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"The Girl From Ipanema" - The Most Famous Brazilian Song in History

Story and Facts of The Timeless Hit Written by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes

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Photo Courtesy Pictorial Parade / Getty Images

Frank Sinatra and Tom Jobim recorded together "The Girl From Ipanema"

Photo Courtesy Pictorial Parade / Getty Images

"The Girl From Ipanema," originally known in Portuguese as "Garota De Ipanema," is the most famous Brazilian song ever recorded in history. This track, which was written in 1962 by Antonio Carlos Jobim (aka Tom Jobim) and Vinicius de Moraes, two of the greatest Brazilian artists of all time, was responsible for providing Brazilian music with an unprecedented worldwide exposure. In the following lines, I will share with you some facts regarding the story and memorable recordings of one of the most enduring tracks in Latin music.

The Birth of "Garota De Ipanema"

"The Girl From Ipanema" is a good example of the powerful appeal that simple things have in life. The story of this song starts in the 1960s. Back then, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes used to hang out in a small bar located in the beach of Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. The two artists, who used to spend their afternoons with a nice glass of whisky, never missed the opportunity to admire the beautiful girls of the area.

In the winter of 1962, a gorgeous girl who used to stop by the bar on a regular basis caught the attention of the two artists. Her name was Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, a young resident of the Ipanema district. Her good looks and elegance inspired the famous lyrics of this song.

From "Garota De Ipanema" to "The Girl From Ipanema"

On August 2, 1962, "Garota De Ipanema" was played for the first time in a small night club of Copacabana. For 40 nights, Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and a talented guitarist named Joao Gilberto played the song for the crowd. People loved it from the very beginning. Besides "Garota De Ipanema," during that gig the legendary trio introduced other famous Bossa Nova songs including tracks like "Samba Do Aviao" and "So Danco Samba".

In spite of the fact that "Garota De Ipanema" was already popular among the crowd in Copacabana, the first recording of the song was not produced by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. In 1963, the singer Pery Ribeiro became the first artist to record this song.

That same year, however, Tom Jobim was able to record the song too. He included an instrumental version of "The Girl From Ipanema" on his first American production entitled The Composer of "Desafinado" Plays. Although this version was well accepted, it did not enjoy the popularity of the next recording.

On March 1963, Tom Jobim joined American Jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto to record the first English version of "Garota De Ipanema" for the album Getz/Gilberto. Soon after the release of this production, the song became a worldwide hit.

After getting a Grammy award, the song was recorded by the top artists of the time including Frank Sinatra who worked with Tom Jobim in the making of a Bossa Nova album together. Since then, "The Girl From Ipanema" has beem recorded by the best artists in the world.

Thanks to "The Girl From Ipanema," Bossa Nova took the world by storm. The popularity of Brazilian music can be divided in two parts: Before and after "The Girl From Ipanema." This song has been recorded over a 500 times by some of the most famous singers in the world including Ella Fitzgerald, Madonna, Cher and, more recently, Amy Winehouse.

Trivia Facts

  • "The Girl From Ipanema" was the second most played song in the 20th century just behind The Beatles' hit track "Yesterday."
  • Thanks to this song, the small bar where Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes used to hang out changed its name from Bar Veloso to Bar and Restaurante Garota de Ipanema. Likewise, the nearby street, which was originally called Rua Montenegro changed its name to Rua Vinicius de Moraes.
  • Tom Jobim asked several times Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (Now Helo Pinheiro) to marry him. Because of this, Helo's boyfriend decided to anticipate their wedding.
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