Monsueto's career had two times: he started to have success in the early '50s with songs like "Me Deixa em Paz," "Mora na Filosofia," "Mulher de Mau Pensar," and "A Fonte Secou," recorded by artists like Linda Batista and Marlene. In 1966, Maria Bethânia recorded "Mora na Filosofia," followed by Caetano Veloso, who also recorded it in 1971, having recorded "Eu Quero Essa Mulher Assim Mesmo" in 1973 and yielding another period of popularity for Monsueto among youngsters. In 1972, Milton Nascimento, together with Alaíde Costa, recorded "Me Deixa em Paz," and with Martinho da Vila and MPB-4 he also recorded several of his songs. Monsueto also worked as an actor and singer in films like 13 Cadeiras (with Oscarito in 1957) and Na Corda Bamba (1958), having had songs included in the films O Cantor Milionário and Quem Roubou meu Samba? With his own group, Monsueto performed throughout several countries of Latin and North America, Europe, and Africa. He also was very popular as the Comandante of the humor TV show Noites Cariocas after 1959. Also a painter interested in a social thematic, he had one of his pieces awarded in the national exhibition Salão Nacional de Belas-Artes (Rio de Janeiro, 1972).
At 15, Monsueto started to participate regularly in the drum section of samba schools, having frequented several of them during his entire, life not opting for any one in special. Two years later, he was working in gafieiras and nightclubs as a drummer, having been a member of the Orquestra de Copinha. Adopting a petit bourgeois profile as owner of a laundry in the working-class suburb of Vieira Fazenda (Rio de Janeiro), Monsueto never abandoned music, always frequenting the artists' meeting points. In the Carnival of 1952, he had his first hit with "Me Deixa em Paz" (with Airton Amorim), recorded by Linda Batista. Discovered as a major audience, he had several other successes: "A Fonte Secou" (with Tufi Lauar/Marcleo), recorded by Raul Moreno for the Carnival of 1954; in the next year's Carnaval, Marlene recorded "Mora na Filosofia" (with Arnaldo Passos).