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Maria Moita author passes away

Our contributor from Brazil Marcelo Soares writes:

Legendary bossa nova composer Carlos Lyra has died today, December 16, 2023, at the age of 90.

You may not be a bossa nova fan, but you definitely have heard of at least one of his songs, Maria Moita — the riff, originally written by Tom Jobim for Lyra, has a very definite resemblance to Smoke on the Water. [We’ve speculated before on these pages how the Purple people could have encountered the tune.]

Maria Moita was written for Pobre Menina Rica (Poor Rich Girl) — originally a musical, which never turned into a stage production. It became a tour, and an album, recorded in 1964. All lyrics were written by Vinicius de Moraes, one of the best known poets in Brazil and also the author of the lyrics for Girl from Ipanema and other bossa nova standards.

30 Comments to “Maria Moita author passes away”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The blond girl on the album cover is of course Candice. If you steal the riff, you also get the girl eventually, easy as that.

    Descansa em paz + obrigado for a catchy tune!

    And it‘s highly likely that even Ritchie himself heard that track by sheer coincidence as a young man as there was an outright Bossa Nova craze in Swinging Soho as early as 1963.

  2. 2
    MacGregor says:

    Thanks for the music Tom & Carlos, if it wasn’t for the riff we know & some aficionados mentioning this years ago I wouldn’t know anything about the music you did. RIP

  3. 3
    Gregster says:


    Yes well…Cough,cough…The riff is pretty-much identical…Assemble the legal team lol !

    It sounds like it was made for “Dr.No”, or “From Russia with Love” but filming went on to the Bahama’s / Turkey…

    It just goes to show how what we now label “Jazz” was popular music “Pop” back then.

    RIP Mr. Lyra.

    Peace !

  4. 4
    timmi bottoms says:

    Don’t know who this person was, but rest in peace 🎈

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    He just wrote Smoke On The Water, nothing more really! :mrgreen:

  6. 6
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    Alex Lifeson references Girl from Ipanema which can be seen and heard within the Rush in Rio DVD…. :>


  7. 7
    timmi bottoms says:

    @ 5………🤦‍♂️……..¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  8. 8
    Henrik says:

    Ritchie tells it is a variation of Beethoven 5th, whichit is.

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I’ve always taken that reference with a grain of salt, Henrik, the note sequence and the rhythm of the two “riffs” don’t correspond at all, so where is the commonality? I think Ritchie was once again taking the piss.

    Carlos Lyra’s composition OTOH is extremely similar to SOTW. While it has that Bossa Nova syncopation (Ritchie’s riff has more downbeat notes though there are offbeat ones as well), the rhythmic spacing has a lot in common. The notes too are largely the same and then there is especially that telltale diminished fifth (the slightly odd, but hugely effective sixth note that leads to the natural fourth in SOTW) which is the musical spice in both melodies.

    I think Ritchie had a real knack – good stealing is an art – in picking up non-rock melodies and translating them into a rock format. He did that with SOTW, the Eastern European radio jingle-derived Pictures of Home and Burn (the song) which was inspired by Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm.



  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    There is no doubt Blackmore will take that to the grave with him, just where did he get that Smoke idea from. He could have used both ideas as an influence, the Carlos idea added with the heaviness & simplicity of Beethoven’s 5th ‘riff’. We will more than likely never know & that in itself is what ‘mystery’ & the Man in Black is all about. The Little River Band have a good song on their debut album titled ‘The Man in Black’. I remember some of the lyrics. ‘He was the man in black nobody knew why he came, the man in black does anyone here know his name’. Cheers


  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    That Little River Band debut from 1975 was a kangaroo pouch of memorable songs, no two ways about it!


    It got rave reviews deservedly at the other end of the world, notably in Germany (it only came out here in early 1976, but I still remember it being featured as the “album of the month”).

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Listening to this, the similarity is beyond coincidence I think.


    That doesn’t mean that Ritchie was aware that he was working from an already existing idea when he “came up” with the riff, sometimes things just stick subconsciously in your memory and if you have only heard them once.

    And this is where we’ve finally come full circle, SOTW returning to its Latin American roots, bem-vindo a casa so to say …


  13. 13
    Nick says:

    Uwe @12:

    surely, you must be joking about the full circle thing!

    the full circle came in here:

    also, teased about on a number of previous appearances at the montreux jazz festival

