TIM MAIA 1971.

TIM MAIA 1971.

Larger than life, charismatic and hugely talented describes  Brazilian singer Tim Maia. He was also someone who lived life on the edge, and was determined to do things his way. Tim Maia also lived life to the full.

Especially, after the success of his groundbreaking eponymous  debut album. It was the first Brazilian album to fuse soul, funk, samba and Baião. This proved hugely popular, and Tim Maia spent twenty-four weeks in the upper reaches  Brazilian charts. Belatedly, Tim Maia’s debut album had launched his career.

Following the success of his debut album, Tim Maia returned in 1971 with his sophomore album. It too was entitled Tim Maia. 

That was the case with Tim Maia’s first four albums. Nowadays, though, these albums are known as Tim Maia 1970, Tim Maia 1971, Tim Maia 1972 and Tim Maia 1973. These albums have been reissued, by Oficial Arquivos, including Tim Maia 1971. It’s a reminder of a truly talented singer and songwriter, Tim Maia.

He was born in Rio De Janeiro, on September 28th 1942. Tim Maia was the eighteenth of nineteen children. Aged just six, Tim earned a living delivering homemade food, which his mother cooked. This would be the nearest Tim got to an ordinary job. From then on, Tim devoted himself to music.

At the age of eight, Tim Maia had already written his first song. By the time he was fourteen, Tim had learnt to play the drums and formed his first group Os Tijucanos do Ritmo. They were only together for a year. During that period, Tim took guitar lessons. He was soon a proficient guitarist, and was able to teach his friends. With some of his friends, Tim formed a new group in 1957. 

This time, it was vocal harmony group, The Sputniks. It was formed in 1957, and made a television appearance on Carlos Eduardo Imperial’s Clube do Rock. Alas, the group was a short-lived affair, which resulted in Tim embarking upon a solo career. This lasted until 1959, when seventeen year old Tim made the decision to emigrate.

Tim Maia decided to head to America, which he believed he was heading for the land of opportunity. With just twelve dollars in his pocket and unable to speak English, Tim arrived in America. He called himself Jimmy at customs, and bluffed his way into the country, saying he was a student. Living with extended family in Tarrytown, New York Tim worked various casual jobs and augmented his meagre earnings by allegedly, committing petty crimes. Soon, he learnt to speak and sing English. This lead to him forming a vocal group The Ideals.

During his time with The Ideals, they recorded a demo of New Love, which Tim Maia had written the lyrics to. Making a guest appearance on the demo, was percussionist Milton Banana. Nothing came of the demo, and Tim later resurrected the song for his album Tim Maia 1973. However, by the time Tim recorded New Love with The Ideals, he planned on never returning home to Brazil. America was now his home. That was until things went awry for Tim.

Confusion surrounds why Tim Maia left Brazil. There’s two conflicting accounts. The first and more rock ’n’ roll version is that Tim was arrested on possession of cannabis in 1963, and deported shortly thereafter. That seems unlikely. There were punitive penalties for possession of even a small quantity of cannabis in the sixties. This meant it was unlikely Tim would’ve been just deported, without serving a jail sentence. So this lends credence to the allegation that Tim was caught in a stolen car in Daytona, Florida. After serving six months in prison, Tim was deported back to Brazil in 1964.

Now back home in Brazil, Tim Maia’s life seemed to be going nowhere. He got and lost several jobs, and was arrested several times. So Tim decided to move to São Paulo, where he hoped maybe, he could get his career back on track.

Having moved to São Paulo, Tim Maia, hoped he would be reunited with one of The Sputniks. Ironically, it was Carlos, who Tim had insulted before he left The Sputniks. However, Carlos proved inaccessible, and Tim had to make his own way in the São Paulo music scene. Tim made an appearance on Wilson Simonal’s radio show, and then appeared with Os Mutantes on local television. Still, though, Tim was determined to contact Carlos, and sent a homemade demo. Eventually, Tim’s persistence paid off.

