Joel de Almeida recorded his first sambas at the Casa Edison in Rio de Janeiro in 1932. In the next year, he formed with Gaúcho the highly successful duo Joel e Gaúcho, which had its best phase until 1947. In 1946, he recorded a solo album with the sambas "Promessa" (Jaime de Carvalho) and "Trabalhar Eu Não" (Aníbal de Almeida). In the next year, the duo was touring Argentina when it dissolved, with Joel remaining in Buenos Aires performing solo acts. In 1951, he recorded his samba "Hoje a Coisa é Diferente" and the baião "Ai! Que Bom" (written with Dom Roy). In the next year, he and Gaúcho put together their duo again, but Gaúcho soon abandoned the music and moved to upstate Rio de Janeiro.
In 1955, Joel recorded the memorable fox trot "Canção Para Inglês Ver" (Lamartine Babo) and in the next year his marcha "Quem Sabe Sabe" (written with Carvalhinho); recorded by himself, the latter became a nationwide hit, having remained as an all-time classic. In the same year, he recorded the fox trot "Loura ou Morena" (Vinicius de Moraes/Haroldo Tapajós). In 1958, he had another hit with the samba "Madureira Chorou" (Carvalhinho/Júlio Monteiro), also popular today. As the A&R director of Polydor, Joel launched Roberto Carlos in 1959. In 1962, Joel e Gaúcho recorded the LP Joel e Gaúcho, with their hits "Aurora," "Pierrô Apaixonado," and others. After Gaúcho's death, Joel continued to work as a singer, composer, and radio man at Rádio Tupi (São Paulo).