Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Most Popular Girl In The World Turns 50
July 2, 2012 9:37 PM   Subscribe

The Girl From Ipanema Turns 50. The song, not the woman. (Although she's still around, and still making everyone she passes go "ahhhhhh".) Written in 1962 by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, recorded by Pery Ribeiro (here performing the song in 2005), the song gained English lyrics a couple of years later, and became a phenomenon that continues to this day.

The 1964 version recorded by Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz and João Gilberto is what rocketed to the top of charts worldwide. But the second most-recorded song in the world has been done by many over the years, including [in no particular order, far from comprehensive] Frank Sinatra (with Antonio Carlos Jobim), Kenny G, Pat Metheny, Diana Krall, KOMPRESSOR, Oscar Peterson Trio, Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra, Herb Alpert, Lou Rawls, Vince Guaraldi and Bola Sete, Cher, and The Pizzicato Five.

To name but a few.

Most recently recorded by Amy Winehouse.

And let's not forget about the time she went to Greenland.
posted by hippybear (60 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
lou rawls FTW
posted by RockyChrysler at 10:04 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


In his rendition, Walter Wanderley demonstrates his ample Hammond organ skills.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


But each day, as she walks to the sea, she looks straight ahead, not at him. FTFY.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 10:19 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, hell, does anyone have a clean copy of the elevator muisc version of this song? I've been wanting to make it a ringtone for ages.
posted by griphus at 10:23 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


does anyone have a clean copy of the elevator muisc version of this song

Is this anything close to what you're looking for?
posted by hippybear at 10:35 PM on July 2, 2012


Don't forget the 1977 disco version. Introduced by a dude channeling Bela Lugosi.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:09 PM on July 2, 2012


Rick Moranis from SCTV did his own version - "Ipanema Rap".
posted by Zack_Replica at 11:10 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


For a minute I had this confused with Little Old Lady From Pasadena and was frantically bewildered.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:19 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any one have a current picture of Heloisa?
posted by Cranberry at 11:24 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mike Tyson
posted by unliteral at 11:30 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


In case it's not mentioned by anyone else, John Landis includes the song in every movie he directs. (Or at least many of them.)
posted by jsturgill at 11:53 PM on July 2, 2012


Olhe que coisa mais linda mais cheia de graça
posted by chavenet at 12:06 AM on July 3, 2012


Oh, hell, does anyone have a clean copy of the elevator muisc version of this song? I've been wanting to make it a ringtone for ages.

On behalf everyone, ever, who will get that earworm when your phone rings:
Goddamn it, Griphus!

I'm going to be taunted by this song all night, trying or work out which film I saw it in recently, where it breaks up a fight scene.
posted by Mezentian at 12:18 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Miller (forgive me).

I remain in awe of Jobim's music. I will never ever get enough Corcovado.
posted by Balonious Assault at 12:22 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have you ever thought about how much this affects the short light-skinned ugly old ladies from Ipanema? They don't want to go walking anymore.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:23 AM on July 3, 2012


Have you ever thought about how much this affects the short light-skinned ugly old ladies from Ipanema? They don't want to go walking anymore.

No, no. There's a certain part of town that they go walking in, and in that part of town, they draw all the "aaaahhhh"s.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:32 AM on July 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


But hippybear, oh hippybear... you have linked to Kenny G.

YOU HAVE LINKED TO KENNY G.

Only a post on Borbetomagus or Albert Ayler or Evan Parker or Ascension-era Coltrane or Peter Brötzmann will redeem you.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:37 AM on July 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I thought it was Astrud Gilberto. My bad.
posted by axiom at 1:10 AM on July 3, 2012


I've always loved this song. Of course, I used to date a girl with emphysema.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:36 AM on July 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I used to date a girl with emphysema.

No, that's different. When she passes she goes "ahhhhhh. cough. ahhhhhh."
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:39 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


DAMMMMMMN YOOU HIPPYBEAR.

Now I'll have that song running around my head for hours.

*shakes fist*
posted by gomichild at 1:47 AM on July 3, 2012


Did you hear the one about the woman who had unremitting septic mediastinitis?









She was the girl with Empyema.
posted by Renoroc at 2:43 AM on July 3, 2012


The girl from Ipanema? She retired to Pasadena.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:04 AM on July 3, 2012


Oh, hell, does anyone have a clean copy of the elevator music version of this song?

For my money, the "definitive" elevator version of this song is the one that heard in the courthouse elevator near the end of The Blues Brothers. I've read (although I haven't personally confirmed) that (a) John Landis used that version of the song again as an in-joke in his later film Into the Night and (b) Kevin Smith used that version of the song as an in-joke/homage in Mallrats.