Carlos on hearing the demo, recommended Tim Maia to CBS. They offered him a recording deal for a single, and an appearance on the Jovem Guarda television program. Tim’s first single was Meu País in 1968. It failed commercially. So did the followup These Are the Songs, which Tim recorded in English. Things weren’t looking good for Tim Maia.

His luck changed when Tim wrote These Are the Songs for Carlos. It gave his friend a hit single. At last, things were looking up for Tim Maia.

Things continued to improve when Elis Regina became entranced by Tim’s song These Are the Songs. Elis Regina asked Tim to duet with her on the song. They recorded the song in English and Portuguese, and the song featured on Elis’ 1970 album Em Pieno Veroa. This gave Tim’s career a huge boost. Recording with such a famous Brazilian singer lead to Tim signing a recording contract with Polydor. 


Having signed to Polydor, Tim Maia somewhat belatedly began to work on his eponymous debut album.  Tim Maia was fast approaching his twenty-eighth birthday, and musically, had a lot of catching up to do.

For Tim Maia 1970, he chose twelve songs. This included three Tim had penned himself, Jurema, Flamengo and Azul Da Cor Do Mar.  Tim also cowrote Cristina and Cristina Nº 2 with Carlos Imperial. His other collaboration was Padre Cícero, which Tim cowrote with Cassiano. The rest of Tim Maia 1970 comprised cover versions. They were recorded with producer Arnaldo Saccomani and Jairo Pires.

Accompanying Tim Maia, was a relatively small, but tight and talented band. The rhythm section provided the heartbeat, and were augmented by keyboards, piano percussion and vibes. Meanwhile, Tim laid down his vocals, and added acoustic guitar. Later, strings were overdubbed on six tracks. Only then was Tim Maia 1970 complete. Little did any of the musicians realise that they w know that they were about to make musical history. 

When Tim Maia 1970 was released later in 1970, the album was hailed a groundbreaking release. Tim Maia had married soul and funk with samba and Baião. This was unheard of, and musically, was a first. It also proved popular amongst record buyers. 

Tim Maia was released in 1970, and spent twenty-four weeks in the upper reaches of the Brazilian charts. It had been a long, hard struggle. Ever since he was deported from America, Tim Maia had been struggling to make a breakthrough. Now as he approached his twenty-eighth birthday, Tim Maia’s star was in the ascendancy. Now it was a case of doing it all again, and recording his sophomore album.



Following the commercial success and critical acclaim of Tim Maia 1971, work began on the followup album. Again, Tim chose twelve songs. This included seven Tim had penned himself. Tim also cowrote I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself with Hyldon, and É Por Você Que Vivo with Rosa Maria. while six of Tim’s compositions were written in Portuguese, three were written in English. Already, Tim was hoping that his music  would gain popularity within English speaking countries. That wasn’t surprising.

Already Tim Maia was looking beyond Brazil, and towards America, Britain and Europe. They were lucrative markets, which recently, had started to embrace Latin music. Santana’s first two albums had sold seven million copies in America alone, and were enjoying popularity across North America, Europe and Britain. It was these markets that Tim Maia was looking towards, as he began recording Tim Maia 1971.

When recording began, there were several changes in the band’s lineup. Its rhythm section featured drummer Paulinho Braga, bassist Capacete and rhythm guitarist Hyldon. They were joined by lead guitarist Paulo; organist and accordionist Peter;percussionist Chacal and vibraphonist Pinduca. Augmenting the core band, were strings, horns and backing vocalists. Over thirty musicians were drafted in to record Tim Maia 1970. It was produced by Tim who played acoustic guitar and added his vocals. Unbeknown to everyone working on Tim Maia 1971, they were once again making musical history.

Just like its predecessor, Tim Maia 1971 was hailed as another groundbreaking album. Elements of soul and funk were combined with samba and Baião. There were even hints of jazz, psychedelia and rock, during what was an ambitious and innovative album of genre-melting music. That was the case throughout Tim Maia 1971. 