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    I do remember that ‘jazz’ version by Purple from 2012, good to see that again as I had forgotten all about it. Uwe @ 11 – good to hear LRB were appreciated in Germany back then. I only like that original lineup & the debut & 2nd album After Hours. I bought the third a little after 1977 with a new lead guitarist & bass guitarist, but they ventured into a more commercial territory & cracked the USA charts etc. They still had the odd good song though for a few more years. Ric Formosa on lead guitar was usually sublime but here he really is messing about with his earlier solo & he sounds like he is not getting into it at all. That original album lead guitar soloing is as good as anyone I have ever heard. Other commenters noticed that also, maybe he was bored with it all already as he resigned from pop/rock music after the 2nd album touring in 1976. He then went to Italy (his home country) & studied orchestra composition & conducting & passed with flying colours. After a while he moved back to Oz to continue along those paths. No more rock ‘n roll for Ric but he has been successful in all the other fields of composition & conducting orchestras, recording orchestral scores with popular artists & commercials & possibly music for movies etc from what I have read. Thanks for that live clip as there hasn’t ever been any available at all of that original lineup, I have never seen that one. I did witness this original LRB in concert in 1976, an outdoor gig & they were grand. Cheers.

    the original extended studio song It’s A Long Way There


  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    Talking of LRB apparently they supported Deep Purple Mark IV in 1975. Well at least in Melbourne from what I noticed. That original studio version LRB song It’s A Long Way There & Ric Formosa played a Stratocaster on the album from my memory of that. On that live clip he is playing a SG Gibson. A totally different sound as well as a strange at times solo. Hearing a different solo to the 48 year old original to my ears takes some getting use to. I will watch that clip again a few times to see if I can get into that solo. I cannot remember what guitar Formosa had at that 1976 concert, my faint memory tells me a Strat, but that is a long time ago. Cheers.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I think the Señor Coconut version preceded Don’s exquisite Jazz excursions and it was of course also more Latin American.

  17. 17
    MacGregor says:

    A interview with Ric Formosa from a few years ago regarding nailing the original lengthy guitar solo from It’s A Long Way There in one take whilst riddled with the flu & his experience meeting & playing BB King’s guitar as a 15 year old when he lived in Canada. Formosa is the reason I listened to LRB more than I probably would have when I first heard Curiosity Killed The Cat. They had good songs of course, but that guitarist at that time, who is this guy. When Blackmore quit Purple & after the devastation of hearing that it didn’t matter upon hearing Ric Formosa. Then after one year he quits LRB & disappears from popular music. What is it with these lead guitarists, moody so & so’s. Formosa thought little of ‘fame’ & all the rubbish that went with it. Notice he has his face covered with his cap & keeping it down & not looking like he is enjoying it. His playing on this clip reflects that I do believe. Below is the recent interview. Cheers.


  18. 18
    Rock Voorne says:

    Its hilarious to see Blackmores sense of humour stirs many threads

    If you click on the YT clips about Astrud Gilbert and Maria Moita its bombarded with frustrated South Americans
    Some of them even projecting a certain kind of racism on Blackmore(Allegedly he made this up so he avoid having to admit a “minor” country is the source of his riff.). Its hilarious and like woke pityful.

    I think during his career he never shied away from telling where he got inspured by and what he nicked into his (Candice s invention)Blackmorising machine.

    I m probably out of my league here but would Gilberto and the dude which name eludes me be talked about much if it werent for the succes of the DEEP PURPLE song? A song of which they first felt was a throw away song!

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Better good stealing


    than bad originality. And Ritchie has always been frank about it (unlike that OTHER BAND that always gets sued first). He probably just forgot about the South American origins of SOTW or he would have long incorporated it into one of his jokes.

  20. 20
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @18: Rock wrote: “… would Gilberto and the dude which name eludes me be talked about much if it werent for the succes of the DEEP PURPLE song?”

    Yes, they would. These people brought Brazilian music to the masses, including American jazz musicians who took the music further and made it even more famous. I would even take a chance and say most people who knows Maria Moita for it’s own merits, doesn’t even know what a “Deep Purple” is. 🙂

  21. 21
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @8: As far as I remember, RB didn’t say it was a variation on Beethoven’s fifth. He compared the SOTW riff to the fifth, saying how they are both a simple theme that appeals to many people. That music doesn’t have to be complicated to reach the masses.

  22. 22
    MacGregor says:

    Yes I remember Blackmore saying that about Beethoven’s fifth on the video interview. It reminds me of what he said Pete Townshend told him in the late 60’s, keeping it simple is the key. Agree also with those musicians from South America, they were big in their day in that regards & still to this day no doubt. Deep who? Uwe @ 19 – that ‘other’ band blatantly stole songs & or song sections. Blackmore never did that. Unless Jon Lord did he he he? Blackmore like you have stated before was inspired by little things here & there like so many are & always will be. Turn it inside out, backwards even & add a little some thing else to something else etc. Don’t blame poor ole Ritchie otherwise this thread will far out pace that other one. We will be heading towards one thousand comments before you know it. Cheers

  23. 23
    Rock Voorne says:


    I already was covering my too wild approach, I think.

    I might miss out on a lot but to me it always sounded like elevatormusic (1)and or for old people that d get a heartattack when exposed to IN ROCK.

