"Garota de Ipanema" ("The Girl from Ipanema") is a well-known bossa nova song, a worldwide hit in the mid-1960s that won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. It was written in 1962, with music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel.
The first commercial recording was in 1962, by Pery Ribeiro. The version performed by Astrud Gilberto, along with João Gilberto and Stan Getz, from the 1964 album Getz/Gilberto, became an international hit, reaching number five in the United States pop chart, number 29 in the United Kingdom, and charting highly throughout the world. Numerous recordings have been used in films, sometimes as an elevator music cliché (for example, near the end of The Blues Brothers). It is believed to be the second-most recorded pop song in history, after "Yesterday" by The Beatles. In 2004, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
Ipanema is a seaside neighborhood located in the southern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The song was composed for a musical comedy titled Dirigível (Blimp), then a work-in-progress of Vinícius de Moraes. The original title was "Menina que Passa" ("The Girl Who Passes By"); the famous first verse was different. Jobim composed the melody on his piano in his new house in Rua Barão da Torre, in Ipanema. In turn, Moraes had written the lyrics in Petrópolis, near Rio de Janeiro, as he had done with "Chega de Saudade" ("No More Blues") six years earlier.
During a recording session in New York with João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz, the idea of cutting an English language version came up. João's wife, Astrud Gilberto, was the only one of the Brazilians who could speak English well and was chosen to sing. Her voice, without trained singer mannerisms, proved a perfect fit for the song.
The song was inspired by Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now Helô Pinheiro), a nineteen-year-old girl living on Montenegro Street in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daily, she would stroll past the popular Veloso bar-café, not just to the beach ("each day when she walks to the sea"), but in the everyday course of her life. She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles. In the winter of 1962, the composers watched the girl pass by the bar, and it is easy to imagine why they noticed her—Helô was a 173-cm (five-foot eight-inch) brunette, and she attracted the attention of many of the bar patrons. Since the song became popular, she has become a celebrity.
In Revelação: a verdadeira Garota de Ipanema (Revealed: The Real Girl from Ipanema) Moraes wrote she was:
- "o paradigma do broto carioca; a moça dourada, misto de flor e sereia, cheia de luz e de graça mas cuja a visão é também triste, pois carrega consigo, a caminho do mar, o sentimento da mocidade que passa, da beleza que não é só nossa—é um dom da vida em seu lindo e melancólico fluir e refluir constante."
- "the paradigm of the young Carioca: a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, the sight of whom is also sad, in that she carries with her, on her route to the sea, the feeling of youth that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone—it is a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow."
In 1977, a disco version of "The Girl from Ipanema" by Astrud Gilberto was released, produced by Vincent Montana featuring a distinct Salsoul style disco sound.