“Garota de Ipanema”: the story of the young woman who inspired the iconic song

“Garota de Ipanema”: the story of the young woman who inspired the iconic song

The Girl From Ipanema (guitar TABS sheet music)

It is said that after “Yesterday” (The Beatles), the most recorded song in history is “Garota de Ipanema”. The reasons why a song is so successful are in the realm of the inexplicable.

However, it is possible to appreciate the charms contained in its history, its poetry and its music to try to decipher why the passage of time has made it a true legend. You can even meet the muse of the song who inspired its creators, the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinicius de Moraes.

The story begins in the summer of 1962, in the famous Veloso bar, which over time had to be renamed Garota de Ipanema. And they called it that because At one of their tables, Vinicius and Jobim composed the famous song.

garota de ipANEMA free sheet music pdf

At that time, Ipanema had barely forty thousand inhabitants and the tallest building was no more than four stories high, but the area was full of small bars. There was the Mal Olor, the Lagoa, the Chopnik, the Farolito, the Zeppelin, the Jangadeiro, the Slap and many others less known.

Jobim and Vinicius spent afternoons in the old Veloso bar, greeting, drinking, talking. Today, it is one of the most frequented bars by tourists visiting Rio de Janeiro.

It turns out that on this street that was once called Montenegro and is now called Rua Vinicius de Moraes, Every day a 17-year-old girl with black hair and green eyes walked past the beaches of Ipanema, s stopping from time to time to buy cigarettes for his mother.

Oscar Peterson – The Girl from Ipanema (piano transcription)

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We see that Jobim and Moraes noticed how the girl caught everyone’s attention when she was walking around, completely mesmerized by her beauty and style. The inspiring muse had a first and last name, Helô Pinheiro (or Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto) and in mid-1963 she made Ipanema the bossa nova capital of the world simply by wandering around absently with His Grace.

Both in poetry and in the notes of their melody, Jobim and Moraes masterfully describe the ‘gentle sway’ of their hips and capture from head to toe the aura of this beautiful girl who every day walked under their noses in this kind of slow, discreet and elegant samba, just like bossa nova.

Garota de Ipanema l'historire de la jeune femme qui a inspiré la chanson emblématique (avec partition musicale)
Vinicius de Moraes et la “garota, Helo Pinheiro

The song was born under the name ‘Menina que passa’, and in principle it was thought of for a musical called Dirigível (Airship), in which Vinicius was working at the time. The first performance recorded in audio on August 1, 1962 came from a session at a Copacabana nightclub called Au Bon Gourmet, with the participation of Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, João Gilberto, Os Cariocas, Otávio Bailly on bass and Milton Banana on percussion.

The original verses (sometimes used as an introduction to the song) say: I was tired of everything, of so many paths / So without poetry, therefore without birds / With fear of living, with fear of loving / When in the after -empty noon, so beautiful in space / I saw the girl approaching with one step / Full of rocking path towards the sea.

Around this time, a producer named Creed Taylor was looking for new repertoire for one of his protégés, saxophonist Stan Getz. And he decided to get these Brazilians to record a record. So, in March 1963, Getz and Jobim recorded ‘Garota de Ipanema’ in New York, with João Gilberto singing in Portuguese and Astrud Gilberto in English.

A few months later, it became a global success renamed “The Girl from Ipanema”. It remained on the Billboard magazine chart for 96 consecutive weeks and won four Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Jazz Soloist and Best Recording.

That being said, the enormous mystery would soon arise as to who this girl from Ipanema was. It was in the Veloso that Jobim and Vinicius found the courage, just in 1965, to tell Helô that she was the daughter of Ipanema. At a press conference in 1965, Vinicius made it public and dedicated these words to her: ‘She is a golden girl, a mixture of flowers and mermaids, full of light and grace, but whose personality is also full of sadness because she feels that youth is passing away and that beauty cannot be retained. She is the gift of life with her beautiful and constant flow. And with those words, she was launched into instant stardom as a model and actress.

And it was at Veloso that one day in 1966 a waiter approached Jobim’s table to tell him that he was being called from New York. It was Frank Sinatra who wanted to record the famous ‘Garota’. The album came out of this call Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

But the love did not go beyond a platonic love. Helô had a boyfriend, she was engaged, and Jobim and his wife ended up as groomsmen at the wedding. From worldwide success, the girl from Ipanema became very famous and the sudden popularity helped her boost her career as a model, actress and host. Her fame has remained constant, she even made two appearances on Playboy, one in 1987 at age 40 and another in 2003, with her daughter. Additionally, as a businesswoman, she opened several stores, including one for swimwear called Garota de Ipanema.

To keep the name, he even had to face a legal request for the rights to the title of the song made by the relatives of Tom Jobim, then already deceased, a request that Helô, the real daughter of Ipanema, ultimately won.

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