When you think of music from Brazil, one of the first (if not the first) name that you think of is Sergio Mendes. That’s because he’s had a long and storied career containing more than 45 albums to his name crossing bossa nova with jazz and funk.
Not to mention winning three Grammy Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2005 Latin Grammy Awards. Sergio Mendes has been creating music for more than 60 years starting with his time as part of Brasil ‘66 and launching into a solo career, with collaborations with some famous artists including:
One of the most famous tracks from Sergio Mendes is “Never Gonna Let You Go” off of his self-titled album that was released in 1983. One of the aspects of the song that make it so iconic in the music world is the fact that it frequently changes keys while using inverted chords and unique chord progressions.
Regardless of if you know all of the key changes, “Never Gonna Let You Go” by Sergio Mendes was a big hit for the artist as the ballad reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song helped Mendes have his first top 40 album in the decade of the 1980s.
“Magalenha” is one of the most popular foreign-language tracks that Sergio Mendes ever put
out. This track features Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown, who has had a prominent career
between his solo work and as a member of Timbalada, on vocals.
Sergio Mendes made “Magalenha” the second track on his 1992 album Brasileiro that features
Carlinhos Brown on several other songs. “Magalenha” is a big part of why Brasileiro was named
the Best World Music Album as part of 1993 Grammy Awards.
Probably the song Sergio Mendes is most well known for is “Mas Que Nada” since it was the single that charted on the US Billboard Hot 100 upon its initial release on the Brasil ‘66 debut album Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66. That and the fact that it was re-released 40 years later in 2006 with the Black Eyed Peas playing & lending a sample from their song “Hey Mama”) and Mendes’ wife Gracinha Leporace also on vocals.
The result was the song having a resurgence in the United States, even being used in TV commercials and video games, and the Timeless album peaking at number 44 on the US Billboard 200. In addition to “Mas Que Nada,” other singles from the record include “That Heat” featuring Erykah Badu & will.i.am and “Yes, Yes Y’All” featuring Black Thought, Chali 2na, DebiNova & will.i.am.
There are too many Sergio Mendes songs to talk about and we can’t predict which ones you’ll
hear if you see the performer in concert. But here are a few of the more well-known tracks in his discography:
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