The Girl From Ipanema

Album: Getz/Gilberto (1963)
Charted: 29 5
Play Video


  • This song was written by two Brazilian composers: Antonio Carlos Jobim, who wrote the music; and Vinicius de Moraes, who wrote the lyrics in Portuguese. English lyrics were later written by their producer, Norman Gimbel.

    Jobim and Moraes were inspired by Helo Pinheiro, a young Brazilian girl who wore a bikini and regularly walked "Like a samba" past the "Veloso" bar that they frequented. In a 2008 feature in The Seattle Times, Pinheiro revealed the she would walk by the songwriters on her way to buy cigarettes for her mother. She claims to be the first person on the beach to wear a two-piece bathing suit. We also learn that she had four children, posed for Brazilian Playboy twice (the second time with her daughter), and opened a boutique in Sao Paulo called "Garota de Ipanema" (Girl from Ipanema).
  • Ipanema is a fashionable district in Rio de Janeiro. It was a fairly obscure stretch of beach until this song make it famous. The street where the songwriters used to sit and watch the girls go by has been re-named Vinicius de Moraes Street after the lyricist.
  • Stan Getz recorded the Getz/Gilberto album with João Gilberto, who is considered the father of Bossa Nova. In the studio, they convinced his wife Astrud, who had never sung a recorded note, to sing the English lyrics. The original choice as vocalist was Sarah Vaughan, but when Gilberto heard the English translation, he decided that Astrud should sing it. Her subtle vocal added a nuance to the song that worked surprisingly well with the music.
  • As well as being one of the most recorded songs of all time, this is probably the most famous Bossa Nova song ever written. Stan Getz' version of this song featuring his tenor saxophone helped popularize the Bossa Nova sound, which is a form of Brazilian music.
  • This won the 1964 Grammy Award for Record Of The Year. The album won for Best Jazz Performance and Album of the Year.
  • Many movies have used this song, including The Color Of Money (1986), Girl, Interrupted (1999), The Hangover Part III (2013), Despicable Me 3 (2017), The Foreigner (2017), and The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019).
  • The song was recorded at A&R Studios in New York City, which was owned by Phil Ramone, who also engineered the session. Ramone carved out a niche recording bossa nova; he also did the Quincy Jones album Big Band Bossa Nova. Many of Dionne Warwick's famous songs were also recorded at A&R before Ramone moved on to a new studio in 1969, where his most famous client was Billy Joel.
  • The smooth jazz saxman Kenny G released a version of this song on his 1999 album Classics in the Key of G. Astrud Gilberto's stepdaughter, Bebel Gilberto, sang the vocal.
  • Bebel Gilberto recalled in an interview with the Metro newspaper that her father Joao Gilberto, who is credited with inventing Bossa Nova, helped write this: "He (Joao Gilberto) arranged the song, produced it and sang the Bossa Nova part. When it was first played at Carnegie Hall, he was playing and singing with Astrud Gilberto, who is my stepmother and Antonio Carlos Jobim, who played the piano. The truth is that Tom Jobim wrote the song, but he was a really bad singer, so my father helped him."
  • Co-writer Vinicius de Moraes led a remarkable life. A one-time diplomat, Moraes was first posted to Los Angeles in 1946 as a vice consul before later being sent to Paris and Rome. A free-spirit, he was married nine times and Moraes' overly liberated lifestyle led to Brazil's military dictatorship expelling him from the diplomatic corps in 1969. He died aged 66 in 1980 and in August 2010 the gregarious diplomat and poet was posthumously reinstated to the Foreign Office and given the rank of ambassador.
  • A version by Amy Winehouse appears on the late singer's posthumous album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures. Recorded in May 2002, it was the first song the 18-year-old Winehouse sang when she first went to Miami to record with Salaam Remi, who went on to work with the singer on her first two albums. Remi remarked during a listening session for the record, that, "the way she re-interpreted this bossa nova classic made me realize that I was dealing with a very special talent. Her approach to the song was so young and fresh, it really inspired the rest of our sessions."
  • This was used in commercials for Special K cereal. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • During the opening ceremony at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Daniel Jobim, the grandson of the song's composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, performed the song as the 36-year-old Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen made a very long walk across the stadium, portraying the Girl From Ipanema in a gold sequin gown and 5-inch stilettos. Her appearance enthralled the crowd and enraptured the American audience, who also know her as the wife of football hero Tom Brady.

