Roberto Carlos

Brazilian singer Roberto Carlos has been performing for more than 50 years, recorded more than 55 albums and sold more than 120 million discs, but even those impressive numbers don't hint at the impact that the Grammy winner has had on Latin music. Along with Erasmo Carlos and Wanderléa, he was at the forefront of the 1960s' Jovem Guarda (Young Guard) movement in Brazil. The elements of rock and pop these artists added to Brazilian beats created a new sound that changed not only the direction of Brazilian music but almost all Latin music. By the mid-1990s, Carlos and his cohorts had become crooners, singing stylish love songs and ballads to resemble the Old Guard they once sought to replace. As younger crowds grew tired of Carlos's sound, though, a slew of younger singers and musicians acknowledged his contribution to Brazilian music and it became cool to be a Carlos fan again. So cool, in fact, that last year Carlos celebrated his 50th anniversary as a performer with a Rio de Janeiro concert in front of more than 70,000 people. It's easy to look at the 69-year-old Carlos, one of the very few Young Guard-era singers still performing, as a musical museum piece, but that would be a mistake. Yes, he was major player in a historic movement, but he didn't stop there. The innovation and talent with which he helped launch the Young Guard movement have remained intact. Even those seemingly throw-away love songs and ballads were a step ahead of everyone else.


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