AGUA DE BEBER is a song from the very earliest days of bossa nova written by the two men who defined the genre, with music by pianist and composer Tom Jobim and lyrics by musician playwright poet diplomat Vinícius de Moraes.
The story goes that the duo were invited to the then under-construction capital of Brasilia by the president to get the inspiration for music they were composing for the city’s opening ceremony.
Their tune didn’t make the cut but, while they were there, they kept hearing the sound of running water around the building they were staying in. A site security guard told them that it was an unfinished potable water pipeline. Aqua de Beber was the result.
It was first released as a single by de Moraes in 1961 and has become something of a standard, with anyone and everyone with any leanings towards bossa nova having a crack at it since then. If you buy a lot of bossa nova albums, you’ll end up with lots of versions of Agua de Beber. I’ve got about a dozen, all told.