“Carlos Gonzaga, Pioneer of Brazilian Rock and Singer of ‘Diana’, Passes Away at 99”

Carlos Gonzaga, born José Gonzaga Ferreira, passed away on Friday (25) at the age of 99 in a hospital in Velletri, Italy. The news of his death was confirmed by the singer’s official Facebook page and the municipality of Paraisópolis, in Minas Gerais, where he was born. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Gonzaga became known for his national versions of international hits, including “Diana,” originally recorded by Paul Anka in 1958. Gonzaga’s adaptation, with lyrics written by Fred Jorge, dominated Brazilian radios that same year, at a time when bossa nova was being created and spread throughout the country.

His success made him a pioneer of rock and the first black artist in Brazil to work within the genre.

Gonzaga released other versions of foreign hits, such as “Only You,” “Oh, Carol,” “The Great Pretender,” and “Bat Masterson,” always with Brazilianized names – in this case, respectively “Só Você,” “Oh, Carol,” “Meu Fingimento,” and “Bat Mastersón.” The latter became another great success, providing the theme song for the Brazilian broadcast of the American series of the same name in the 1960s.

However, it was with “Diana” that the singer became widely recognized throughout his career and across generations. The song regained popularity in the 1970s when it was included in the Globo soap opera “Estúpido Cupido.” Its recurrent presence in the show caused the song to once again appear among the most listened to in the country.

With the popularization of rock and the rise of new groups, including the Jovem Guarda movement, Gonzaga began to lose space from the mid-1960s onwards. He continued to make appearances on variety shows in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly after “Estúpido Cupido.”