Bossa Nova Songs for Beginners

A Selection of Classic Bossa Nova Hits

Photo Courtesy Pictorial Parada / Getty Images
Bossa Nova Icon Tom Jobim. Photo Courtesy Pictorial Parada / Getty Images

The popularity that Brazilian music enjoys today around the world is tightly related to the following Bossa Nova songs. Thanks to legendary figures such as Antonio Carlos Jobim (aka Tom Jobim), Vinicius de Moraes and Joao Gilberto, Brazil was able to produce one of the most pleasant and enduring sounds in the history of Latin music. From Marcos Valle's "Samba De Verao" to the notes of the famous "Girl From Ipanema," the following list features some of the most essential Bossa Nova tracks ever produced in history.

10. "Samba De Verao" - Marcos Valle
Known in English as "Summer Samba" or "So Nice," this track was originally written in 1966 by Brazilian artist Marcos Valle. There are lots of different versions from this track. However, I personally like a lot the ones from Bebel Gilberto and Caetano Veloso. This is a very delicate, breezy Bossa Nova track I highly recommend.

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9. "Wave" - Tom Jobim
Originally born as "Vou Te Contar," this track is one of the jazziest Bossa Nova songs ever written by the talented Jobim. The song was released in 1977 as one of the tracks of Joao Gilberto's album Amoroso. Although the melody may sound simple, "Wave" is full of rich musical arrangements.

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8. "Agua De Beber" - Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes
"Agua De Beber" is only one of the many Bossa Nova hits produced by Tom Jobim and Vinicus de Moraes. This classical piece of Brazilian Jazz, a term coined from the Bossa Nova boom, has a funny story behind.

Its title does not refer to plain water but rather to a good glass of an alcoholic drink.

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7. "Samba De Uma Nota So" - Tom Jobim and Newton Mendonca
The title of this song, which is 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. This was one of the songs responsible for creating the Bossa Nova boom of the 1960s.

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6. "Manha De Carnaval" - Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Maria
This is the most popular recording of the legendary Brazilian artist Luiz Bonfa. The single was one of the tracks included in the 1959 Academy Award movie "Black Orpheus." "Manha De Carnaval" is one of the Bossa Nova songs that consolidated the appeal of Brazilian Jazz around the world.

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5. "Desafinado" - Tom Jobim and Newton Mendonca
One of the most popular Bossa Nova songs of all time, "Desafinado" was originally included in Joao Gilberto's breakthrough album Chega De Saudade. However, this track became a huge hit around the world thanks to the 1962 recording produced by Stan Getz and Charlie Bird. The sound of the saxophone on this tune provides some of the most essential notes of Brazilian Jazz.

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4. "Corcovado" - Tom Jobim
Known in English as "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars," this is one of the most classic Bossa Nova songs ever written in Brazilian music. The song's nostalgic melody is a direct reference to the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro.

By the way, if you are just getting into Bossa Nova guitar, this is one of the 'easiest' songs to tackle.

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3. "Aguas De Marco" - Elis Regina and Tom Jobim
"Aguas De Marco" is not only one of the most famous Bossa Nova songs ever produced but also one of the most famous tracks ever recorded in Brazilian music history. The classic version that Tom Jobim and Elis Regina recorded back in 1974 is by far the best one. This is as simple and beautiful as it gets in Bossa Nova music.

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2. "Chega De Saudade" - Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes
Maybe "Chega De Saudade" is not the most famous Bossa Nova track outside Brazil. However, this is the song that marked the birth of Bossa Nova. Written in 1957 by the talented minds of Jobim and de Moraes, the song became a hit with Joao Gilberto's album Chega De Saudade.

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1. "Garota De Ipanema" - Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes
"The Girl From Ipanema" is the ultimate, most popular Bossa Nova song ever recorded. This track is, in fact, the most famous Brazilian song of the 20th century. Originally written in 1962, "The Girl From Ipanema" became a worldwide hit thanks to the collaboration work between Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim and Astrud Gilberto.

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Your Citation
Quintana, Carlos. "Bossa Nova Songs for Beginners." ThoughtCo, Nov. 25, 2014, thoughtco.com/bossa-nova-songs-for-beginners-2141183. Quintana, Carlos. (2014, November 25). Bossa Nova Songs for Beginners. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/bossa-nova-songs-for-beginners-2141183 Quintana, Carlos. "Bossa Nova Songs for Beginners." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/bossa-nova-songs-for-beginners-2141183 (accessed December 11, 2017).