Composer of the hit "Menina da Ladeira," which had dozens of re-recordings by several artists, João Só moved to Salvador when he was still a child.
There he became a self-taught musician, starting to play the guitar and the cavaquinho very early and performing at the novice show Hora da Criança at the Rádio Cultura da Bahia. A professional by age 15, he played several instruments at nightclubs, including the violin, the double bass, and percussion. In the late '60s, he worked at the TV Aratu. His activities as a solo artist began in the early '70s, touring north and northeast of Brazil with a promotional group of artists from the EMI recording company. He then recorded his biggest hit, "Menina da Ladeira" (through Odeon). The immediate success brought him invitations to perform throughout Brazil and even abroad. In 1972, after his performance in Argentina with Paulo Diniz, João Só recorded the first of his 14 LPs. According to his brother Geraldo Magela, who was his impresario at the time, Carlos Imperial proposed a marketing plan to them which involved impersonations of João Só by a double, also involving other highly popular artists of the time. The refusal to participate in the scheme -- still according to Magela -- brought retaliations by the powerful producer. The fact is that since then and until Imperial's demise, the extremely popular interpretation of the song by João Só all but disappeared from the radios while instrumental versions and those recorded by other artists continued to be broadcast. In 1978, João Só went to live in São Paulo, doing shows, and in 1984 he returned to Salvador, where he died. ~ Alvaro Neder, Rovi