    The following day, the song was streamed 40,000 times on Spotify (it was typically streamed 3000 times a day on the service).
  • Frank Sinatra recorded this with Jobim for the 1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim.
  • The Sinatra/Jobim version was used on Friends in the 1997 episode "The One Where Chandler Can't Remember Which Sister." It's playing when Phoebe returns from a date with the noisy guy upstairs. The tune also appeared on the 1996 episode "The One With Barry and Mindy's Wedding" when it's played by the band at Rachel's ex-fiance's wedding.
  • This was also used in these TV shows:

    The Simpsons ("Simpson Tide" - 1998, "'Tis The 30th Season" - 2018)
    Mr. Robot ("" - 2017)
    American Crime Story ("The Dream Team" - 2016)
    The Big Bang Theory ("The Infestation Hypothesis" - 2011)
    Parks and Recreation ("Telethon" - 2010)
    My Name Is Earl ("My Name Is Alias" - 2009)
    The Sopranos ("Soprano Home Movies" - 2007)
    Scrubs ("My Friend With Money" - 2007)
    The Wonder Years ("Dance With Me" - 1988)

Comments: 11

  • Shawn from MarylandOn YouTube, it is worthwhile to check out "The Girl From Ipanema is a far weirder song than you thought" The guy talks for 1/2 hour about the hidden subtleties, chord progressions, and odd key changes in this song. The song is brilliant on how all of this was pulled off. It's worth checking out.
  • Donny from UsaHer voice is so haunting and almost puts you in a trance like state. One thing nobody has mentioned is how beautiful Astrud Gilberto is........gorgeous
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 25th 1970, Astrud Gilberto, in a medley of Bossa-Nova songs, performed "The Girl from Ipanema" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Six years earlier on May 31st, 1964 the song, by saxophonist Stan Getz with Ms. Gilberto on vocals, entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; and on July 12th, 1964 it peaked at #5 {for 2 weeks} and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on the same day it peaked at #12 on the Top 100 it reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    It was Ms. Gilberto's only appearance on the Top 100, and two years earlier in 1962 Mr. Getz, with guitarist Charlie Byrd, peaked at #15 on the Top 100 with “Desafinado"...
    R.I.P. Mr. Getz, born Stanley Gayetzky, {1927 - 1991}, Mr. Byrd {1925 - 1999}, and Ms. Gilberto, born Astrud Evangelina Weinert, will celebrate her 75th birthday this coming March 29th {2015}.
  • Reg from Kemptville, On, -This song popped up on Peter Sellers "The Party".
    Anyone know the name of the actress who performed it?
  • Reg from Kemptville, On, -This song was performed in the Peter Sellers' movie "The Party".
    Anyone know the name of the actress who sang it?
  • Kevin from Reading , PaFrank Sinatra actually does a really good version on his 1968 album "Sinatra and Jobim." Antonio Carlos Jobim actually sings a Portugese vocal during the song. The entire album is really , really good, with sons "Dindi" and "Once I Loved" being really stellar.
  • Ariadne from Porto Alegre, BrazilIn the portuguese lyrics, it's not so much about "unrequited love", it's more about a fascinated contemplation of the girl and a melancholic thought that she doesn't belong him, but with the belief that her beauty transcends, makes everything better. Literally, he sings "the beauty that it's not only mine, that also passes by herself" and "if she only knew that, when she passes, the entire world gets all full of grace and becomes prettier because of the love". Note that is "the" love, not his love for her. Pity is that, nowadays, Helô Pinheiro is one of that rich women whose only talent is appear at parties, celebrity magazines and sutff like that... Her daughter was even on a brasilian version of "The Simple Life"!!! Well, I hope my poor english could be understood!
  • Phil from Brooklyn, NyGreat song-plagarized somewhat by Janis Ian for "At Seventeen"
  • Phil from Brooklyn, NyGreat song-plagarized somewhat by Janis Ian for "At Seventeen".
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaDone to death by everyone, unfortunately. To the point where the melody has become a caricature of 60s coolness. Nevertheless, this is one of the greatest songs of modern times. A compelling story and a simple/complex melody of perfection. No wonder everyone has to take their stab at recording it.

    Stan Getz came up with the idea of having Astrud sing the lyrics in the studio--what a stroke of genius that turned out to be! Just listen to her hesitant, delicate efforts with her Portuguese accent. There's a wonderful YouTube video of Astrud singing the songon a 60s tv show.

    Check out the Portuguese lyrics sometime. They are actually quite different from the version tranlated to English.
  • Alekx from Colorado Springs, CoThis song is amazing!

    It's also on...

    "V for Vendetta" and
    "Wayne's World 2"

see more comments

Editor's Picks

Don Felder

Don FelderSongwriter Interviews

Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.

Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa CarltonSongwriter Interviews

The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks and how she captured a song from a dream.

Songs Discussed in Movies

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.

Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Richard Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Psychedelic Furs lead singer Richard Butler talks about their first album since 1991 and explains what's really going on in "Pretty In Pink."

Why Does Everybody Hate Nu-Metal? Your Metal Questions Answered

Why Does Everybody Hate Nu-Metal? Your Metal Questions AnsweredSong Writing

10 Questions for the author of Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces