Remembering Brazilian Music’s Rita Lee

Remembering Brazilian music’s Rita Lee, shown here for the cover of her 1970 debut album, Build Up.
Remembering Brazilian music’s Rita Lee, shown here for the cover of her 1970 debut album, Build Up. Clcik to read a touching tribute and listen to her music.

fans Worldwide crowned Rita Lee ‘The Queen of Rock’

Remembering Brazilian music’s Rita Lee and her amazing trendsetting career.

Listen to a pair of Rita Lee fan favorites on our live-streaming station.

Rita Lee, one of Brazil’s most beloved pop and rock icons passed away in the early hours of Monday, May 8th.

The daughter of a Brazilian mother and Brazilian American father, Rita Lee Jones quickly became the contemporary face of Brazil’s short-lived Tropicalia movement as the lead singer of Os Mutantes.

The group’s success built a large national following with five albums from the late-60s through the early 70s. During this time Lee recorded her debut album, Build Up, which is considered a cult classic today. The pursuit of a solo career soon led to her expulsion from that group.

Opportunities came quickly for Rita Lee. The 1975 album Fruto Proibido became a surprise hit, setting a sales record and bringing her name to the attention of Brazil’s major labels.  

Fruto Proibido’s popularity earned her the title ‘Queen of Rock’ and Rolling Stone ranks it 16th on its list of its ‘100 Best Albums’.

Rita Lee and Roberto

Lee’s greatest success came with an introduction to her future husband, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Roberto de Carvalho. Together, they reeled off a series of memorable albums and dozens of hit songs.

Tunes like ‘Lança Perfume’, ‘Caso Sério’, ‘Desculpe o Auê’, ‘Saúde’, ‘Só de Você’, ‘Chega Mais’, and ‘Mania de Você’ came to define the lexicon of Brazilian Pop Music.

Her best-known album for American fans came in 2001. Originally titled Aqui, Ali, Em Qualquer Lugar (Here, There and Everywhere) Bossa ‘n Beatles remains a trendsetter for Bossa Nova cover songs for English-speaking fans worldwide.

Rita retired from performing regularly in 2012. Since then, Rita and Roberto lived a quiet life in the São Paulo countryside.

Lee, who celebrated her 75th birthday on New Year’s Eve succumbed to lung cancer after 18 months of treatment and a period of remission.

“My mother’s healing moved me so much…. Best news ever,” her son, Beto Lee wrote at the time. “She kept her head high, willing to fight, and faced everything with her usual good humor, so much so that she gave the tumor a nickname. That’s Rita!”

We’re Remembering Brazilian Music’s Rita Lee During May

This month, Rita Lee is our featured artist on AccuRadio’s Women of Brazilian Song Channel.

With a special thank you to D.J. Gaier and Paul Maloney, we’ve curated dozens of her best songs as a special way to say thank you to this talented, one-of-a-kind Brazilian singer and songwriter. You can even vote for your favorites!

Tap or click the banner below to listen anytime. It’s free.

Music, Travel, Friends, And Fun!

Remembering Brazilian music’s Rita Lee

Stories like ‘Remembering Brazilian music’s Rita Lee’ are what we do. Why don’t you join us? Sign Up for our e-letter. Listen to our ‘always live’ streaming station and our 15 streaming music channels, always free. Browse our Lifestyle Directory. Click here to like our Facebook page and here for Brazilian events coast to coast.