Se todos fossem iguais a você

Lyrics from “Se todos fossem iguais a você”
By Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, 1956

Good Audio Version

Go on with your life
Your path is one of peace and love
Your life
Is a beautiful song of love
Open your arms and sing
The final hope
The divine hope
Of loving in peace

If everyone were just like you
What a wonder to live
A song in the air
A woman singing
A city singing, smiling, singing, pleading
The beauty to love
Like the sun, like the flower, like the light
To love without lying or suffering

The truth would exist
A truth that no one sees
If everyone in the world were just like you

–Interpretation–

“Se todos fossem iguais a você,” which was released in English as “Somebody to Light Up My Life,” was the first song Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes wrote together.

The two were introduced in 1956 by the music critic Lúcio Rangel while they  were having drinks at  Vilarino, a downtown bar in Rio de Janeiro that was popular among musicians and journalists.  Rangel approached Tom to let him know that Vinicius, seated nearby, wanted his help composing the soundtrack for his play “Orfeu da Conceição“; Tom famously pondered, “Is there any dough in it for me?” Rangel assured him that Vinicius paid well, and so began one of the most celebrated partnerships in the history of Brazilian popular music.

This song and other hits from the tremendously successful play such as “Eu não existo sem você” are recognized as some of the first distinct examples of the nascent bossa nova style. Three years later,  the release of João Gilberto’s debut album Chega de Saudade  “launched bossa nova for good,” as previously disdainful critics and crowds came to appreciate the new genre.

Tom and Vinicius singing “Se todos fossem iguais a você” in 1977:

Sources for this post include Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man, by Helena Jobim (1996; English translation, 2011) and http://www.jobim.com.br

Post by Victoria Broadus

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