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 some inspiration for the music they were composing for the city’s opening ceremony.
While they were on site, the pair kept hearing the sound of running water in the building they were staying in. A security guard told them that it was an unfinished potable water pipeline. Aqua de Beber was the result.
Their tune for the opening ceremony didn’t make the cut.
The song 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.