Se todos fossem iguais a você / Someone to Light Up My Life


page originally published on 13 May 2014; latest edit: 27 June 2020


Orfeu da Conceição, 1956, Vinicius de Moraes and A.C. Jobim, with Oscar Niemeyer-1

Se todos fossem iguais a você (Antônio Carlos Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes)

  • The song was written for and introduced in the 1956 stage play Orfeu da Conceição, written by Vinícius de Moraes, featuring music by Antônio Carlos Jobim, with lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes. The play is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval.
  • The 1959 film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus), is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição.
  • “Se todos fossem iguais a você” is reportedly (see below) the first song written together by Jobim and de Moraes.
  • The original Portuguese title may be translated into English as “If everyone were like you.” 
  • An English version with lyric by Gene Lees, “Someone to Light Up My Life,” evidently first recorded in 1965, has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, and Shirley Horn among others.
  • Second Hand Songs

Vinícius de Moraes & Tom Jobim-1-sh15

In the chapter “Freedom” of the 2011 book Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man by Helena Jobim, sister of the biography’s subject, the author indicates that this was the first song written by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes after they were formally introduced in 1956 at Vilarino*, a Rio bar popular with musicians, intellectuals, and journalists. Finding that they “immediately connected very well,” the pair soon left for Tom’s home and began to work on the music for Orfeu that day.

From the site Brazilian Lyrics in English (

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.

1956 Músicas de Orfeu da Conceição, Odeon (Brazil) MODB 3056

Roberto Paiva and chorus — from the 1956 soundtrack LP Músicas de Orfeu da Conceição, Odeon (Brazil) MODB 3056


1957 Maysa (LP) RGE RLP 0015

Maysa — from her self-titled 1957 album, on the RGE label, catalog #RLP 0015 — The Wikipedia page on the album indicates that a 78 rpm single was also released in 1957, coupled with “Tarde Triste,” from her previous album.


(below) Some of the images used in the following video are of the real Maysa, but most are of the actress who portrayed her in the 2009 TV miniseries, Maysa: Quando Fala o Coração.


Agostinho dos Santos — 1958


Tom Jobim — from the 1967 LP A Certain Mr. Jobim, (US) Warner Bros. WS 1699, though the provider of the following video has drawn the track from the 1996 compilation Composer

A Certain Mr. Jobim links:


1970 Vinícius de Moraes Grabado en Buenos Aires con Maria Creuza y Toquinho (live LP)-11971 Le Brésil De Vinicius De Moraes (France) EMI, Columbia-f20hx20

Vinícius de Moraes Grabado en Buenos Aires con Maria Creuza y Toquinho — final track from this 1970 live album recorded live at the nightclub La Fusa, in Buenos Aires

album link, Wikipédia (Portuguese):

According to, the album was also released under the title En “La Fusa” Con Maria Creuza Y Toquinho, in Argentina (1970) and Spain (1974). In France, a live album with the same 15 song titles, in the same order, was released in 1971 under the title Le Brésil de Vinicius de Moraes (EMI, Columbia). However, according to, each of the 15 tracks is a different length than those on the Brazilian release as reported by Wikipédia (Pt.).


Agostinho dos Santos — from his self-titled 1973 LP on the Continental label, the last album by the artist released before his death in an airplane accident at the age of 41



Maysa — from a 1975 TV special


Tom Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes, and Toquinho — Estúdios da Rede Globo (Brazilian TV network), from a 1977 special

Tom Jobim – piano and voice
Vinícius de Moraes – voice
Toquinho – guitar


Gal Costa — from An All-Star Tribute to Tom Jobim, live concert in São Paolo, 1993

Gal Costa – vocal
Herbie Hancock – piano
Ron Carter – bass
Oscar Castro Neves – guitar
Paulo Jobim – guitar
Harvey Mason – drums
Alex Acuña – percussion


Riccardo Buzzurro — guitar solo, published on 10 March 2012


Tom Jobim e Vinicius de Moraes na rua Codajás - Leblon, by Paulo Scheuenstuhl (2)

Someone to Light Up My Life: selected recordings (English lyric by Gene Lees)

1965 Someone to Light Up My Life-Nicole Quasee-DCP 1141 (2)

Nicole Quasee — issued in April 1965 on the single DCP International Records DCP 1141 (also DCP-1141) as the B-side of “Watch What Happens”  — Arranged and produced by Don Costa, this is the earliest recording of “Someone to Light Up My Life” that I’m aware of.


1966 Spanish Strings-Enoch Light and the Light Brigade-front1966 Spanish Strings-Enoch Light and the Light Brigade-back

Enoch Light and the Light Brigade — from the 1966 album Spanish Strings, Project 3 Total Sound PR5000SD


1971 Sinatra & Company-Reprise Records FS 1033

Frank Sinatra — recorded on 12 February 1969 in Hollywood for Reprise; arranged by Eumir Deodato; studio orchestra conducted by Morris Stoloff — issued on the 1971 LP Sinatra & Company, Reprise (US) 1033, Reprise (Brazil) 97.003, Reprise (UK) RSLP 1033

album links:


Sarah Vaughan — from the 1978 LP O Som Brasileiro de Sarah Vaughan, RCA Victor (Brazil) 110.0018; recorded in 1977 at RCA studio in Rio de Janeiro (according to the video provider), featuring an arrangement by Edson Frederico and Tom Jobim

1978 O Som Brasileiro de Sarah Vaughan-RCA Victor 110.0018Musicians (adapted from Discos do Brasil):
Tom Jobim – piano
Ariovaldo Contesini – percussion
Chico Batera – percussion
Hélio Delmiro – guitar
Sérgio Barrozo – double bass
Wilson das Neves –  drums

album information link:



Tom Jobim — from his 1980 album Terra Brasilis, Warner Bros. (Brazil) 36.138/139, Warner Bros. (US) 2B 3409 — arranger, conducted by: Claus Ogerman


Shirley Horn-1

Shirley Horn — from her 1997 album Loving You


Charlie Byrd — from the 2002 LP Plays Jobim, on the Concord Music Group label Concord Picante


Ann Hampton Callaway — from her 2004 album Slow, Shanachie ‎5118, SH-5118


Hiromi Nakamizo — live in Japan on 29 May 2011 (I can’t read the rest of the description)


Vinícius de Moraes (01)______________________________________

* Vilarino — It’s not clear to me whether Helena Jobim spelled the name of the venue incorrectly or the spelling has been changed. The place is now called Casa Villarino.


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