Of course, the credits for these films confirms the song's use and authorship but does not credit its performers. One would think in thirty-two years, especially post-Internet, that someone would have been able to track down this specific recording, but the very nature of elevator music and the sheer quantity of Girl from Ipanema covers seems to have made this an impossible task.

I've been looking for copy of this version for ages, myself; it was my first exposure to the song (I suspect this is true for a lot of folks around my age) and it does have a certain unpretentious charm.
posted by Mothra Pisces at 4:13 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I believe The Girl From Ipanema was the very first song that registered in my, then, innocent little 5-year-old mind as "sexy".
posted by Thorzdad at 4:16 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


That KOPRESSOR cover is my young day's highlight. (Makes me think of Strong Bad too, which is always a bonus.)
posted by psoas at 4:20 AM on July 3, 2012


> For my money, the "definitive" elevator version of this song is the one that heard in the courthouse elevator near the end of The Blues Brothers.

That version also leaped out in my mind when I saw the question. It's such a perfect application.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:40 AM on July 3, 2012


And for those keeping score, an instrumental version was playing on the elevator as the Blues Brothers rode to the Cook County Assessor's Office.
posted by plinth at 5:08 AM on July 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


dang, missed mothra pisces comment.
posted by plinth at 5:09 AM on July 3, 2012


When in Washington, DC, enjoy fine dining at The Grill From Ipanema.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:26 AM on July 3, 2012


So in the mid-90's, I lived in a dinky apartment on the Lower East Side; a place that probably had once been half of a larger apartment but the landlord chopped things up into smaller units. The place was thus filled with just-graduates and artist-types, including an aspiring jazz guitarist who lived right above me. The jazz guitarist was really good, actually; my roommate and I never met him, but we could hear him practice. Whenever he was tryiing to teach himself a new song, he would get some kind of recording of the backing track and then put it on in a continuous loop, and play that one song over and over for a couple hours at a time.

And, as he was good, this was all fine. Until we came to the summer when he was trying to learn "Girl from Ipanema."

After about three weeks my roommate and I were alternately wandering around the apartment aimlessly and singing along without thinking as best we could ("When she passes it's like a samba...bah bah ba-ba yadda yadda-da...") or gnashing our teeth and wailing "oh god when will it END!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:38 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


When in Washington, DC, enjoy fine dining at The Grill From Ipanema.

I live in hope that somewhere there is a dental jewelry store named "Grillz from Ipanema."
posted by Forktine at 5:43 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


29 comments in and still no one has mentioned Monty Python's "Penguin on the Telly" sketch.

Pikers.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:43 AM on July 3, 2012


I came for Kompressor, was not disappointed. I really don't understand how this song became so iconic; it's not really very good, is it?
posted by thelonius at 5:52 AM on July 3, 2012


Any one have a current picture of Heloisa?

Here's a photo from 2007. That's the most recent I could find doing a quick search.
posted by hippybear at 6:00 AM on July 3, 2012


...it's not really very good, is it?

Purely subjective opinion! No verifiable way to determine whether it's good, bad, great, mediocre, awful or sublime! All depends on the personal taste of the listener! Thank you!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:03 AM on July 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Regardless of whether it's good or not, it's on the I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU PLAY THIS SONG ONE MORE TIME list. Right up there with any version of Brubeck's "Take Five," and every song by Bob Dylan, the Pixies, and Jane's Addiction. No need to play them again in public! Thanks! All done now. Buh-bye. We're closed. Put your earphones on. Go away.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:06 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, my favourite version is by Ella Fitzgerald, on Ella Abraça Jobim. The song is switched around to 'The Boy From Ipanema', of course, but that one pronoun is left unchanged. She continues to sing that the boy "looks right at him, not at me", thus completely turning the song around into something else -- an older woman's musings on a handsome, gay man. Brilliant.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:20 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Take 5" is a phenomenon. It's not Brubeck's fault, but it's become the "jazz for people who don't like jazz" song of all time.
posted by thelonius at 6:25 AM on July 3, 2012


Mo Nickels you may want to avoid travelling to Japan; in Tokyo you're never far from a shop where some cover of Girl from Ipanema plays as ambient music…
posted by blogenstock at 6:34 AM on July 3, 2012


Mo Nickels you may want to avoid travelling to Japan; in Tokyo you're never far from a shop where some cover of Girl from Ipanema plays as ambient music…

Actually, what's even more common are the endless mashups of Dylan, Pixies and Jane's Addiction songs. Seems like that's what's playing in every Harajuku boutique you walk into.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on July 3, 2012


I always thought this would be great as a metal cover. I lack the requisite growl to make this happen, but maybe someday...
posted by honeydew at 7:10 AM on July 3, 2012


Say what you will, but Stan Getz' breathy sax solo is utterly sublime.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:18 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


This won't make any sense except to musicians, but anyway: I heard a band at NYC's Zinc Bar playing this a few years ago, it had different chords that knocked me out. I took out my Palm Pilot (I said it was a few years ago!) and transcribed the chords as they played. When I got home I checked out what I had written: they played the tune with the standard changes except they substituted the relative minor for the major chords that start the B section and last A section (i.e., Eb minor instead of Gb major, and D minor instead of F major). I use these changes to this day. Try 'em, you'll like them!
posted by keys at 7:45 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


hippybear: Any one have a current picture of Heloisa?