From the opening bars of A Festa Do Santo Reis, Tim Maia picks up where he left off on Tim Maia 1970. He’s equally comfortable delivering tender ballads as he is kicking loose, and strutting his way through uptempo tracks. Whichever type of track it is, Tim breathes meaning and emotion into the lyrics. Helping him all the way, are his multitalented band. They ensure that Tim hits the ground running.

A Festa Do Santo Reis which opens Tim Maia 1971, is the first of two accordion driven tracks. It features a soul-baring vocal, as horns, rocky guitars and later, strings accompany Tim. He combines power and emotion, and in the process, sets the bar high. Having done so, Tim unleashes a vocal tour de force on Nao Quero Dinheiro (So Quero Amar). Meanwhile, strings dance, horn blaze and the rhythm section provide the heartbeat to what’s an irresistible and hook-laden song. 

Salve Nossa Senhora is similar to A Festa Do Santo Reis, with the accordion driving the arrangement along as Tim delivers a heartfelt vocal. Soon, though, Tim is delivering another vocal powerhouse on Um Dia Eu Chego La. Again, the rhythm section provide the heartbeat, while horns bray and a blistering rocky guitar is unleashed. By then, string dance and Tim and his band reaches new heights. There’s no stopping them, as they continue to fuse musical genres on Nao Vou Fica. Funky wah-wah guitars are sprayed across the arrangement, as deliberate drums accompany Tim. Soon, the now customary strings are added, and sweep as Tim delivers an impassioned, powerful vocal, that hints at the balladry that’s to come. 

It’s all change on Voce, which is the first of the ballads. Seamlessly, Tim Maia reinvents himself as a balladeer par excellence. That’s the case on Preciso Aprender A Ser So. The tempo rises slightly on I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, as a heartbroken and desperate Tim seems to live the lyrics. That’s no surprise, as Tim married five times, and doubtless new all about hurt and heartbreak. Soon, though, Tim returns with an understated, tender and beautiful ballad, E Por Voce Que Vivo. After this, Tim and his band change things around.

Gone is the understated arrangement, with Tim unleashing a powerhouse of a vocal on Meu Pais. Stabs of horns are to the fore, as dramatic, mesmeric drums punctate the arrangement,  while a funky guitar and vibes combine to accompany another vocal masterclass from Tim. This gives way to I Don’t Care, which closes Tim Maia 1971. Tim combines power, hurt and despair, sometimes vamping as his band create another big, bold arrangement. It’s as if they’re determined to close the album on a high. This they certainly do, and in the process, play their part in what was another successful album for Tim Maia.

Later in 1971, Tim Mai released his much anticipated sophomore album, Tim Maia 1971. Just like its predecessor, Tim Maia 1971 was hailed as another groundbreaking album. Critics were won over by Tim Maia 1971’s imaginative fusion of soul and funk with samba and Baião. There were even hints of jazz, psychedelia and rock, during what was hailed as an ambitious and innovative album of genre-melting music. Having won over critics, Tim Maia 1971 was released to critical acclaim.

On its release, Tim Maia 1971 entered the Brazilian charts, and gave Tim another hit album. It also featured two hit singles, Não Quero Dinheiro (Só Quero Amar) and Preciso Aprender a Ser Só. Tim Maia’s star was still in the ascendancy, and at this rate, it looked as if he was well on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in Brazilian music. That should’ve been the case, given the quality of music on Tim Maia 1971.

After the success of Tim Maia 1971, Tim headed to London to celebrate. He had just enjoyed two successful albums, after six years of struggling to make a breakthrough. Tim wanted to celebrate, and enjoy the fruits of his labour. It was during this trip to London, that Tim first discovered his love of the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle. 

