Erasmo Carlos

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Erasmo Carlos, born Erasmo Esteves on June 5, 1941, in the Tijuca area of Rio de Janeiro, is a Brazilian singer and songwriter, most closely associated with his friend and longtime collaborator Roberto Carlos (no relation). Together, they have created many chart hits including "É Proibido Fumar".

A core member of the Jovem Guarda ("Young Guard") scene of 1960s Brazilian pop-rock, Erasmo often appeared on television, in magazines and feature films with fellow teen idols Roberto Carlos and Wanderléa.

In contrast to his simpler pop-rock early sound, Erasmo went on to produce several of the more moody and introspective MPB records of the 1970s, including Sonhos e Memórias and Carlos, Erasmo.

Early life and career[edit]

Erasmo Esteves was born in the neighborhood of Tijuca in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro. His unmarried mother left the state of Bahia while pregnant. Erasmo knew Sebastião Rodrigues Maia (who would later be known as Tim Maia) since childhood, but the friendship would only come in adolescence because of the rock and roll fever.

In 1957, Tim Maia built the band The Sputniks, the band members were Tim, Arlênio Livy, Wellington Oliveira and Roberto Carlos. Erasmo was introduced to Roberto by Arlênio Livy. After a fight between Tim and Roberto, the group disbanded. Wellington gave up music, was the sole remaining Arlênio the next year decided to call Erasmo and other friends from Tijuca, Robert and José Edson Trindade, known as "China", to form the vocal group "The Boys of Rock".

At the suggestion of Carlos Imperial, the group was renamed The Snakes. They backed both Roberto and Tim Maia in their respective shows.

Roberto Carlos needed the lyrics to the song Hound Dog, a hit by Elvis Presley. Arlênio Livy told him Erasmo had the lyrics, as he was a big fan of Elvis. Roberto then discovered other affinities with Erasmo, as both of them liked Bob Nelson, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, and cheering for Vasco da Gama. As part of The Snakes, Tim Maia taught Erasmo how to play guitar. Erasmo decided to adopt the name Carlos in his stage name, in honor of Roberto Carlos and Carlos Imperial. Before going solo, Erasmo was also part of the band Renato e seus Blue Caps.

Erasmo participated effectively with Roberto Carlos and Wanderléa in the Jovem Guarda TV, show where he had the nickname "Tremendão" (The Big Tremendous), imitating the clothes and style of his idol Elvis Presley. His greatest successes as a singer in this phase were "Gatinha manhosa" and "Festa de arromba". He had been rumored to become the main presenter of the program, but Roberto Carlos ended up taking the spot. Roberto and Erasmo, as songwriting partners, were criticized for singing and writing rock music and being thus "americanized". As a response, "Coqueiro verde" was the first samba-rock recorded by Erasmo.

The 70s[edit]

In the 1970s, Erasmo signed with Polydor. For the first half of the decade, his shows were very different from that of the Jovem Guarda movement. Influenced by the hippie culture and soul music, he releases Carlos, Erasmo in 1971. The album, which opens with "Noite na cama", written by Caetano Veloso for him, was a controversial ode to marijuana.

The 80s[edit]

Erasmo Carlos begins the 80's with an ambitious project, which Erasmo called a pioneer project in Brazil. There were 12 songs performed as duets with artists like Wanderléa, Nara Leão, Maria Bethania, Gal Costa, A Cor do Som, As Frenéticas, Gilberto Gil, Rita Lee, Tim Maia, Jorge Ben and Caetano Veloso. The opening track of the album was the radio single: a cover of "Sentado à beira do caminho", featuring his longtime songwriting partner Roberto Carlos.

Recent years[edit]

In 2001 Erasmo released a new record. Pra falar de amor brought his interpretations to songs written by different writers, such as Kiko Zambianchi and Marcelo Camelo. The highlight is "Mais um na multidão", a duet with Marisa Monte and Erasmo Carlos written by Marisa Monte and Carlinhos Brown. The following year, he released his first live DVD, plus a double CD.

On June 5, 2009, the day he turned 68 years, Erasmo released the album Rock 'n' Roll, a tribute to the genre that influenced him most, with 12 of his compositions, with seven in partnership: Nando Reis ("Um beijo é um tiro" and "Mar vermelho"), Nelson Motta (on "Chuva ácida" and "Noturno carioca"), Chico Amaral (in "Noite perfeita" and "A guitarra é uma mulher"), and Liminha and Patricia Travassos (in "Celebridade"). Another highlight is "Olhar de mangá" in which Erasmo names 52 female personalities (real or fictional) -- the song is inspired by the facial expressions used in manga Japanese comics. In 2011, he released an album called Sex.

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