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Renato Russo

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1960 – 1996)

Renato Russo (March 27, 1960 - October 11, 1996) was the formal founder and leader of the Brazilian rock band, Legião Urbana (Urban Legion).

He was born in Rio de Janeiro, as Renato Manfredini Júnior. His father was an executive of the Banco do Brasil, and they moved to New York in 1967, when Renato’s father was assigned a job position on the city. Later, they came back to Rio de Janeiro before finally, in 1973, moving to Brasília.

At the age of 15, Renato acquired epiphysiolysis, a disease that paralyzed his legs for two years. Due to this condition, Renato became an enthusiastic reader. He studied Law. He grew interested in music, particularly . He worked as a journalist and an English teacher for a brief period before becoming a full-time musician and composer.

During the years of 1978 and 1979, he was the bass player of the rock band Aborto Elétrico (Electric Abortion). Although the band did not last too long, Renato Russo wrote many songs during this period, that would later become hits of Capital Inicial (founded by the other members of the Aborto Elétrico) and Legião Urbana (founded by Renato Russo).

In 1982, he, along with Marcelo Bonfá, Dado Villa-Lobos and Renato Rocha, formed the Legião Urbana (idealized some time before by Renato Russo). With “Legião Urbana” and “Dois”, they became widely famous in Brazil, with protest songs at first, and songs about love, spiritualism, family and sex afterwards.

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