Realising that he was only here for a visit, Tim Maia embraced the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Almost defiantly, Tim Maia lived each day as if it was his last. He hungrily devoured copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. They became part of Tim Maia’s daily diet. Fortunately, his new found lifestyle didn’t seem to affect Tim’s ability to make music. That was until Tim discovered a new drug that would prove to be his undoing.

In London, Tim discovered L.S.D. He became an advocate of its supposed mind opening qualities. He took two-hundred tabs of L.S.D. home to Brazil, giving it to friend and people at his record label. Little did Tim know, but this was like pressing the self-destruct button. 

Over the next two years, Tim Maia’s released two further albums,  Tim Maia 1972 and Tim Maia 1973. Both albums were released to critical and enjoyed commercial success in Brazil. The only problem was after Tim Maia 1973, Tim became unhappy at the royalty rate he was receiving from his publisher. So Tim founded his own publishing company Seroma. This coincided with Tim signing to RCA Victor.

They offered Tim Maia the opportunity to record a double album for his fifth album. Tim excited by this opportunity, agreed to sign to RCA Victor, and began work on his fifth album. Somehow, Tim was still seemed able to function normally on his daily diet of drink and drugs. He had already recorded the instrumental parts. All that was left was for Tim to write the lyrics. 

Seeking inspiration for the lyrics, Tim Maia decided to visit Tibério Gaspar. They had previously written together. That was where Tim found a book that would change his life, and sadly,  not for the better. That book was the Universo em Desencanto (Universe in Disenchantment), which revolved around the cult of Rational Culture. They didn’t believe in eating red meat or using drugs. Considering Tim had a voracious appetite for drink and drugs, it seemed unlikely that he would join the cult. However, he did.

Straight away, the cult’s beliefs affected Tim Maia and his music. Ever since he joined cult of Rational Energy, who fixated on UFOs, Tim was now clean-shaved, dressed in white and no longer drank, ate red meat, smoked or took drugs. Always in his hand was a mysterious book. Even his music changed.

The lyrics for his fifth album, and RCA Victor debut, were supposedly about his newly acquired knowledge. This came courtesy of Universo em Desencanto. With the ‘lyrics’ complete, Tim’s vocals were overdubbed onto what became Tim Maia Racional, Volumes 1 and 2. With the album completed, Tim took it to  RCA Victor. They who promptly rejected the album. 

Tim Maia Racional, Volumes 1 and 2 it appears, wasn’t of a commercial standard. To make matters worse, the lyrics made absolutely no sense. The only small crumb of comfort was that Tim’s voice was improving. That hardly mattered for RCA Victor, who weren’t going to release the album. For RCA Victor, it was huge disappointment. 

They thought they had signed an artists who would become one of the biggest names in Brazilian music. Instead, their star signing had joined a cult, and handed over the worst album of his career. Tim and RCA Victor at an impasse. There seemed to be no way forward. 

That was until decided to buy the master tapes from RCA Victor. Tim then released the album independently. However, it failed to match the commercial success of his four previous albums. For his many fans, Tim Maia was no longer the artist he once was. Then in 1976, Tim quit the cult.

When Tim quit the cult, after Racional Volume 2, he’d fallen out with its leader. He felt duped and wanted Tim Maia Racional, Volumes 1 and 2 destroyed. That was the past. Now Tim wanted to move forward.

Tim Maia’s music changed after Tim Maia Racional, Volumes 1 and 2. He released a new album in 1976, entitled Tim Maia, released in 1976. This was the start of the most prolific period of Tim’s career.

From 1976 right through to 1998, Tim Maia continued to release albums. He released another twenty-five albums between 1977 and 1998. By then, Tim had released around thirty-four albums. 

Just like his live shows, the albums were hit and miss affairs. Sometimes Tim would turn up, play an outstanding set. Other times he would play a mediocre or shambling set. On many occasions, he’d fail to turn up. He returned to is rock and roll lifestyle, living life to the fullest. 

