The Pop’s

The Pop’s are one of the best and most underrated Brazilian pop-rock groups from the 1960s. Like Renato e Seus Blue Caps, The Sunshines and The Fevers, they are from our fun-in-the-sun postcard land, Rio de Janeiro; but, unlike them, they didn’t rely much on covers of current hits or their own material, being best remembered for their unlikely but very good rock versions of Carnaval evergreens and Christmas, birthday and suchlike songs, as well as having been purveyors of the samba-rock fusions backing the late, great singer-songwriter Oswaldo Nunes or on their own. But their least remembered albums are the ones on which they ventured into their own songwriting.

They formed late 1964 with Julio Cesar “J.C.” (lead guitar), Pippo (rhythm guitar) and brothers Silvio Jose Parada (bass) and José Henrique Parada (drums). They did not chose the name The Pop’s inspired by “pop music”, but rather from “popcorn”, when someone commented they were so full of energy they kept jumping around while playing. When the Brazilian ye-ye wave hit full stride in 1965-6, The Pop’s started appearing on TV programs and were immediately contacted by no less than nine record companies simultaneously, and they decided to sign to the first one who called, and it was the medium-sized Equipe (by chance favoured over RCA, CBS and other biggies!)

Around 1968 their line-up started changing; former members started spinoff groups like Parada 5 (led by drummer José Henrique Parada) and Os Populares (led by J. C. and acknowledging The Pop’s meant “pop music” too); the group became somewhat of a revolving door around guitarist Pippo. They deserve a bigger feture than this, but other members of renown include guitarist Euclides (from Os Santos and Luziinho e Seus Dinamites), drummer Zezinho and keyboard player Neguinho. By 1973 even Pippo had left – but in the early 2000s the original line-up os Pippo, J.C. and the Parada brothers reformed – and decent official reissues of their first albums are due late in the year.

I decided to include here three works from their authoral period plus one samba-rock gem. From a 1968 single we have “Mina Malu” (“Malu The Gal”), written by Pippo and Morais; the song was also included in their Rio Amigo album from 1971, from which we can hear two further tracks, the instrumental “O Apocalipse” (“The Apokalypsis”, by Pippo and Cerdeira; imagine “20000 Light Years From Home” on the Ventures In Space album) and folk-rockish “Só Minha” (“Only Mine”, by Pippo and Deofranci). And “O Que É Isso, Menina?” (literally “What’s That, Girl?”, in the sense of “Come Now, Girl” or “Do Me A Favour, Girl”), the samba-rock number, is a group composition from around 1968.

Ayrton Mugnaini Jr.

Editor’s note, April 2010: I just heard the Pops’ single “Som Imaginario de Jimmi Hendrix”, on Equipe CS-580-B. It’s a cool mix of the James Gang’s “Funk #49” with the Meters’ “Cissy Strut” and some Hendrix type riffs. I don’t know if this was the flip of a well known single or just a promotional-only release. Hear it on Joel Stones’ new compilation Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas.

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