Song No. 128 — Copacabana | João de Barro ‘Braguinha’ & Alberto Ribeiro (1944)

Copacabana was introduced in 1946 by Dick Farney as A-side to Barqueiro do São Francisco. The song was an instant smash finishing Brazil’s year-end charts as number 4 in 1946 and number 1 in 1947.

In 1944, American film producer and director Wallace Downey commissioned a song that would help to shape the image for a New York night club named after the famous beach. Since the club never saw the light of day, the song remained unknown until 1946, when João de Barro convinced Dick Farney to record it. At first, Farney hesitated to sing in his native language as he was about to launch his career in the US playing American music only.

Farney recorded the song basically as a favour for the composer João de Barro who was also director of the record company Continental. Radamés Gnattali’s arrangement including eight violins, two violas, cello, oboe, piano, guitar, bass and drums was considered idiosyncratic as it was unusual at the time for samba recordings.

Dick Farney recorded Copacabana four more times. First with Paul Baron and his orquestra during his stay in New York in 1947, at which he also recorded one of the earliest versions of Tenderly. However, this version was initially released in the US only. In Brazil, it was issued only in 1954 on single as well as on the album Dick Farney no Broadway which compiled all his US recordings for the Brazilian audience. In 1958, Farney’s album Atendendo a Pedidos included a recording arranged and conducted by Léo Peracchi. The next year, Dick Farney e seu Jazz Moderno no Auditorio de O Globo included a live quartet version featuring Paulo Moura on saxophone. Finally in 1972, Penumbra Romance included a bossa nova rendition with an uncredited sax solo.

About ten single releases were issued over the next six years after it’s debut, including by Luis Piçarra who was the first to pick up the song in 1947, Gilberto Grossi and Radamés Gnattali in 1948, Jorge Veiga’s successful rendition with Orquestra Tabajara de Severino Araújo in 1950, and José Menezes in 1951 and Mário Gennari Filho in 1952.

One of the classic musical declarations of love to Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana was recorded about 160 times to this day.

Selected recordings of Copacabana:

1. Dick Farney from the single Copacabana b/w Barqueiro do São Francisco (1946, Continental 15.663-a)

2. Dick Farney from the single Copacabana b/w How Soon (1947, Majestic [USA] 1179) and the album Dick Farney no Broadway (1954, Sinter SLP 1013)


3. Jorge Veiga from the single Copacabana b/w Fizeram Moamba (1950, Continental 16.218-a)

4. Edmundo Ros from the single Copacabana b/w The Hat Seller (1950, Decca [UK] F.9189) and the album album Edmundo Ros e Seu Ritmo Latino (1964, London Records [BRA] ‎LLN 7062-S)


5. Mário Gennari Filho from the single Copacabana b/w Índia (1952, Odeon 13.285-a) and the album O Diplomata do Acordéon (1954, Odeon LDS 3002)


6. Fafá Lemos from the album Dinner in Rio (1954, RCA Victor [USA] LPM-1017) and Jantar no Rio (1955, RCA [BRA] Victor BKL 2)



7. Norberto Baldauf from the album Ritmos da Madrugada (1955, Odeon LDS 3016)


8. José Luciano from the album Sambas (1955, Mocambo LP 10004)


9. Fats Elpídio from the album Nossa Praias (1956, Copacabana CLP 3024)

Artwork for Nossa Praias by Van Erven

10. Siles from the album Brejeirice (1956, Polydor LPN 2002)

11. Severino Araújo from the album Severino Araujo e sua Orquestra Tabajara (1956, Continental LPP 33)

12. Bola Sete from the album Aqui Está o Bola Sete (1957, Odeon MOCB 3005)


13. Luis Arruda Paes from the single Copacabana b/w Caruaru (1956, Odeon 14.081) and the album Brasil Dia e Noite (1957, Odeon MOCB 3000)


14. Tito Madi from the album A Saudade Mata a Gente (1957, Continental LPP 61)


15. Severino Filho from the album Rio de Janeiro, Gosto de Você (1958, Polydor LPNG 4022)


16. Moacyr Peixoto, Major Holley, Casé and Jimmy Campbell from the album The Good Neighbors Jazz (1958, Columbia LPCB-37037)

