Side A: Como todos
Side B: Es el viento
After Nino Bravo’s incredible performance at the Teatro Principal in Valencia, the singer signs with the record label Fonogram for his first recordings. The Jerez-born Manuel Alejandro, creator of some of Raphael’s greatest hits, was in charge of composing Nino’s first two songs. The single containing the songs ‘Como todos’ and ‘Es el viento’ would appear in record stores in the spring of 1969. Unfortunately, it was not received as well as expected and, after some time, only 600 copies of this record were sold.
On the back cover of the single is the following text, in Nino’s own handwriting: “This is my first record, and I hope everyone will like it. All the best, Nino Bravo.”
Side A: Tú cambiarás
Side B: En libertad
After the poor reception of their first single, Fonogram decided to shelve Manuel Alejandro’s ‘No debo pensar en ti’ and instead release two tracks by Pablo Herrero and José Luis Armenteros, former members of ‘Los Relámpagos’. Thus, in the autumn of 1969, Nino Bravo’s second single was released.
‘Tú cambiarás’ is a pop song that aimed to bring Nino Bravo’s voice closer to the youth of the time. However, despite the performer’s remarkable effort, the song barely made the charts and was, albeit to a lesser extent than the previous record, a flop. However, the record company still believed in its new artist and quickly arranged for Nino Bravo to record what would be his third record.
Polydor: 20 62 002
Side A: Voy buscando
Side B: Mi querida mamá
In March 1970, Nino Bravo’s record label released his third single. The A-side would again be a song by Pablo Herrero and José Luis Armenteros, who seem to have found the formula to connect Nino with the youth of the moment. However, on the B-side they decided to publish a version of a Tom Jones song that the Valencian singer had been including in his live repertoire for some time now. The song in question is ‘My yiddishe momme’, translated into Spanish by guitarist Vicente López as ‘Mi querida mama’.
This is the first record that does not feature an image of the Valencian singer on the cover. This new single does get some airplay in the charts, but the recording is not well received by critics, who describe it as “music from another era”. It would still be a few months before Nino Bravo would revolutionise the Spanish pop world with his first big hit.
TE QUIERO, TE QUIERO
Polydor: 20 62 004
Side A: Te quiero, te quiero
Side B: Esa será mi casa
In mid-1970, Augusto Algueró suggested to Nino Bravo that he record a song of his own, which would originally appear in the 1969 film ‘Kuma Ching’, performed by Lola Flores. Disagreements between the composer and the film’s production company led the latter to offer the song to Nino, with lyrics by the popular Rafael de León. Despite opposition from Fonogram, the Valencian artist insisted on recording the track and it was released as a single in June 1970.
During its first few weeks of sales, the single was no more successful than its predecessors. But Nino Bravo’s participation in the TVE programme ‘Pasaporte a Dublín’ raised the number of units sold to astronomical figures, earning the singer his first gold record in just a few days. Since then, ‘Te quiero, te quiero’ has become an immortal classic of Spanish pop music and the first of Nino Bravo’s greatest hits.
The B-side of the single, ‘Esa será mi casa’, was chosen for pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970. The song, sang by Nino Bravo and Franciska, failed to qualify for the final. The song eventually chosen was ‘Gwendolyne’, which Julio Iglesias would perform in the European competition.
TE QUIERO, TE QUIERO
Polydor: 23 85 003
Side A: Tú cambiarás / Como todos / Vuelvo a estar sin ti / No debo pensar en ti / Nuestro hogar será el mundo / Esa será mi casa
Side B: Voy buscando / Te quiero, te quiero / En libertad / Es el viento / Mi querida mama / Aquel atardecer
Nino Bravo’s first LP, released by Fonogram in June 1970. It compiles all the singles released up to then, including the recent ‘Te quiero, te quiero’ and ‘No debo pensar en ti’ (which he recorded in 1969 and was never released as a single), plus three more tracks recorded for the occasion.
Known in the singer’s inner circle as ‘the black record’, the cover photograph was taken during one of Nino Bravo’s first performances in Madrid’s music halls. The album was initially released under the artist’s name only but, given the spectacular success of the song ‘Te quiero, te quiero’, the album would be re-released at the end of 1970 with the title of this song.
Nino’s first LP would not receive good reviews from the country’s music journalists. One example of this is the following article, published in the newspaper La Vanguardia, which we have included below: “Nino Bravo is one of the most reliable Spanish solo singers. Everyone sees in him the potential of a real trailblazer, but everyone also regrets that Nino Bravo has not been able to find a repertoire that demonstrates the value of his interpretative skills. This has been the case for a long time now and has become a cliché by dint of permanent unanimity. And now comes this ‘long play’, which we have listened to avidly, wishing deep down that this fateful problem with his repertoire had finally been resolved. But no. With all the pain in our hearts we have to admit that this is not yet the case. It’s the same old repertoire, ditties ‘from Benidorm’, to give an indication, with which neither Nino Bravo nor even the Morning Star would be able to make a real impact on international consumers. Too bad, once again.”
Today, many of the tracks on this album are remembered and enjoyed by music fans of all ages and generations. It is clear, therefore, that the critics of the time were not exactly ‘visionaries’ when it came to the Valencian singer’s music.
PUERTA DE AMOR
Polydor: 20 62 013
Side A: Puerta de amor
Side B: Perdona
Nino Bravo’s fifth single is a cover version of Gene Pitney’s classic ‘A Street Called Hope’. The Spanish adaptation, under the title ‘Puerta de amor’, was performed by the bassist from his ensemble, Vicente López. The intricate backing music and the singer’s interpretative skills were not enough to repeat the success of ‘Te quiero, te quiero’, which at the end of 1970 was still selling more units than this new single.
The B-side offers a composition by Augusto Algueró, the writer of his previous hit, and Antonio Guijarro: ‘Perdona’.
MI GRAN AMOR
Polydor: 20 62 036
Side A: Mi gran amor
Side B: Noelia
Nino Bravo got it right again with his sixth single. The artist’s record label, Fonogram, once again entrusted Augusto Algueró to compose the two titles on the record, achieving with ‘Noelia’ another great success for the Valencian artist. Released in mid-1971, ‘Noelia’ almost immediately went to number one. The quality of the melody, the lyrics and the performance made this song a Spanish pop classic in which Nino Bravo uses his wonderful vocal skills to add drama to the story.
‘Mi gran amor’ is an English waltz with lyrics by Rafael de León, the popular copla songwriter who worked with Nino Bravo on ‘Te quiero, te quiero’.
Polydor: 20 85 010
Side A: Puerta de amor / El tren se va / El adiós / Ni el viento ni el tiempo / Por culpa tuya / Mis noches sin ti
Side B: Elizabeth / Amanecer / Flor de invernadero / Perdona / Ese hombre / Hoy soy feliz
The second LP by Nino Bravo, released by Fonogram in April 1971. In addition to the songs included in the single ‘Puerta de amor – Perdona’, it contains ten more songs composed by great musicians such as Pablo Herrero, José Luis Armenteros, Manuel de la Calva, Ramón Arcusa and Fernando Arbex.
The tracks ‘Puerta de amor’, ‘Perdona’, ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘El adiós’ were recorded in 1970, while the remaining 8 were recorded in the first three months of 1971. The record had a double cover, showing Nino Bravo in full performance, thus reinforcing the image of a singer with a powerful voice that the record company wanted to show to the public.
As with his first LP, Spanish critics were not particularly kind to the Valencian performer’s new recordings, and more specifically to his chosen repertoire, despite the success of his songs. This is highlighted in the following article, published in the newspaper La Vanguardia: “When an artist reaches the level of success and widespread popular acceptance that Nino Bravo has today, he has the right (or the obligation, depending on how you look at it) to produce a ‘long play’ record that has been thought out and produced with greater attention. To explain, a ‘long-playing’ record can be made, fundamentally, in two ways: either by accumulating recordings, one by one, until you have twelve, or by developing the content as one whole, with an objective, a pre-planned outline […].
