Director Carlos Saldanha first came up with the idea of Rio in 1995, originally conceiving it as a story about a penguin who finds itself washed up on the shores of Rio. After Happy Feet and Surf’s Up came along and stole the penguin premise, he switched birds and created a story around Macaws instead. The result was Rio, a love story with a difference about a fiercely free-spirited female Macaw named Jewel and a much less free-spirited male Macaw named Blu. Featuring an all-star cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Jemaine Clement, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, will.i.am, and Jamie Foxx, the film became a huge success, winning positive reviews and grossing over $484 million worldwide. Remember some of the film’s key scenes as we revisit the best moments from the Rio soundtrack.
15. Let Me Take You to Rio – Ester Dean and Carlinhos Brown
Who you hear singing Let Me Take You to Rio will depend on where you buy the soundtrack. Several songs on the Brazilian edition were re-crafted in Portuguese by Brazilian artists. Listen to Let Me Take You to Rio on the English version, and you’ll hear Ester Dean and Carlinhos Brown. Listen to the Portuguese version, and you’ll hear Ivete Sangalo instead.
14. Sapo Cai – Carlinhos Brown and Mikael Mutti
As the security guard dances and strips, it’s this sultry number from Carlinhos Brown and Mikael Mutti that’s playing in the background.
13. Pretty Bird – Jemaine Clement
As one half of comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, Jemaine Clement has been exercising his comedic chops for years. On the Rio soundtrack, he delivers another slice of comic genius with the gloriously off-beat, Pretty Bird. Listen out for it during the scene in which Nigel walks into the cage room and starts singing about the days he was “striking suave, ambitious” rather than a “villain, and vicious, oh and malicious.”
12. Funky Monkey – Siedah Garrett, Carlinhos Brown, Mikael Mutti and Davi Vieira
Singer-songwriter Siedah Garret has been nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song over her career, one for Love You I Do from Dreamgirls and one for Real in Rio from, you guessed it, Rio. She didn’t get one for this funky cracker, but if there was any justice in the world, she really should have done.
11. Forro Da Fruta – Carlinhos Brown and Mikael Mutti
Listen out for this funky hip twitcher during the scene in which Blu and Jewel arrive at the market.
10. Balanço Carioca – Mikael Mutti
You’ll get to hear Mikael Mutti delivering some standout vocals on Balanço Carioca from the Rio soundtrack, but it’s worth listening out for the instrumental version that plays during the movie when Blu and Jewel make their entrance at the Samba Club too.
9. Fly Love – Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx delivers a gorgeously tender performance on Fly Love for the Rio soundtrack – at least on the English version. Get the Brazilian version and you’ll hear Carlinhos Brown’s dulcet tones instead.
8. Copacabana Dreams – Sergio Mendes
Sergio Mendes contributed several songs to the Rio soundtrack, including this Latin-infused dance ditty.
7. Taio Cruz – Telling the World
Described by Digital Spy as a track that “ticks all the necessary boxes: emotive lyrics, an uplifting piano ‘n’ drums riff and catchy, suitably Brazilian ‘ooh-way-oohs,'” Taio Cruz’s Telling the World was chosen as the lead single from the soundtrack. It reached number 138 on the UK Singles Chart, number 46 in Germany and number 21 in Austria.
6. Hot Wings (I Wanna Party) – Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx and Anne Hathaway
Check out Blu’s moves as Pedro and Nico give an epic performance of Hot Wings (I Wanna Party). Great song, great scene, and birds that know how to get a room on its feet – basically everything you could want from a movie.
5. Take You to Rio – Ester Dean
The ninth song featured on the soundtrack of Rio is the dance-floor ready Take You to Rio by Ester Dean. Check out the Portuguese version of the soundtrack to listen to Ivete Sangalo’s lovely interpretation, Eu Vou Te Levar Pro Rio.
4. Drop It Low – Will.i.am
If you’ve ever wanted to “make-make-make it funky in Brazil,” Will.i.am’s Drop It Low is the song to do it too.
3. Say You, Say Me – Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie originally recorded Say You, Say Me for the 1985 film, White Nights. After it was released as a single, it topped charts around the world, picked up huge critical acclaim from everyone except The Washington Post, who described it as “silly and horrendously overexposed,” and won both the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Listen out for it in the scene where Blu tries to kiss Jewel.
2. Real In Rio – The Rio Singers
Real in Rio is a game of two halves. The first half is performed by The Rio Singers as the first song of the movie as the birds sing through the forest. Catch the second half from Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, and Will.i.am later in the movie after Blu and Jewel’s release back into the wild.
1. Mas Que Nada – Sergio Mendes featuring Gracinha Leporace
Mas Que Nada was originally recorded in 1963 by Jorge Ben. In 1966, Sergio Mendes recorded it for the first time, quickly establishing it as one of his signature songs. Widely considered one of the greatest Brazilian songs of all time, Mendes has revisited it on numerous occasions since the 1960s, including with the Black Eye Peas on the 2011 album, Timeless, and Gracinha Leporace for the Rio soundtrack. In 2013, the song was inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame.