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Hollywood Rock was a music festival which took place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, in 1975 and from 1988 to 1996. The festival was sponsored and organised by the Souza Cruz tobacco company, owners of the Hollywood cigarette brand. After a law was passed by the Senate of Brazil prohibiting tobacco and alcohol companies from sponsoring cultural and sporting events, the festival was cancelled. The festival did not happen in 1989 or 1991 (the latter because of Rock in Rio 2 happening at around the same time in Rio de Janeiro).
The first edition of Hollywood Rock happened at Botafogo's stadium in Rio de Janeiro and featured performances by Raul Seixas, Rita Lee, O Terço, Vímana, Celly Campelo and Erasmo Carlos, among others. The festival was spearheaded by Nelson Motta and only Brazilian acts were featured.
The second edition of Hollywood Rock took place in January 1988, with four nights of concerts in each city. The venues for the festival were the Morumbi stadium in São Paulo and the Apoteose Square (the final section of the Sambadrome) in Rio de Janeiro. The headliners for this edition were Supertramp, The Pretenders, Duran Duran and Simple Minds. However, Simply Red, who opened the concert for Duran Duran, was generally considered by press and fans the breakthrough performance of the whole festival, leading them to come back for the 1993 edition, this time boasting headliner status.
UB 40, who opened the concert for Simple Minds, also met enthusiastic response from the crowds. The British reggae band distinguished itself as well by receiving a host of guests onstage, like late singer Robert Palmer, Pretenders's leader Chrissie Hynde (who performed live her famous duet with UB 40's Ali Campbell in Sonny Bono's "I Got You Babe") and Brazilian band Paralamas do Sucesso, who had played previously the same night.
The night before, UB 40 had taken part in the Pretenders' concert encore, also performing "I Got You Babe". The Pretenders' line-up for the festival featured guitarist Johnny Marr, of The Smiths' fame.
The other Brazilian bands featured in the bill for the four-night event (from the next edition on, it would be shortened for three nights only) were Ira!, Titãs, Ultraje a Rigor, Lulu Santos and Marina Lima. As for the non-Brazilian acts, they were all touring the country for the first time.
The third Hollywood Rock festival took place from 25th to 27th of January 1990, at the same venues as the first edition. Among the headliners for this edition of the festival were Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Marillion, Tears for Fears, Terence Trent D'arby and Eurythmics.
The fourth edition of Hollywood Rock was headlined by Living Colour, EMF, Seal, Jesus Jones, Skid Row and Extreme. That year, the São Paulo edition took place at the Pacaembu stadium, whilst the Rio edition was still held at the Sambadrome.
The fifth edition of Hollywood Rock is regarded as the best of all 7 years. It was definitely the most publicized – with grunge going full-blast around the world, renowned bands such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and L7 headlined the festival, along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Simply Red. Nirvana's controversial performances both in São Paulo and Rio generated much discussion amongst fans and the media. Kurt Cobain, appearing very intoxicated, and after a very short set of old Beatles song covers, spat on the lenses of the TV cameras placed around the stage (the concert was being broadcast live by Rede Globo), and attempted to destroy stage props and equipment. Some footage from the concert in Rio de Janeiro can be seen on Nirvana's Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! home video. Due to the high demand for tickets, the venue for the São Paulo concerts was changed back to the larger Morumbi stadium.
The 1994 edition of Hollywood Rock once again took place at the Morumbi stadium in São Paulo and the Sambadrome in Rio. The headliners for this edition were Aerosmith, Poison, Ugly Kid Joe, Sepultura, Live, Robert Plant and Whitney Houston.
The seventh edition of Hollywood Rock saw the São Paulo venue change once again to the Pacaembu stadium, and was headlined by The Rolling Stones (who were touring with their recently released album Voodoo Lounge) and Spin Doctors.
The last Hollywood Rock festival took place in January 1996 and was headlined by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, the Smashing Pumpkins, Supergrass, White Zombie, The Cure, The Black Crowes and Urge Overkill.
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