the artist in several levels: he produced/released two albums (a portuguese brazilian one oriented to the home market and an english one oriented to the international market) and one song from each album was included for the soap’s soundtracks (“Horizone aberto”, the opening song of the soap-opera in question and also the title track of Sérgio‘s portuguese brazilian album (he was credited as Sérgio Mendes & Brazil’ 88), was included in the national soundtrack, while the one that will have its opinion right now (in a curious coincidence, it’s the title track of his english album) was included in the international soundtrack). A jazzy latin disco entry with a set of exotic female vocals (three female vocalists are credited on the album, but I don’t know who was the leading singer for the song in question). Since we’re officially in Summer (at least in Europe), this should be an ideal choice to be heard on a beach, on a poll… or maybe on a tropical island, drinking a glass of fresh tropical juice or water

07  Anne Murray I just fall in love again

The singer was by that time coming out big on the music industry after her 1978 sucess “You needed me” (included in the international soundtrack of the previous brazilian soap-opera that was transmitting at the same hour as “Os gigantes”“Pai herói”) and the first single release from her album released that year, “New kind of feeling” (a cover version of a song originally sung by The Carpenters in 1977), would keep her steady into the charts (#1 in the Canadian Single Charts, Canadian Country Charts and Canadian Adult Contemporary Charts, as well the (USA) Billboard Hot Country Songs and Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Charts). Not really fond of her work, but I must say what a nice rendition she made out of it. On the soap-opera, this is theme of Veridiana (Suzana Vieira), Paloma‘s sister-in-law that goes into trial disputes against her for doing euthanasia to her twin brother Fred

08 – Franco Micalizzi – L’ultima neve di Primavera

Quite late to be included in a soundtrack (compared to the other songs), but it has its charm: Franco Micalizzi, composer mainly known for his scores to a series of italian crime and action movies (baptized as “poliziotteschi“), was in charge of composing music to a sucessfull tearjerker drama of the same as the song in question, all coming from 1973 (the movie plot concerns at first the difficult relationship of a (most of the time) absent widower father and his lonely little son (it becomes a bit worse after his father falls in love with another woman). As story progresses, his son (while regaining his love) has an accident while skiing and is revealed to her father by the doctors that he has leukaemia, becoming that way the main support of the movie). A bit oldfashioned by the year this song was included in the soundtrack, but it’s nevertheless quite charming and melancholic. I like the fact that everything in it is in pure harmony without overdoing it. On the soap-opera, this is theme of Fernando (Tarcísio Meira) and Paloma (Dina Sfat). At a certain time, Fernando would be in a serious love relationship with Paloma, but later on, she would marry their other friend, Chico, and have a baby with him in the end

09 – Kenny Rogers – She believes in me

At the time of its release (firstly in late 1978 on the album “The gambler”, then released as a single in the first half of 1979), the singer was becoming a major force in the american music (more specifically, in the country music) as a solo singer (he had been a member of several groups before launching himself to a solo carrer in the mid 70’s) and with the song in the question, he got his second biggest hit yet (#1 in the Billboard Hot Country Single Charts and Adult Contemporary Single Charts, as well as #5 in the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts). I’m not usually fond of country music and a marriage of a music genre with another should be heavenly. Well, this is gracefully one of those positive examples: for a song whose story is lack of self-esteem in terms of love (the person in question is a songwriter who believes he’s too vain for the one he loves), everything is handled so tenderly. Unforgettable chorus, by the way. On the soap-opera, this is theme of Chico (Fernando Cuoco), a doctor who has to choose between his girlfriend Helena and his childhood sweetheart Paloma

10 – Carrie Lucas – Dance with you

Despite a good start in 1977 with the single, “I gotta keep dancin'” (from her debut album “Simply Carrie”), things weren’t going well chart wise by 1978 after the release of her second album, “Street corner symphony”. Everything turned upside down once again, though, with the single release of the song in question (it hit the #70 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts. It was also her only song to chart in several more countries, like the United Kingdom: #40 in the British Single Charts). Simply bouncy, infectuous and ornamentated for a disco song: Carrie‘s voice matches perfectly with the sexyness of the song. By the way, the instrumental parts are something I dig on this particular track

11 – Orleans – Love takes time

The band that once had John Hall (of the soon to be popular duo Hall & Oatesas a founder member (until 1977) was now struggling to have a single chart since 1976. They had to wait three years to see that happen again with the song I’m going to give an opinion for (it hit the #11 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 Single Charts). A well constructed upbeat rock song that grows and shapes up at the right points and times, quite ideal for any relationship that is just starting to develop. Without doubt a standout in a sea of disco songs and ballads (but then again, the soundtrack has a wonderful selection so that everything can shine on its own). On the soap-opera, this is theme of Renata (Lídia Brondi), a veterinarian girl who’s in love with young journalist Polaco (Lauro Corona)

12 – Destination – Put it where you want it

This was the year the disco trio formed in New Work (two women, Kathy Bradley and Lovechyle Theus and the solo male member, Danny Lugo) started their carrer and right with the release of their first (and only) album, “From begining to end”. The hit single of the album was a cover version of Curtis Mayfield‘s “Move on up”, but the song in question is the one that was chosen to be part of the soundtrack. A well made, nice disco track, eventhough it’s almost in the verge of being a bit repetitive (the best of the song, though, are the vocals)

13 – Sunday – Paloma

The second and last brazilian act of the soundtrack: Sunday were, by that time, reduced to a trio composed of two girls and a boy singing pop music after having a sucessfull carrer in the first half of the 70’s as a rock band and the song question would be their most known tune in their new phase as such. Strange that it seems, the song sounds like something that could have been made from or for some artists of such nature in a couple of european countries back in the mid-70’s. It’s a nice slow pop track, but certainly not the best this soundtrack had to offer. On the soap-opera, this is theme of the main character Paloma (Dina Sfat)

14 – Hervé Vilard – Nous (Donna, donna mia)

In Italy, “Donna, donna mia” was a hit for its original composer and singer, Toto Cutugno, in 1978, mainly thanks to its inclusion as the opening theme of a RAI programme, “Scommettiamo?”, but in France, highly famed singer Hervé Vilard (who started his carrer in 1965 with the release of evergreen “Capri, c’est fini” at the age of 19), got a sucess with his french version and that’s the version in question that it’s going to get an opinion. It’s totally inferior to Toto‘s original version, but there’s no doubt that Hervé did the best he could to give his own interpretation of the song

All in all, an all-star and hit soundtrack (for most part), with a mix of slow and catchy songs. This coming from a dramatic soap-opera in its hour schedule (20:00 hours, brazilian time) that didn’t have much sucess it was first transmitted

A final treat – the melancholic opening (and also ending) with the main theme included in the national soundtrack: “Horizonte aberto” performed by Sérgio Mendes and his wife Gracinha Leporace + a recap of 12 out of 14 songs from the soundtrack (excluding the instrumentals “Rise” and “L’ultima neve di Primavera” – songs that can be heard in separate links):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Posted on 30 de June de 2013, in Music. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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