The last album Tim released was Nova Era Glacial in 1995. Other albums were released bearing Tim’s name right up until 1998. However, Nova Era Glacial is regarded as Tim Maia’s swan-song He passed away on March 15th 1998, aged just fifty-five. Sadly, by then Tim’s shows and behaviour had become predictable. That had been the case since his 1976 post-Racional comeback. Tim Maia was never the same man or musician after his dalliance with the cult of  Rational Culture.

It’s fair to say that the four album Tim Maia released prior to joining the cult were the highlights of a career that spanned three decades and thirty-four albums. Tim Maia 1970 introduced Brazilian record buyer to one of their most talented sons. He returned a year later in 1971, with his classic album Tim Maia 1971. This genre-melting album was the highlight of Tim Maia’s career. It found Tim fusing soul and funk with samba and Baião. There were even hints of jazz, psychedelia and rock on Tim Maia 1970, which was the highpoint of Tim’s career. He followed this up with Tim Maia 1972 and Tim Maia 1973. They complete a quartet of albums that feature Tim Maia at his very best. Between 1970 and 1973, his star shawn the brightest.

Sadly, since his death in 1998, Tim Maia’s music has been a well-kept secret outside of his native Brazil. Even within Brazil, many record buyers haven’t heard Tim Maia’s music. Those that have, speak about his music with reverence and in hushed tones. 

Like many maverick musicians, Tim Maia’s story sees myth and reality become intertwined. Truth and reality become one, just like his music was fusion of influences and musical genres. However, over the past few years, Tim Maia’s music has started to find a wider audience. They will embrace the reissue of Tim Maia 1970, which offers further insight into his music. 

Just like many maverick singer-songwriters, Tim Maia was touched by genius but fundamentally flawed. He could’ve, and should’ve, been a huge star. Sadly, something held him back, and stopped him from enjoying the widespread commercial success and critical acclaim his music richly deserved. This was music shaped by a multiplicity of musical influences, genres and of course, his lifestyle. His music is a compelling, captivating fusion influences and musical genres. 

Everything from soul, funk, jazz, rock, bossa nova and baiao thrown into Tim Maia’s mystical and psychedelic musical melting pot. Similarly, Tim’s lifestyle including  drink, drugs, multiple-marriages and imprisonment all shaped and influenced Tim Maia’s music. It’s then given a stir by one of music’s true maverick’s, who on the verge of critical acclaim and commercial success, made a couple of decisions he would later come to regret.

The first of these was Tim’s dalliance with L.S.D. in 1971. If that was his first mistake, his second was definitely, his decision to join a cult derailed his career. Maybe if Tim had never celebrated his success in London, then things might have been very different? Somewhat ironically, given the amount of music Tim Maia recorded and released, the two albums he recorded during his time with cult, have gained cult status. These two albums, however, were just a snapshot of his career, but one that affected his future. 

After leaving the cult, Tim continued releasing music, but his live shows became unpredictable. They were either outstanding, mediocre or didn’t happen. All this fuelled the mythology that surrounds Tim Maia. 

In a cruel and tragic twist of fate, Tim Maia died young, like many maverick musicians. He was just fifty-five when he died in 1998. Since then, the mythology and rumours surrounding Tim have increased, as has his popularity. 

Now belatedly, there’s a resurgence in interest in Tim Maia’s music. However, the only problem is where to start. After all, Tim Maia released over thirty albums. For those yet to discover the delights of Tim Maia’s music, there’s no better place to start than his classic sophomore album Tim Maia 1971. It’s the perfect primer and introduction to a Tim Maia, who lived life on the edge, exuberantly revelling and embracing  the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle.  Maybe without living his life in this way, Tim Maia’s music wouldn’t have been as memorable, magical, eclectic and timeless? Tim Maia 1971 is all these things and more. It’s a classic album that could only have been made by a singer-songwriter like Tim Maia was both touched by genius and fundamentally flawed. 

TIM MAIA 1971.






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