They became part of the popular Portuguese songbook and even today everyone knows them. Go on the weekend to the sound of Portuguese rock classics from the 80s.
If you grew up with bombocas, Naranjito dolls and still remember the day we joined the EEC, this playlist is for you. The Portuguese rock of the 80’s left a strong mark and crossed generations. We stopped at a traffic light and looked to the side to see someone screaming Xutos & Pontapés. These are songs that more than 30 years later have become part of the common memory, indispensable in moments of celebration. Everyone knows these refrains, memes have been created around them, and they are the perfect recipe for a weekend trip.
The choice is arbitrary, but the phenomenon of “Portuguese Rock” could celebrate its birth date with Chico Fininho. It was 1980 and there was no lack of rock bands in Portuguese neighborhoods, but the first commercial success was missing. Rui Veloso, only 23 years old at the time, managed to overcome barriers and, between the ages of 7 and 77, there was no one who wouldn’t recognize him.
GNR had already had previous successes but Dunas would end up becoming a special case. Fresh, summer pop was the first song a generation learned to play on the viola and it was repeated at every scout camp. It became part of a popular Portuguese songbook, revised in the light of the 20th century.
With Anabela Duarte approaching the voice in a unique way and highly creative and arty songs, Mler Ife Dada practiced a pop, for lack of a better expression, intellectual. The best but unfair comparison would be the Talking Heads at the time. With all this, the result was highly catchy and addictive songs. Zuvi Zeva Novi! Zuvi Zava…
From mainstream to avant-garde
It sounded like what was done out there, from the Police to Men At Work, but it had a national touch. Latin’América, by Jáfu’Mega was one of the themes that the band played in its Vilar de Mouros 82 lineup.
Sonhos Pop is not the typical example of “Portuguese rock” from the 80’s, despite having all the ingredients. Experimentation and desire for adventure? Check. Were you born in the right decade? Check (it’s from 1988). Can you set fire to a party of thirtysomethings? Check. Pop Dell’arte are still active and still have a dream or two…
Right at the end of the decade, Jorge Palma released what would become one of his most iconic songs. Frágil was one of the author’s first themes to transcend barriers and register in the collective memory. Much more was to come in Palma’s career, but this moment is unsurpassable.
After his roots in the north, Sérgio Godinho finds his love letter to the city in Lisbon that Amanhece. From the Tagus to the shadows of the alleys of the Bairro, it’s a portrait that doesn’t need to resort to the fado soul to smell of alfacinha.
It was 1987 but, as now, phenomena were happening that did not happen again. In Loco is one such example. At a certain point it seemed that they would never leave the radio, but after these decades few remember their name. Despite this, No longer There Are Heroes is one of those refrains that everyone recognizes.
Around the same time, Radar Kadafi were rehearsing their form of pop glued to examples like Lloyd Cole or Felt. It worked well and the songs were definitely of a good level, but 40º À Sombra goes down in history as a summer tonic.
Already in the 1980s, Portuguese rock was producing its own idea of “memes”. We didn’t use the Internet but Call the Police was a phrase we virally repeated for years. Trade Workers never took themselves seriously, but here it felt like they were talking about all of us. It was the story of the deceived and ill-disposed Portuguese with whom everyone could identify.