Top Famous Brazilian Songs

Os Mutantes performing in 2011
Performance by Os Mutantes. Andy Sheppard / Contributor / Getty Images

The following list includes some of the most famous Brazilian songs ever recorded in history. This selection of tracks was produced by a group of artists responsible for shaping the sounds of Brazilian music. If you want to get a feeling for this wonderful music, these singles will lead you in the right direction.

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Os Mutantes – “Panis et Circensis” (1968)

This song is probably the most prominent hit from the album with the same name. Panis et Circensis is the name of a collaboration work that included the talent of artists such as Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Nara Leao and Gal Costa. This track is a point of reference for anyone with an interest in knowing more about the sounds that shaped the Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) movement and, in particular, the Tropicalia phenomenon that changed Brazilian music in the 1960s.

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Roberto Carlos – “Detalhes” (1971)

This song is one of the most beautiful Brazilian love songs ever written. The melody is delicate and harmonious and the lyrics are honest, moving and heartbreaking. This track may be the best song Roberto Carlos has ever produced. In addition to this, "Detalhes" played an important role in the making of modern Brazilian Pop music.​

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João Gilberto – “Desafinado” (1959)

Back in 1959, there was an album that started the whole Bossa Nova movement. The name of that work was Chega de Saudade and its sounds were heavily influenced by the revolutionary guitar playing style created by João Gilberto. "Desafinado" became one of the best singles from that album and a worldwide sensation after it was recorded by Stan Getz and Charlie Bird in 1962.​

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Waldir Azevedo – “Brasileirinho” (1947)

"Brasileirinho" is one of those songs that have become part of the collective soul of Brazil. An amazing choro composed by cavaquinho player Waldir Azevedo back in 1947, "Brasileirinho" has been a musical point of reference for generations in Brazil. This is a top song within the Choro genre, a musical style that has touched almost every corner of the Brazilian music realm.

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Chico Buarque – “Roda Viva” (1968)

"Roda Viva" is one of the first Brazilian songs that spoke against the dictatorship of the 1960s and 1970s in that country. In this sense, this song is a pioneer in the fight against oppression and censorship. The lyrics are subtle but strong if one listens carefully. This song is one of the most brilliant pieces written by Chico Buarque, one of the best Brazilian musicians in history.

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Jorge Ben – “Mas Que Nada” (1963)

From one of the most innovative Brazilian artists, "Mas Que Nada" represents the beginning of Jorge Ben's career. Besides the appeal that Jorge Ben created with his unique musical style, which combined Samba, Rock, and Funk, this artist was able to create a particular connection with the people thanks to the honest and simple language he incorporated into his music. This eternal song enjoyed a recent success thanks to the version that Sergio Mendes put together with the ​Black Eyed Peas.

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Ary Barroso – “Aquarela Do Brasil” (1939)

This song is part of the Brazilian pride. In fact, it was written in 1939 by Ary Barroso, a musician who invented the so-called Samba of Exaltation, which focused on music that highlighted the beauty of Brazilian nature. This song has been the most recorded Brazilian single after "Garota de Ipanema" ("The Girl From Ipanema") and even Donald Duck danced to its beats in the famous Disney animated picture Saludos Amigos. This is definitely one of the most famous Brazilian songs in history.

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Tom Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes – “Chega de Saudade” (1957)

"Chega de Saudade" is commonly regarded as the most important piece of Bossa Nova. This single was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes in 1957 and it was part of the album Cancao Do Amor Demais. However, it became a real hit with Joao Gilberto's version from the album Chega de Saudade, a musical production that became an inspiration for several Brazilian artists.

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Elis Regina & Tom Jobim – “Aguas De Marco” (1974)

"Aguas De Marco" is considered by many the most important Brazilian song ever recorded. In fact, in 2001 it gained the title as the best Brazilian song in history in a contest organized by the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. The most outstanding version of this song was the one produced by Elis Regina and Tom Jobim for the album Elis & Tom recorded in 1974. A beautiful, delicate song that describes a natural environment that gives birth to life.

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Tom Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes – “Garota De Ipanema” (1962)

"The Girl From Ipanema," the English name of this song, is the most famous Brazilian song in history. In fact, it is still the most recorded Brazilian track to date. Thanks to the English version from the album Getz/Gilberto, this single won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. A simple song inspired by the gorgeous figure of a girl walking through the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.