One of the most successful and popular singers on Jovem Guarda (after Roberto Carlos and together with Jerry Adriani and Erasmo Carlos), Wanderley Cardoso was in fact always a romantic singer and perhaps the number one romantic singer on Jovem Guarda. Yet even during those times, he recorded only a few tracks accompanied by a group, relying instead on full orchestras.
Cardoso had a hit in 1959, at 13, with "A Canção do Jornaleiro" (Heitor Dos Prazeres). Abandoning the artistic scenery for his studies in 1962 and then graduating as an accountant, he started to do TV shows again, launching in 1963 his first single with "Deu a Louca no Mundo" and "Rosana." His second single was the hit "Preste Atenção," a version by Paulo Queiroz of "Fais Attention," by Chauby-du Pac that reached fifth place on the charts and had a Spanish version for the Latin market. Around 1965, he was popular enough to be considered by Roberto Carlos his rival as a youth music singer. In that period, he participated regularly at the TV Rio show Festa de Arromba, in the same vein as Jovem Guarda. His hit "Abraça-me Forte" (version by Genival Melo, 1965) yielded an invitation to star in the eponymous film directed by Mozael Silva and co-starring Rosemary, but Cardoso ended up abandoning the project and Jerry Adriani was invited to substitute for him. In the end, the whole thing was canceled. In 1965, Cardoso also had success with "Deus te Acompanhe" (from the LP Perdidamente Apaixonado), which reached fourth place. In the next year, he became the host of the Novos Nove Show (TV Excelsior), that also competed with the Jovem Guarda, immediately winning his own show at the outing (Excelsior A Go Go). He would let go this show due to his tight schedule of shows throughout Brazil. In the same year, he starred the film O Ídolo, that depicted his life. One of his biggest hits, "Meu Amor Brigou Comigo" (Eliza Moreira) is from his LP Juventude e Ternura (1966), on which he also recorded his first composition, "Meu Regresso" (with Genival Melo). In the same year, Rosemary recorded one of his earliest compositions, "Que Bom Seria" (with Carlos César). In 1967, (when he won a Northeastern contest with 65,000 votes, being elected "the king of the Pernambucan youth") Cardoso became known nationwide for his regular performances on the Jovem Guarda show and his hit "O Bom Rapaz" (from the eponymous LP) reached first place on the charts in April, pushing out Roberto Carlos' "Namoradinha de Um Amigo Meu." In the next year, he had success with "Socorro, Nosso Amor Está Morrendo" (Fábio). In that period, he started to focus on originals, having success with "Doce de Coco" (1968) and "Quando o Amor se Transforma em Poesia" (from the eponymous 1969 LP). In 1968, Cardoso was awarded with the Chico Viola prize.
In the '70s, Cardoso abandoned rock and dedicated himself exclusively to the romantic repertory, touring the U.S. and Latin America. In 1972, he won the Festival Piriapolis (Uruguay) as Best Singer and Best Composer with "Vivo Para Ver Você Viver." In that decade, he had success with "Minha Namorada" (Roberto Corrêa/John Lemos), "Preciso Tanto de Você" (José Augusto), and "Até Pensei" (Chico Buarque), having also done incursions in the pop-sertanejo repertory. Continuing to record and perform, in 1995 Cardoso participated in recordings (30 Anos de Jovem Guarda/Os Reis do Iê-iê-iê) and shows in commemoration of 30 years of the Jovem Guarda. ~ Alvaro Neder, Rovi