Orlando Silva is regarded by many as the best Brazilian singer of all times. Certainly he was fundamental in the process of modernization of Brazilian popular music, through his subtle rhythmic facility allied to an intelligent interpretation and a flexible phrasing. Before Silva, Brazilian music was dominated by potent voices like Francisco Alves', which were very much indebted to operatic performance. It was Silva who, inspired by Sílvio Caldas' delicate style (and also by Alves' powerful vocal gift), introduced a new way of singing, in which his perfect diction, uncanny voice control, precise intonation, and creative use of rhythm produced a vigorous school that ultimately influenced João Gilberto, the whole bossa nova, the tropicália, and the MPB styles. Orlando Silva was also the first idol of the masses in Brazil. In his prime -- from the mid-'30s to the mid-'40s -- he was the most popular Brazilian artist ever. His live performances used to attract so many people that he soon became known as "O Ídolo das Multidões" (The Idol of the Multitudes). The adoration of the crowds reached extremes that would only be repeated, several years later, around the Frank Sinatra phenomenon. After 1945, though, Silva's voice was clearly signaling that years of heavy substance abuse were charging their price; he lost the clarity of his high-range, the cleanness of his timbre. He entered a period of obscurity, but he somehow managed to carry on with his wonderful interpretations even if his instrument was not the same anymore. Silva continued to sing professionally until 1975, when he recorded his last LP, Hoje (RCA Victor), completing 40 years of career.