A celebrated composer of a considerable quantity of songs recorded by Elis Regina, Sérgio Mendes, Elizeth Cardoso, João Donato, Ângela Maria, Roberto Carlos, Alcione, Os Cariocas, Cauby Peixoto, Emílio Santiago, Elza Soares, Hermeto Pascoal, Leny Andrade, Jair Rodrigues, and Nana Caymmi, among others, Sílvio César had a noted participation in the group that renovated samba in the 1960s (Orlandivo, César, Ed Lincoln, and Pedrinho Rodrigues). Along with his solo discography, César also worked in TV and cinema.
César became a professional in 1959 as the crooner of the Waldemar Spillman orchestra. Performing at the historic Beco das Garrafas (Bottles' Alley, a point of jazz and bossa in the '50s in Rio) he met Ed Lincoln, with whom he'd write hits like "Olhou Pra Mim," "Nunca Mais," and others. In the next year, he had his first single launched with "Máxima Culpa" (Sérgio Ricardo) and "Manhã Sem Adeus" (Luís Bonfá). The first LP, Amor Demais, came in 1961. César appeared in some of the most popular historic TV shows of the '60s and '70s, like Jovem Guarda, O Fino da Bossa, and Essa Noite se Improvisa, among others. He also worked in films like Na Onda do Iê-iê-iê (as the composer of the soundtrack, with Lincoln, and also as an actor) and Mineirinho/Vivo ou Morto (writing the soundtrack). His "Mônica" and "Se Tiver De Ser" (both with Lincoln) were included on the soundtrack of the film Na Onda do Iê-iê-iê (Aurélio Teixeira). In 1974, his "O Moço Velho" was re-recorded by Roberto Carlos in the same year. César wrote several songs included on major TV Globo soap opera soundtracks, such as "Levante Os Olhos" (Duas Vidas, 1975), "Agarre Seu Homem," with Ronaldo Bôscoli (Te Contei?, 1978), and "A Mais Antiga Profissão" (O Jogo da Vida, 1981). His albums Aos Mestres Com Carinho (1992) and Aos Mestres Com Carinho/Vol. 2 (1994) were filled with MPB classics and had the participation of Tom Jobim, Chico Buarque, Leny Andrade, Emílio Santiago, Nonato Luiz, and Quarteto em Cy, among others.