The Top 10 Bossa Nova Songs
The popularity of Brazilian music today has much to do with the bossa nova songs of the 1950s and 1960s. Thanks to legendary figures such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, and Joao Gilberto, Brazil was able to produce one of the most unique and enduring sounds in the history of Latin music. From Marcos Valle’s “Samba De Verao” to Jobim’s “The Girl from Ipanema,” the following are the most essential bossa nova tunes.
Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes – “Garota De Ipanema”
“The Girl From Ipanema” is easily the most popular bossa nova song ever recorded. In fact, it is the most famous Brazilian song of the 20th century. Originally written in 1962, “The Girl From Ipanema” became a worldwide hit after it was recorded in 1964 by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto (with vocals by Astrud Gilberto).
Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes – “Chega De Saudade”
“Chega De Saudade” may not be the most famous bossa nova track outside of Brazil. However, it is the song that marked the birth of bossa nova. Created in 1957 by the talented minds of Jobim and de Moraes, the song became a hit after it appeared on Joao Gilberto’s album Chega De Saudade.
Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim – “Aguas De Marco”
“Aguas De Marco” is not only one of the most famous bossa nova songs ever produced but also one of the most famous tracks in Brazilian music history. The most famous version is probably the one recorded by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina in 1974.
Antonio Carlos Jobim – “Corcovado”
Known in English as “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” this is a true Brazilian classic. Its nostalgic lyrics refer to the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, at the top of which is the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. The song is also known among guitarists as one of the easier bossa nova tunes to tackle.
Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonca – “Desafinado”
One of the most popular bossa nova songs of all time, “Desafinado” originally appeared on Joao Gilberto’s breakthrough album Chega De Saudade. The track became a huge hit around the world after it was recorded in 1962 by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.
Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Maria – “Manha De Carnaval”
This is the most popular recording by the legendary Brazilian artist Luiz Bonfa. The single was one of the tracks included in the 1959 Academy Award-winning film Black Orpheus. “Manha De Carnaval” is one of the bossa nova songs that cemented the appeal of Brazilian jazz around the world.
Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonca – “Samba De Uma Nota So”
The title of this song, known in English as “One Note Samba,” is a direct reference to the musical pattern of its melody. “Samba De Uma Nota So” was first recorded by American saxophonist Stan Getz in 1962 for his album Jazz Samba. It was one of several songs responsible for launching the bossa nova boom of the 1960s.
Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes – “Agua De Beber”
“Agua De Beber” is one of the many bossa nova hits written by Jobim and Vinicus de Moraes. This classic piece of Brazilian jazz has been re-recorded by a number of artists, including Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
Antonio Carlos Jobim – “Wave”
Also known as “Vou Te Contar,” this track is one of the jazziest bossa nova songs ever written by the talented Jobim. The song appears on his 1967 album Wave and on the 1977 Joao Gilberto album Amoroso. Although the melody may sound simple, “Wave” is full of rich musical details.
Marcos Valle – “Samba De Verao”
Known in English as “Summer Samba,” or “So Nice,” this track was originally written in 1966 by Brazilian artist Marcos Valle. There are many different interpretations of this breezy bossa nova track. Two of the most famous are by Bebel Gilberto and Caetano Veloso.