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"Samba do Avião" (a.k.a. "Song of the Jet", translated literally as "Airplane Samba") is a Brazilian song composed in 1962 by Antônio Carlos Jobim, who also wrote the original Portuguese lyrics. The English-language lyrics are by Gene Lees.

In the biography Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man, Helena Jobim describes how her brother came up with the idea for the song: "Tom's many walks from Ipanema to Santos Dumont Airport yielded that ode of beauty... He would head towards the airport, following the water's edge around Guanabara's Bay. The pretext to go there was to buy foreign magazines and newspapers. From Santos Dumont Airport he could observe his passion, the airplane. Yet he still kept some distance from those machines. He was afraid of flying, but he loved their power, splendor, and aerodynamics—man's conquest over machine".[1]

In the song, Jobim writes about landing at "Galeão" in Rio de Janeiro. The airport was renamed in his honor in 1999 and is now called Rio de Janeiro–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport.[2]

Jobim wrote "Samba do Avião" for an Italian film, Copacabana Palace (1962),[1] where it was performed by Jula De Palma and I 4 + 4 di Nora Orlandi. The movie was filmed in Rio and features cameo appearances by Jobim, João Gilberto and Os Cariocas.[3]

The first performance of the song was by Jobim and Os Cariocas in August 1962 at the Au Bon Gourmet restaurant in Copacabana, Rio, at what music historian Ruy Castro calls "the bossa nova show to end all bossa nova shows", as it featured Jobim, João Gilberto, Vinícius de Moraes and Os Cariocas on stage together for the only time.[4]

The first recording of the song was released in October 1962 by Elza Laranjeira.[5] Os Cariocas had a hit with their rendition in 1963.[1] The first English-language version was by Tony Bennett for his 1965 album If I Ruled the World: Songs for the Jet Set.

Recorded versionsEdit


  1. ^ a b c Jobim, Helena, Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man, Hal Leonard, Montclair, NJ, 2011. ISBN 9781617803437>
  2. ^ RIOgaleão – Tom Jobim International Airport – The Airport
  3. ^ IMDB – Copacabana Palace (1962)
  4. ^ Castro, Ruy, Bossa nova: the story of the Brazilian music that seduced the world, A Cappella Books, Chicago, IL, 2000. ISBN 9781556524097>
  5. ^ SecondHandSongs – Samba do Avião

External linksEdit