One of the key figures behind the scenes of the nascent movement of youth music and "Jovem Guarda" in the late '50s and 1960s, as a producer Carlos Imperial launched Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos, Ed Wilson, Sérgio Murilo, Dudu França, and others, on his highly popular TV and radio shows. As a composer, he had songs recorded by the Demônios da Garoa ("A Outra Praça"), Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos, Silvinha, Wilson Simonal, Ronnie Von, Eduardo Araújo, along with several others.
In the early '50s, he wrote "Menina," his first composition, and debuted as an actor at TV Tupi. Soon taken as producer Jaci Campos' assistant, Imperial created rock sketches at the Meio-Dia TV show. In 1958, Imperial became one of the most articulate composers to be involved with the rising phenomenon of youth music in Brazil, encouraging the proliferation of aficionados of Brazilian rock in São Paulo. As the director and host of Clube do Rock (TV Continental), he discovered Roberto Carlos (who he already knew from his home city), who debuted in the record business with two songs of his, "João e Maria" and "Fora do Tom." Before departing for a highly successful career begun with youth music, Roberto Carlos would record another two songs by Imperial (also in the bossa nova style, a testimony to Carlos' failed attempt at emulating his idol João Gilberto), "Brotinho Sem Juízo" and "Canção do Amor Nenhum." At this point, Imperial (who was also working in the cinema, in Atlântida's films like Agüenta O Rojão, and in Herbert Richers' Mulheres, Cheguei, with Roberto Carlos) was also hosting the shows Festa de Brotos (TV Tupi) and Os Brotos Comandam (TV Continental and Rádio Guanabara), dedicated to the nascent youth market, and in which he launched many soon-to-be idols of the Jovem Guarda like the Fellows. With the success of the movement, Imperial wrote songs that were recorded by the majority of its members, having success with compositions like "Goiabão" (recorded by Eduardo Araújo) and "Vem Quente Que Eu Estou Fervendo" (recorded by Erasmo Carlos), both co-written by Eduardo Araújo; "Vou Botar Pra Quebrar" (recorded by Silvinha, with the success of the song yielding a show with Imperial at TV Excelsior); "Mamãe Passou Açúcar Em Mim" (recorded by Wilson Simonal); "A Praça" (recorded by Ronnie Von and Wilson Simonal, becoming one of his biggest hits; the song stayed at number one on the charts for one month and sold 22,000 copies within two weeks of the release of both versions, a high-selling number back then).
When the Jovem Guarda reached its end in 1968, Imperial was one of the main personalities of the movement known as "Pilantragem," created by Wilson Simonal (including Nonato Buzar, Regininha, Ronaldo Bôscoli as a lyricist, and others), having his song "Tropicalhorda" prohibited by the censors. In the late '60s, he wrote three sambas with Ataulfo Alves, the most successful being "Você Passa E Eu Acho Graça."
In the 1970s, he became involved with the cinema and continued to be a TV host, launching artists like Dudu França. In the next decade, as a politician, he received the highest vote as Rio de Janeiro's town councillor in 1984.