Sunday, 21 September 2014

RONNIE CORD

Ronnie's father, Herve Cordovil (born in 2 February 1914 in Viçosa-MG) had been in the centre of creativity of Brazilian pop music in the 1930s and 1940s writing songs in partnership with none other than the greatest of them all: Noël Rosa - 1935's 'Triste cuíca' recorded by Aracy de Almeida and 'O que você fazia?' recorded by Carmen Miranda. Miranda also recorded Cordovil's 'Dia de Natal', 'Samba' plus 'Alô, Alô Carnaval' (Herve wrote the music, Janeiro Ramos the lyrics) with her sister Aurora Miranda for the 1936 movie of same name.

In 1940, Herve moved to São Paulo to work at Radio Tupi. In 1941, Herve married Daicy Portugal and had 3 boys (Ronald, Norman & Herve Junior) and a girl (Maria Regina).

In 1950 Herve had 2 big hits: 'Sabiá lá na gaiola' sung by Carmelia Alves, co-written with Mario Vieira and 'Pé de manacá' which Herve recorded himself in a duet with Isaura Garcia that went to #1 all over the country. Soon, Herve became manager and A&P man at Copacabana Discos.

In 1960, when Brazilian rock'n'roll was getting more and more popular, Herve thought he might launch a new international rock star in the guise of his own son Ronald Cordovil (born in 22 January 1943 in Manhuaçu-MG) who had a pleasant voice, had taken English seriously as a subject-matter and had learned a few chords playing his American steel guitar. First thing Herve had Ronald shortened his name to Ronnie Cord.

Then, Herve chose 16 year-old Brian Hyland's 'Itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini' that had been #1 at the singles chart in the USA in August 1960 for Ronnie to cover. Ronnie's cover turned out better than the original due to Herve's careful production. He even went out of his way to include a munchkin's choir sing the chorus.

By December 1960, Ronnie was #1 in the Brazilian charts with 'Bikini'. We kids thought it was an American recording like any other like Elvis's, Anka's or Sedaka's.

Having reached the top of the charts with his second record ('Pretty blue eyes' had been Ronnie's very 1st single for Copacabana) was maybe a fluke. The problem now was to get a follow up to 'Bikini' and that Ronnie Cord would have to wait a few years. Cord's 'Look for a star' was a middling hit along side with other people's versions. Through 1961, 1962 and 1963 Ronnie had a few albums released with no big hit coming out of them.

In early 1964, something happened. Herve Cordovil thought he might sit down and write a rock tune himself. Why not? Instead of translating a foreign hit he would write a song with an appeal to young people's tastes. 'Rua Augusta' is considered by many a-rock historians as being the very first Brazilian rock recording.

Whether 'Rua Augusta' is the first rock'n'roll tune written in Brazilian-Portuguese or not is beyond the point. 'Rua Augusta' turned out to be a big hit all over the country ushering in a lot of other songs dealing with cars, traffic, speed and play-boys. Roberto Carlos, who would soon become the biggest rock act in the country released 'Parei na contra-mão' (I stopped at a one-way street) soon after.

As a follow-up to 'Rua Augusta', Herve Cordovil adapted the words of Ronnie's 1960 hit 'Itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini' into Portuguese as 'Biquini de bolinha amarelinha tão pequenininho' and it went to the top again 4 years later. The girl with the tiny bikini in the Brazilian version is called Anna Maria, who was the name of Ronnie's real-life sweet-heart. Anna Maria was an Italian girl who came to Brazil and decided to stay.

In 1965, Ronnie and Anna Maria married at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Pinheiros and settled down at his parents's house on Rua Cutuiçara next to Praça Coronel Fernandes de Lima in Moema. Ronnie opened a record-shop on Avenida Santo Amaro, not too far from where he lived.

Ronnie & Anna Maria kept a low profile with their 3 children. Unfortunately, Ronnie died of cancer at the young age of 42 in 1986. His sister Maria Regina is on FB and is very corteous to her brother's fans. 
Ronnie Cord with a broken leg and his dad Herve Cordovil 
Mother watches as Ronnie's kid sister Maria Regina signs her name on his plaster cast.


Ronnie Cord in 2 phases of his recording career; on the left he's a young man recording at Copacabana Discos; on the right Ronnie is signed with multinational RCA Victor.

Ronnie's baby sister Maria Regina Cordovil became popular on her own after her recording of 'Carta a Papai Noel' (Endereço: Céu!) went to #1 at Christmas of 1961.

brothers Junior, Norman & Ronald Cordovil singing at 'Jovem Guarda' at Teatro Record in S.Paulo in 1965.  

Ronnie Cord discography 

LC-6121 - 'Eu vou à praia' (Herve C.) / Amor, perdoa-me (Amore scusami) v.: Julio Nagib - 1965
LC-6207 - 'Disco voador'(R.Cord) / 'Eu, a noite e ninguém' (R.Cord-Fred Jorge) - 1966


Ronnie Cord is news at Rio de Janeiro's 'Correio da Manhã' - 25 August 1960 - singer-song-writer-journalist Rossini Pinto had a column at 'Correio' called 'Esquina Sonora' (Sound Corner). Rossini went on to become very influential at CBS Records in Rio during Jovem Guarda period.
29 September 1960 - 'Correio da Manhã': êste que está aí é o mais jovem cantor de rock do Brasil. Ronnie Cord de 17 anos. Dentro de poucos dias será lançado o 1o LP do môço, que canta como ninguem esse buliçoso ritmo que nos enviaram nos norte-americanos. A moçada está impaciente e mal aguarda a hora de ouvir Ronnie.
'Tonight, my love, tonight' Ronnie's 2nd album - 1961
Ronnie in his 2nd phase at RCA; after the initial sucess of 'Rua Augusta' and 'Biquini de bolinha amarelinha', when he tried to cash in on the Italian invasion to no avail.
Ronnie & fellow singer Agnaldo Rayol in 1965 on the cover of Revista do Radio (816) 

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