Nino Bravo’s album, which has just been released by Polydor, has been made in line with the old system. There is no unifying root to it, and although these songs have never before been released as singles, the result is the same because a dozen different songs have been brought together here, by different authors, with entirely different instrumentation and nothing linking them together whatsoever. Half of them could be replaced by other songs without changing the feel of the album at all. In other words, it is not a novel; it is a collection of short stories. And at this level, and since we’re talking about Nino Bravo, this is a shame. Because with him, it should be possible to produce records better thought out than this […].”
UN BESO Y UNA FLOR
Polydor: 20 85 037
Side A: Un beso y una flor
Side B: Por fin mañana
A single released by Fonogram in early 1972 as a preview of Nino Bravo’s third LP. Herrero and Armenteros were once again responsible for the A-side of the single, which reaches number one in the charts almost instantly. ‘Un beso y una flor’, an apt creation by the aforementioned composers, can be interpreted as the farewell of someone who, due to life circumstances, must leave their loved ones for an indefinite period of time. The song was a new triumph for Nino Bravo, who was already at the peak of his success and was considered one of the greats of Spanish music.
UN BESO Y UNA FLOR
Polydor: 20 85 037
Side A: Un beso y una flor / Para darte mi corazón / Arena de otoño / Por fin mi amor / Para qué seguir / Noelia
Side B: Por fin mañana / Cartas amarillas / La niña es ya mujer / Mi gran amor / Contigo soy feliz / Yo te quiero dar
The third album released by Nino Bravo, and probably his most sentimental album, as well as one of his best sellers. Released in early 1972 by Fonogram, the title track immediately became a classic hit in Nino Bravo’s repertoire. It includes other timeless hits such as ‘Cartas amarillas’, by Juan Carlos Calderón, and ‘Noelia’, by Augusto Algueró.
However, Nino also wanted to imprint his own unique style on a number of foreign songs, such as ‘This girl is a woman now’ by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (converted into Spanish as ‘La niña es ya mujer’), ‘Look around’ by Francis Lai (a song from the soundtrack of the film ‘Love Story’, transformed into ‘Para darte mi corazón’ for Nino Bravo), and ‘All right my love’ by The New Seekers (‘Por fin mi amor’).
The album has a unifying feel, representing the creative maturity of an increasingly confident Nino Bravo. The cover photograph would become one of the most popular images of the singer after his death, to the extent that it was reused on countless occasions for compilation albums.
The first copies of the album are a collector’s item as they include a 1972 almanac with Nino’s image and the lyrics to his songs.
Polydor: 20 62 084
Side A: Libre
Side B: Vete
The last single to be released during Nino Bravo’s lifetime. At the end of 1972, Nino Bravo dedicated a song to one of the human issues most dear to him: freedom. The release of this song, once again composed by Pablo Herrero and José Luis Armenteros, was a truly courageous move at a time when the Franco dictatorship in Spain was still in its last throes. ‘Libre’ managed to climb to number one within a few weeks, and remained there even after the performer’s death in April 1973. Over the years, this song has become one of the most important songs in Spanish music, being chosen by popular vote in 2004 as the second best song of the last 50 years in Spain.
The photograph used for the cover of the single was taken at Nino Bravo’s Valencian home by the Catalan photographer Martin J. Louis.
Polydor: 23 85 049
Side A: Mi tierra / Vete / Volver a empezar / Eres todo cuanto quiero / El amor / Señora, señora
Side B: Libre / Por qué / Gracias a ti / Hoy te quiero ofrecer / Carolina / Te acuerdas, María
Nino Bravo’s fourth LP, released by Fonogram in November 1972, and the last during the singer’s lifetime. This is a great album, made up of songs in various styles, all performed with passion. It includes songs by such talented figures as Augusto Algueró, Juan Carlos Calderón, E. Rodrigo, Pablo Herrero and José Luis Armenteros.
