Tag Archives: james last

Five x Agua de Beber

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.


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James Last

HANDS in the pockets of his grey slacks, James Last cuts a figure of studied nonchalance strolling around the vast stage of the MEN Arena as his band wander on, take their seats behind him and begin to tune up.

He exchanges a few words with the hundred or so fans lucky enough to be allowed to sit in on the soundcheck for tonight’s gig, waving his arms around with big, expansive gestures to make up for the gaps in his English.

He glances around the empty stadium, runs his hand through that famously lustrous mane of silver hair, and takes off his tan leather jacket to reveal a crisp powder-blue shirt.

The band seem to take this as their cue and they power through an ass-kicking interpretation of U2’s Vertigo like a finely tuned machine.

The maestro seems satisfied and nods assent that all is well. Easy listening has never seemed more of a misnomer. Continue reading

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