    I should be careful cause I never can get into subjects like other can though I must admit I often zapped through threads with IMHO OTT technical data.

    1 : I encountered an old Jimmy Page interview from 2007 which went a lot into his times as a sessionplayer
    It was funny to read that as a kid he was hired to play MUZAK.

    Intriguing cause he suggested that of many tracks he did people dont know.

    Well, I ll probably be long gone when a Led Zeppelin historian retrieves them.
    Jimmy Page does not seem to be in a hurry to satisfy his by now collapsing in big numbers yearning fans.

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    @ 19 – is that the very first genuine live performance on film of the classic Uriah Heep lineup? And also their not as ‘perfect’ as the studio recorded harmony vocals. Am I being pedantic, critical & having far too high an expectation of the other Heep members supporting vocals. Yes indeed I am because I really do wonder about their delivery of that live in concert. The official double Live in 1973 album from Birmingham has all too perfect studio album sound alike vocals on it. Hmmmmmmmmm gee I am a cynical so & so at times. Anyhow it was still good to see and hear a unadulterated song being performed ‘live’ by the Heepsters. Cheers.

  25. 25
    Rock Voorne says:


    I wasnt around in the 70 s or even 80 s to see UH. I forgot if I did in the 90 s.

    It took me a long time , even though I had not been around in the beginning, to get over my me missing Byron and Hensley attitude.

    I do recall around 2005 I watched their show and their harmonyvocals were bliss.

    I joined in as a matter of fact. It was one of those moments I felt equipped to do so.
    Probably sounds annoying, and I know where you re coming from if you say so.

  26. 26
    MacGregor says:

    Another live Uriah Heep song from that Midnight Special September 1973 show. The song Sweet Freedom edited at a couple of quieter sections obviously for time restraints. Great footage of Lee Kerslake & Gary Thain on the bass even more so. Uwe should like that me thinks. Cheers.


  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    The Don Kirshner Shepparton film from 1974 has what appears to be genuine live footage related to the audio. Some of the filming tends to jump around too much & have repeated visual shots & I have read some comments over the years about footage & audio being ‘touched up’. The audio is the main thing though. It does give us the only known at this point in time view of the classic Heep era live in concert. Also with the recent two clips from the 1973 Midnight Special show. This Kirshner film is the Wonderworld album tour & some of those songs are far from their best, not to worry. @ 25 – the vocals are fine as long as they are on song, which they were at times, so yes why not sing along. Uriah Heep can do that to us at times. Even Blackmore’s Night do a Heep song occasionally from what I have read, Lady in Black from the Salisbury album & no doubt a sing along occurs there with the audience. Who knows even Blacker’s may join in with a vocal cameo at times. Even our resident BN aficionado Uwe may have also? The Byron, Hensley, Thain, Box & Kerslake lineup of Heep is by far the strongest. Below is the link to the 1974 short concert film. That classic Byron vocal line from the Stealin’ song “all that fighting & killing, wine & woman are gonna put me in my grave” that certainly did occur with Byron at the age of 38. Well maybe not the killing bit. Cheers.


  28. 28
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I never saw Heep with Byron , I saw them once with Lawton and numerous times with Bernie Shaw as the lead vocalist. I would have liked to have seen them with Pete Goalby, I liked his voice (Lawton was good too). I even dug ‘Rockarama’ which sounded a bit like Duran Duran doing YES’ Owner Of A Loner Heart! :mrgreen:


    Heep could be both things, sometimes within one song: catchy songwriters and incredibly cheesy, but that was part of their charm. Byron was often a little too operatic and prancing about on stage for me. That said, I really, really liked him with Rough Diamond who were severely underrated:





    For that Rough Diamond performance he had cleaned himself up considerably, in his last months with Heep he had become a walking talking stage liability:


    As far as I’m aware, BN don’t dare go near Lady In Black on their German dates, it’s too much identified with Uriah Heep and by far their most popular song with tons of airplay here. I’m not sure whether Ritchie and Candice were ever aware how much of a hit it was in Germany, climbing the charts repeatedly in different eras, inter alia in the Lawton one, six years after its initial release:


    It would be a bit like Uriah Heep suddenly breaking into SOTW at one of their gigs today. Heep in Germany had at one point a status that surpassed both Sabbath and Zeppelin and was only shortly behind Deep Purple. I remember an interview with Paul Rodgers by a German music mag, it was around Running With The Pack (the album), and he quipped to the journo in German: “How are things in Germany, are Deep Purple and Uriah Heep still your favorite bands?!”

  29. 29
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Now, were the experimental half of 10cc playing a joke on Purple or tipping their hats directly to Carlos Lyra? Or both?


  30. 30
    MacGregor says:

    Definitely a nod to Carlos there big time. The tempo & feel of it & also the give away title. Well done Uwe. Cheers.

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