Still the Girl

Every time I mention this particular song, I can count on someone in the comments giving the ASCII equivalent of a sigh. The first time was about ten years ago:

Composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim with a lyric by Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes, “The Girl from Ipanema” was a huge hit (#5 in Billboard) in the States in 1964, in a recording by Stan Getz and João Gilberto for Verve, with Jobim himself at the piano and Gilberto’s wife Astrud on the English-language (by Norman Gimbel) vocal. The picture it paints in the mind is vivid indeed, but it never occurred to me to assume that there was a model for it.

(If you haven’t heard the song lately, here’s a lovely TV appearance by Getz/Gilberto.)

Keeping in mind that the song was written half a century ago — well, a reference to the original Girl From in the Daily Mail motivated me to chase down this biographical note:

Helô [Pinheiro] became friends with poet De Moraes, who she calls “a dreamer, a charmer who married nine times, who was so clever he became a diplomat”. And Jobim? He proposed to her. “Tom was different,” she says. “He was shy, he was beautiful, a maestro on the piano. But the two of them drank too much. They were always at the bar drinking whisky, caipirinha, beer.” She chose, instead, a steady life with an engineer; they are still married. Jobim, she says, never got over her. “One time, he went to Vinicius’s home and told him he only married his wife because she looked like me. He said that in front of her. He was crazy.”

At the very least, he drank too much.

And I repeat this segment from a 2010 post, just for the edification of the readership:

The name “Ipanema” itself derives from the old Tupi tongue, and means “bad water,” which apparently is a reference to the quality of fishing from said beach. It has nothing to do with “Ipana,” which resides alongside Pepsodent and Gleem in the Hall of Faded Brands, Toothpaste Aisle.

Bucky Beaver was not available for comment.


  1. Nicole »

    8 August 2013 · 6:53 pm

    Interesting info. I had no idea.

    The song always reminds me of the elevator scene from Deep Rising.

    -elevator doors close on group that just escaped the monster-
    -muzak playing in the otherwise silent elevator-

    “What *is* that?”
    “Um… The Girl from Ipanema?”

  2. mysterian »

    8 August 2013 · 10:02 pm

    unrelated except in mental connections…

  3. CGHill »

    8 August 2013 · 10:52 pm

    Good thing they had that hyphen in there, or I’d have tried to pronounce it “Busey’s.”

  4. hatless in hattiesburg »

    9 August 2013 · 2:48 am

    the worst possible version of “girl from ipanema” –

    – was done by one of the funniest lo-fi industrial spoof artists of all time: kompressor –

    “kompressor does not dance”

  5. McGehee »

    9 August 2013 · 8:05 am

    How did I miss that song for my music collection? Must rectify.

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