“The Girl from Ipanema” turns 60

Havana Cuba. — In this 2023, she reaches 60 years of age, which she is —along with yesterday and Kiss Me a lot- one of the three most listened to and covered songs in history: The girl from Ipanema (Girl of Ipanemaits original name in Portuguese).

The song, which was originally titled Girl what’s up, was composed at the beginning of 1963 by Antonio Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinicius de Moraes. They wrote it sitting in a bar near Ipanema beach, in Rio de Janeiro, inspired by a blonde girl who they often saw passing by, in a bikini, on her way to the beach.

The girl’s name was Heloisa Meneses, and after 1965, after a wedding at which Jobim and his wife were the godparents, she would adopt her husband’s surname Pinheiro.

Vinicius de Moraes would explain that the girl who inspired the song was “the paradigm of the Carioca type, a golden woman, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, but whose vision is also sad, because she carries with her, on the way to the sea, the feeling of what happens, the beauty that is not ours, a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow”.

In 1959, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes had made the music for the film together. black orpheus. The association between the musician and the poet, which would prove fruitful and lasting, would be complemented by the guitarist Joao Gilberto, for whom in 1958 Jobim had produced a record that became very successful.

Heavily influenced by jazz, accompanying himself on the piano or the guitar, with his soft, sensual and very emotional voice, Jobim had created the bossa nova, which would arouse the interest of North American jazz players. One of them, the saxophonist Stan Getz, who had made a successful version of Jobim’s theme in 1962 out of tuneHe was fascinated when he heard Girl of Ipanema.

with the title Girl from Ipanema and lyrics in English by Norman Gimbell, was recorded on March 19, 1963, in New York, as part of the album Getz/Gilbert by Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and his wife, 23-year-old Astrud Gilberto, who, without having studied music, turned out to be a singer of unsuspected qualities.

Girl from Ipanema it was an instant success. Between 1963 and 1964, in the heat of the beatlemaniacompeted in popularity in the hit parade with the songs of the four from Liverpool and caused the international apotheosis of bossa nova.

Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim (1927-1994), with the successes that followed Girl of Ipanemasuch as congratulations, Wave, Sadness, Eu sei que vou te amar, One note samba, Corcovado and Stone flower, he would become one of the most important and influential composers not only of Brazilian music, but of all popular music of the 20th century. His compositions became part of the regular repertoire of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Herb Alpert, Diana Krall, Sérgio Mendes, Elis Regina, Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, Simone, Roberto Carlos, among others.

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