Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Girl From Ipanema by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto

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Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes
Each one she passes goes, Ahh Read full Lyrics
When a song becomes a hit, there is often a story behind it. Sometimes there are several stories. "The Girl from Ipanema" is one such song.

The setting is the beach front area of Ipanema in a fashionable part of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The beach is famous for its fabulous sand, sea and sights. If you enjoy a holiday where you can sit, sip and stare, Ipanema is well worth considering.

The place is popular today and always has been. It's just that it became internationally famous when two guys sitting every day at a beach-side cafe watching the sights noticed a particular girl. They thought she was special. She was a lovely teenager named Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto.

The songwriters were so impressed they penned a song inspired by Heloisa. The recording of the song came about in 1962 and the rest, as they say, is history. The question is not, who has heard of "The Girl from Ipanema," but rather, who hasn't heard it?

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil<br>Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/over_kind_man/3179806357" target="_blank">Mike Vondran</a>, via Flickr, CC 2.0Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Photo: Mike Vondran, via Flickr, CC 2.0
You know you have a hit when it gets recorded by covers artists time and again, when it shoots to the top of the charts and stays there for ages and when you walk into an elevator in cities around the world and the melody you hear is from that song.

Here are some stories associated with "The Girl from Ipanema."

- Heloisa went on to pose for Playboy magazine twice, the second time with her daughter.

- Heloisa tried to open a boutique with the shop's name being The Girl from Ipanema. The writers of the song were dead but their heirs took Heloisa to court alleging breach of copyright. In the end, Heloisa won.

-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.

- In this area of Rio a bar opened called A Garota de Ipanema.

- The song has been added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

- When the many female vocalists perform the song, it is usually changed to the boy from Ipanema.

Rio is certainly a spot to visit. The famous Rio Carnaval is a fabulous display of showbiz, glamour and local culture. The basis of the parade is actually a competition between many samba schools, and boy, do they compete.

The beaches, particularly the one at Ipanema, are glorious. Then beside the sea there are great bars, cafes and restaurants and the shopping is superb. If you like to keep fit beside the water, you can walk, jog, ride a bike or go skateboarding or rollerblading.

Rio is a tourist's dream. The mountains, the beaches, the music and overwhelming friendliness of the locals make this Brazilian city a delight. The giant statue of Christ towering above the city is spectacular. The views from the mountain equally as impressive.

The sporting life, the gardens, the food and the weather combine to offer many things for all visitors. If you can dance the samba or bossa nova, you'll be popular. If you can dance to the music of "The Girl from Ipanema," you'll be a star.

Cen Fox
September 18, 2009
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