Source: RUN – Repositório Universidade Nova
Editores: Andrade, Ricardo Miguel Bernardes

“This dissertation addresses the various musical, editorial and promotional processes that characterized the so-called “boom of Portuguese rock” of the early 1980s, an expression that is commonly used to designate the first moment of major commercial success of rock music composed, recorded and published in Portugal.

I intended to understand the changes that shaped the development of rock music sung in Portuguese at the turn of the 1970s to the 1980s, considering the impact of the record, live music and media industries (press, radio and television) in this process.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the recording of original repertoire within the pop-rock universe in Portugal was scarce, and it was often seen by several musicians and publishers as merely serving a promotional function. This limited possibility of recording hindered the live performance of original repertoire, the presentation of covers of international hits within dance contexts being more recurrent.

This scenario contrasted with the growing popularity, especially in the Anglo-American universe, of the rock concert as a preferred presentation model and of record making as the main purpose of a group’s activity. These constituted two of the aspects that several musicians in Portugal sought to emulate, despite various limitations.

In the late 1970s, changes in record publishing teams, the emergence of new radio programs exclusively dedicated to pop-rock music and a new “specialized” press contributed to the first major moment of commercial success of records by Portuguese rock groups, recorded in Portugal and sung in Portuguese.

The release, in 1980, of the songs Chico Fininho, by Rui Veloso & the Banda Sonora, and Cavalos de Corrida, by UHF, were inaugural milestones of this success. The emerging focus of record companies on publishing and promoting this repertoire motivated the appearance of new producers and sound technicians, live sound companies and artists’agencies, as well as the reconfiguration of the characteristics of various groups that sought to align themselves with the phenomenon, resorting more and more to the Portuguese language in their lyrics, an aspect often overlooked until this moment within the scope of rock practices.

This reconfiguration took place at a time when the proliferation of records and competitions dedicated to “Portuguese rock”, often organized by agents linked to the various industries, reinforced the expectations of new groups, several of which were founded on the growing possibility of getting signed by record companies. In this sense, I analyzed the articulation between the various industries linked to musical practice in this period, illustrating the role of their agents not only as intermediaries between rock groups and audiences, but also as active participants in the configuration of the musical activity of these groups and their repertoire.

I also examine the contexts and values that shaped the characteristics of the “boom”, articulating the phenomenon with the various social and political transformations that occurred in this period.”

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