17. Radamés Gnattali from the album Radamés Gnattali em Ritmo de Samba (1958, Continental LPP 3010)

18. Dick Farney from the album Atendendo a Pedidos (1958, Odeon MOFB 3048)

Artwork for Atendendo a Pedidos by César G. Villela with photographs by Francisco Pereira

19. Dick Farney from the album Concêrto de Jazz no Auditório do “O Globo” (1959, Odeon MOFB 3068)

20. Abel Ferreira from the album Jantar Dançante No. 2 (1959, Copacabana CLP 11109)

21. Perreira Filho from the album Um Violão em Ritmo de Dança (1959, Todamérica LPP-TA-327)

22. Irany Pinto from the album Sambas em Surdina (1959, Odeon MOFB 3100)


23. Maysa with Severino Filho e Seu Coral from the album Rio, Cidade Maravilhosa (1960, Continental LPP 3095)


24. Chiquinho do Acordeom from the album Chiquinho, Seu Acordeom e Sua Orquestra (1960, Odeon MOFB 3170)

25. Orquestra Rio de Janeiro from the album Velhas Ideias Novas (1960, Plaza PZ 301)

26. Eddie Calvert from the album Latin Carnival (1960, Columbia [UK] 33SX 1273) and Latin Festival (1960, Odeon [BRA] MOFB 124)


27. Jo Basile from the album Rio… Com Amor (1961, Audio Fidelity AFLP 1939)


28. Os Saxsambistas Brasileiros from the album Percussão em Festa (1961, PLaza PZ 7001)


29. Astor Silva aka Lord Astor from the album É Dança (1961, Imperial/Odeon IMP 30.025)


30. Francis Bay from the album Francis Bay’s Latin Beat (1961, Philips [USA] PHS 600-011) and Ritmo Saboroso (1961, Philips [BRA] SLP 9097)


31. Luiz Bonfá from the album Violão e o Samba (1962, Odeon MOFB 3295)

Artwork for Violão e o Samba with photograph by Mafra

32. Renato Mendes from the album Renato Mendes e Seu Órgão (1962, Mocambo LP 40082)


33. Ely Arcoverde from the album O Orgão Que Canta Sambas (1963, RGE XRLP 5198)


34. Guimarães from the album Fabuloso – Vol. 1 (1963, Chantecler CMG 2216)

35. Francisco José from the album Outra vezCantando as mais lindas canções (1965, Philips P 632.762 L)


36. Edmundo Peruzzi from the album Rio-Show (1965, Independente STU-01)


37. The Pop’s from the album Agora é Samba (1968, Equipe EQ 825)

Artwork for Agora é Samba by Maurício

38. Elza Soares and Wilson Das Neves from the album Elza Soares – Baterista: Wilson das Neves (1968, Odeon MOFB 3521)


39. Conjunto Arpoador from the album Sambas de Todos os Tempos (1969, RCA Camden CALB 5193)

40. Dick Farney from the album Penumbra Romance (1972, London/Odeon LLB 1081)


41. Altemar Dutra from the album Amigos (1976, RCA Victor 103.0166)

Selected medleys including Copacabana:

1. Os Cariocas from the album Os Cariocas de Quatrocentas Bossas (1965, Philips P 632.753 L)


2. The Mettleds from the album Moendo Café (1967, Big/Rioson RSLP 1009)

Selected recordings of Copacabana originally not issued in Brazil:

1. Xavier Cugat and Fernando Alvares from the single Copacabana b/w Papa Knows (Papa Sabe) (1948, Columbia [USA] 38242)

2. Bing Crosby with Bando da Lua from the single Copacabana b/w Granada (1952, Decca [USA] 9-27951)

3. Lasse Mårtenson from the single Blueberry Hill b/w Copacabana (1962, RCA [FIN] FAS 688]

4. Rosana Tapajós aka Rozana with Breno Sauer Quarteto from the album Rozana (1966, Discos RVV [MEX] RVV 1107)



Existem praias tão lindas • Cheias de luz • Nennuma tem o encanto • Que tu possuis • Tuas areias • Teu céu tão lindo • Tuas sereias • Sempre sorrindo

Copacabana, princezinha do mar • Pelas manhãs tu és a vida a cantar • E à tardinha, ao sol poente • Dexias sempre uma saudade na gente

Copacabana, o mar eterno cantor • Ao te beijar, ficou perdido de amor • E hoje vive a murmurar • Só a ti Copacabana eu hei de amar

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