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"Desafinado," a Portuguese word (usually rendered into English as "Out of Tune", or as "Off Key"), is the title of a bossa nova song composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with lyrics (in Portuguese) by Newton Mendonça. It was originally a response to critics who claimed that bossa nova was a new genre for singers who can't sing. The English language lyrics were written by Jon Hendricks and "Jessie Cavanaugh" (a pseudonym used by The Richmond Organisation). Another English lyric, more closely based on the original Portuguese lyric (but not a translation) was written by Gene Lees, and appears on some recordings as well. The version by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd (from the album Jazz Samba) was a major hit in 1962, reaching number 15 and number 4 on Billboard′s pop and easy-listening charts, respectively; their definitive rendering also reached number 11 in the UK, while Ella Fitzgerald's version made number 38.[1] The song was voted by the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone as the 14th greatest Brazilian song.[2]


Date Artist Album Notes
1959 João Gilberto Chega de Saudade Inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.[3]
1961 Dizzy Gillespie Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival First released as A Musical Safari in 1974, featuring Lalo Schifrin
1962 Quincy Jones and his orchestra Big Band Bossa Nova
1962 Laurindo Almeida and the Bossa Nova Allstars Viva Bossa Nova!
1962 Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass The Lonely Bull
1962 Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd Jazz Samba Rec. in February
1962 Charlie Byrd Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros Guitar trio recorded in April
1962 Pat Thomas "Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune)"/Desafinado Released on Verve in October, 1962
1962 Ella Fitzgerald "Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune)"/"Stardust Bossa Nova" Rec. in October
1962 Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy on the French Riviera Recorded live in July at the 3rd International Jazz Festival D'Antibes/Juan-Les-Pins with Lalo Schifrin as arranger and pianist
1962 Coleman Hawkins Desafinado Rec. in September
1962 Herbie Mann Right Now Rec. in April
1962 Tito Puente & His Orchestra Bossa Nova by Puente
1962 Lalo Schifrin Lalo = Brilliance Subtitled The Piano of Lalo Schifrin
1963 Julie London The End of the World Released in May
1963 João Gilberto, Stan Getz and Antônio Carlos Jobim Getz/Gilberto Rec. in March
1963 Antônio Carlos Jobim The Composer of Desafinado Plays Rec. in May
1963 Laila Kinnunen "Stänk av Dissonans" EP
1964 Clare Fischer So Danço Samba
1964 Sérgio Mendes & Bossa Rio Você Ainda Não Ouviu Nada!
1964 Zdenka Vučković (hr) Zdenka Vučković & I njezini novi uspjesi (4 track EP) Croatian rendering entitled "Izgubljeno"
1965 Doris Day Latin for Lovers
1965 João Gilberto & Herbie Mann Recorded in Rio de Janeiro
1966 Abi Zeider Abi Zeider Russian recording on Melodya
1967 Antônio Carlos Jobim A Certain Mr. Jobim The song credited as "Off-Key"
1969 Frank Sinatra and Antônio Carlos Jobim Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings 2010 compilation; the song was first released in 1995 on box set compilation Frank Sinatra – The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings
1970 Jula de Palma Jula al Sistina
1971 Nara Leão Dez Anos Depois
1974 Tete Montoliu Temas Brasileños
1975 Tania Maria Via Brasil, Volume 2
1978 João Gilberto João Gilberto Interpreta Tom Jobim
1980 Antônio Carlos Jobim Terra Brasilis
1980 Julia Migenes Latin Lady
1981 Ella Fitzgerald Ella Abraça Jobim Subtitled "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook"; the song credited as "Off Key"
1981 João Gilberto João Gilberto Prado de Oliveira
1986 Stephane Grappelli / Baden Powell La Grande Réunion
1986 Nara Leão Garota de Ipanema
1987 Antônio Carlos Jobim Inedito Rec. May-Aug. Private limited edition for Jobim's 60th birthday. Released publicly in Brazil in 1997, and in the U.S. in 2006, as The Unknown (Tom Jobim Inedito)
1990 Eliane Elias Eliane Elias Plays Jobim
1995 João Gilberto Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar (Ao Vivo)
1996 George Michael, Astrud Gilberto Red Hot + Rio
1996 Nina Persson (Single in Japan) Rec. at MTV Classic 90s; "Don't Explain" by Stakka Bo on B-side
1998 Toninho Horta From Ton to Tom
1998 George Michael, Astrud Gilberto Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael
1999 Gal Costa Gal Costa Canta Tom Jobim ao Vivo
1999 Kenny G Classics in the Key of G
1999 Quarteto Jobim-Morelenbaum Quarteto Jobim-Morelenbaum
2000 Rosemary Clooney Brazil English lyrics by Jon Hendricks
2000 João Gilberto João Voz e Violão
2000 Bill Watrous Quartet Live at The Blue Note
2001 Ana Caram Blue Bossa
2002 Paquito D'Rivera and New York Voices Brazilian Dreams
2003 Royce Campbell A Tribute to Charlie Byrd
2003 Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice Goldfish Memory O.S.T.
2004 Adalberto Bravo Smooth Passions
2005 Seth MacFarlane (as Brian Griffin) Family Guy: Live in Vegas
2005 Toquinho Tributo a Bossa Nova
2006 Ana Belén, Pastora Soler, Lucrecia, Lolita Flores, Carmen Paris Samba Pa Ti (Un Tributo a Brasil)
2006 Stevie Holland More Than Words Can Say
2008 Eliane Elias Bossa Nova Stories
2010 Eliane Elias Eliane Elias Plays Live
2013 Vanessa da Mata Canta Tom Jobim
2014 Gilberto Gil Gilbertos Samba
2017 Katie Noonan & Karin Schaupp Songs of the Latin Skies

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hits from early December 1962".
  2. ^ Duarte, Alexandre (2009). "As 100 Maiores Músicas Brasileiras – "Desafinado"". Rolling Stone Brasil (in Portuguese). Spring. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Latin GRAMMY Hall Of Fame". Latin Grammy Award. Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. 2001. Retrieved 19 August 2014.

External links[edit]