Renato Russo

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Renato Russo (born March  27, 1960 in Rio de Janeiro , †  October 11, 1996 in Rio de Janeiro), whose real name was Renato Manfredini Júnior , was a Brazilian singer and composer . He was the founder of the rock band Legião Urbana ("Urban Legion").


Childhood and youth

As the son of an employee of the Banco do Brasil , the largest Brazilian bank, Renato Manfredini Júnior lived in Rio de Janeiro until he was six years old. In 1967 he moved with his family to the borough of Queens of New York due to the transfer of his father . In 1969 the family returned to Rio, but the impressions of this time remained, which influenced the later singer in his texts and views. In 1973 the family moved to the Brazilian capital Brasília.

At the age of 15, Russo developed epiphysiolysis , a condition that paralyzed his legs for two years. He used this time to read intensively and studied law . But more important was the discovery of his passion for music, especially punk . He himself referred to this as the time "in which [my] musicality developed". Before he finally became a full-time musician, he worked as a journalist and English teacher.

Musical development

From 1978 to 1979 he was the bassist in the rock band Aborto Elétrico ("Electrical Abortion") alongside the brothers Fê Lemos (drums) and Flávio Lemos. During the four years of Aborto Elétrico's existence (1978 to 1982) Russo wrote many songs that were later hits by Capital Inicial , founded a. a. by the Lemos brothers, and by Legião Urbana .

Legião Urbana was founded by him in 1982 together with Marcelo Bonfá, Eduardo Paraná and Paulo Paulista. However, Eduardo Paraná and Paulo Paulista left the band after a few appearances. In their place came Renato Rocha and Dado Villa-Lobos (with a short interlude from Ico-Ouro Preto), with which the band assumed their classic and best-known line-up. Only from 1984 to 1989 did the band have another bass player in Pedro Rocha. Led by Renato Russo, Legião Urbana rose to become one of the most important figures on the Brazilian music scene. His fans adored him. With his texts critical of the system and later with songs about love, spirituality, family and sex, he expressed what moved her. His most famous songs are Faroeste Caboclo , Pais e filhos , Que país é esse , Eduardo e Mônica , Geração Coca-Cola , etc. a.

In the 1990s he released two solo albums with Italian and English language songs.

In 1990 Russo publicly acknowledged his bisexuality and admitted to using drugs at the beginning of his career.

He died in 1996 from the immunodeficiency AIDS . According to rumors, he is overwhelmed by depression , suicide committed. Supporters of this thesis refer to the text of his piece Via Láctea ("Milky Way") from the album A Tempestade :

"Quando tudo está perdido
Eu me sinto tão sozinho
Quando tudo está perdido
Não quero mais ser quem eu sou"

"When everything is lost
I feel so alone
When everything is lost
I don't want to be who I am"

After his death, the remaining members of Legião Urbana decided to break up the band.

Russo left behind a 7-year-old son, Giuliano Manfredini.


The film about the life of Renato Russo was released in 2013 under the title 'Somos tão Jovens' ( We are so young ). With Thiago Mendonça in the role of the eccentric musician, the film shows how the young Renato Manfredini Júnior became the celebrated musician Renato Russo, which people influenced him and which crises he went through. Beginning with the time of his illness and ending with one of his first major appearances in Rio de Janeiro, the film leaves gaps in the singer's biography.


Solo albums

  • 1994: The Stonewall Celebration Concert
  • 1995: Equilibrio distante
  • 1997: O último solo
  • 2003: Renato Russo Presente

Web links

Commons : Renato Russo  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. 20 anos sem Renato Russo: veja 12 curiosidades sobre vocalista da Legião Urbana., October 11, 2016, accessed January 15, 2020 (Brazilian Portuguese).
  2. ^ A b Cláudia Carneiro, André Barreto: Renato Russo - Do inferno ao céu., March 2000, accessed January 15, 2020 (Brazilian Portuguese).
  3. 6 motivos para assistir a 'Somos tão Jovens', films que estreia nesta sexta., May 2, 2013, accessed January 15, 2020 (Brazilian Portuguese).