The title track of the album was used to represent Spain at the 7th Festival Internacional de la Canción de Río de Janeiro (Río de Janeiro International Song Festival), where the first prize was taken away from Nino Bravo as a result of unfair treatment by the president of the jury. Even so, this song, a tribute to Valencia and Spain, displays the singer’s interpretative talent and the quality of his voice.
It also includes one of his greatest hits, ‘Libre’, whose lyrics touch on one of his favourite themes: the search for freedom. In a country immersed in the final stretch of Franco’s dictatorship, ‘Libre’ was a brave song that, due to its message, was banned in some countries. This is how the music press of the time spoke of Nino’s single: “In general terms, we believe more in Juan Carlos Calderón than in the duo Herrero and Armenteros as composers and, nevertheless, in this album we are much more satisfied with ‘Libre’, written by the aforementioned duo, than ‘Vete’, by the famous composer, arranger and pianist from Santander. In any case, the instrumentation in both the pieces are their work. Both feature Nino Bravo as always. His fans will love it but it will fail to convince his detractors. As expected.”
The reviews for Nino’s fourth LP were, this time, favourable. Music experts of the time could no longer deny the quality of the compositions and the artist’s incredible vocal performance, resulting in reviews such as the following: “Nino Bravo offers us a good record of his own, with an excellent title song, entitled ‘Mi tierra’, which is truly the best on the album. Enjoy, moreover, the most inspired of instrumental arrangements. This one is signed by the author of the song himself, Augusto Algueró; the others are the work of Juan Carlos Calderón and José Torregrosa.”
As a curiosity, it is worth mentioning that the cover photograph, by Martín J. Louis, was taken inside Nino Bravo’s Valencian home, located on Bachiller Street.
Polydor: 20 62 102
Side A: América, América
Side B: Yo no sé por qué esta melodía
A posthumous single by Nino Bravo, released in September 1973. The expectation created by the announcement of the singer’s unreleased recordings took ‘América, América’ straight to number 1. Weeks before its release, the song was premiered on the radio programme ‘Discomóder’ by the Valencian broadcaster Enrique Ginés. For Nino Bravo’s American audience, this song was a posthumous tribute to his homeland and a true anthem to the new continent. This posthumous success earned the soloist the title of ‘Cid Campeador’ of Spanish music, a reference to the medieval Castilian knight.
Polydor: 23 85 058
Side A: América, América / Vuelve / Mi mundo está vacío / Laura / Pintaré tu color
Side B: Yo no sé por qué esta melodía / Cantaré / Aquel amor / Mona Lisa / Vivir / Potpourri: Te quiero te quiero, Puerta de amor, Noelia, Un beso y una flor, Te quiero te quiero
Nino Bravo’s fifth and final original LP, released in September 1973. The orchestration was recorded in London (hence the English accent of the chorus in the song ‘América, América’), while the vocals were recorded in Madrid weeks before the fatal accident that took Nino Bravo’s life.
Nino Bravo’s posthumous album became went to number one in the weeks following its release. His fans, still in shock at the terrible loss of the artist, were eager to hear the final songs recorded by Nino, including his number 1 ‘América, América’, a tribute to his American audience, who had done so much for his international career.
This album includes the only known song where the singer himself collaborated in its composition: ‘Vivir’, one of his least known songs but one of the most transcendent in terms of its message. The song, finished by his friends Vicente López and Pepe Juesas, had originally been composed for Nino’s wife, Mary.
In keeping with Nino Bravo’s other albums, ‘…Y Vol. 5’ also includes his own versions of international hits such as ‘Laura’ (the great Frank Sinatra classic) and ‘Mona Lisa’ (an American standard made famous by the popular Nat King Cole), to which Nino successfully added his own personal style.
The LP culminates Nino Bravo’s original discography with a ‘potpourri’ of his greatest hits as a full stop. ‘…Y Vol. 5’ would be remastered under the title ‘América, América’ in 1995.