Here's a photo from 2007. That's the most recent I could find doing a quick search.
Sweet Jesus. There's sunlight, so she can't be a vampire. Elf? Inhuman? Result of one of Zeus' trysts? Or just a vegan who gave up tanning?
posted by IAmBroom at 8:08 AM on July 3, 2012


She was also featured on an episode of America's Next Top Model in 2009, still looking stunning.
posted by xingcat at 8:23 AM on July 3, 2012


it's not really very good, is it?

It's very much a in-the-right-time-and-place song. When you're baking in the sun on a pool deck with a drink, it's the perfect song.

I first heard it in the elevator music context, like most other people, but when I first heard Joao Gilberto play it... wow. That was coincidentally at the time when I was getting super bored with copying pop songs on my guitar with the boring major and minor chords I knew. Just then, I knew I wanted to play guitar like Gilberto. So simple, but... not. Jobim's piano, same thing.
posted by ctmf at 9:13 AM on July 3, 2012


Never cared much for Astrud's voice, though. I have the same reaction to it as lots of people to Joanna Newsom, whose voice I love. To each his own, I guess.
posted by ctmf at 9:16 AM on July 3, 2012


This was my first exposure to the song. I heard the original finally when I was 25.
posted by droplet at 9:20 AM on July 3, 2012


It may be that I'm not seeing past the layers of cheese that have accumulated on it. I'll give it another think; it certainly has stood the test of time.
posted by thelonius at 9:54 AM on July 3, 2012


For an amateur guitarist, it's probably the easiest Jobim piece in the fake book. (EmpressC's tormentor was probably working on the subtleties).
posted by ovvl at 11:24 AM on July 3, 2012


This is a more recent picture of Helo Pinheiro and her daughter Ticiane. The daughter is married to a famous ad executive in Brazil, who, curiously, heads (or used to, I don't know if the show is still on) the Brazilian version of "The Apprentice", where he plays the role of The Donald.

And in one of those "only in Brazil" moments, in 2008 mother and daughter were cover of the Brazilian Playboy. In the same edition (NSFW). If you think the Kardashians are bizarre, you should see the kind of stunts Brazilian celebrities pull to stay in the news cycle.
posted by falameufilho at 11:30 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think my favorite version is Sammy Davis Jr's.

And now I'm going to have "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland" in my head now. :)
posted by luckynerd at 11:47 AM on July 3, 2012


I remember Benny Hill doing a version: "Short and pale and old and ugly, the girl from Bognor Regis goes waddling and as she passes, each one she passes goes uuurrrggghhh."
posted by binturong at 1:18 PM on July 3, 2012


Jeez!! What could I say that would repair the damaged souls of those of you who do not get this song? It is rightfully a milestone in the history of jazz, and absolutely stands the test of time.
posted by txmon at 2:06 PM on July 3, 2012


If I recall correctly, the (or an) "easy listening" version of the tune is featured in multiple elevator scenes in the movie "What's Up, Doc" with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:27 PM on July 3, 2012


The first time I heard this song (Stan Getz version) I was 18 and driving down Highway 1 outside of Santa Cruz in a Miata with a pretty girl. And I think of that every time I hear this song and it is perfect and it never gets old.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:43 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


And now I'm going to have "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland" in my head now. :)

I was shocked to learn that there was an official video for that song. A rather entertaining one, too!
posted by hippybear at 6:33 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos - your guitarist was probably using an Aebersold play-along (vol. 31 FTW) for the rhythmic section. :)
posted by ruelle at 9:46 PM on July 3, 2012


Don't care, he still made me and my roommate listen to 4-hour loops of "Girl From Ipanema" for 3 weeks, and, just, no.

(Nice guy, though -- I did ultimately meet him once the day after this jazz instructional CD started blasting with the volume up to 11 once at 4 am and woke all his neighbors up. He'd been at his girlfriend's and came home to all our angry messages and went around to all of us personally apologizing; apparently his cat had jumped on the stereo and turned it on. He looked so freaked out and embarrassed - and I had a cat myself, so I got it - that I let the Ipanema thing slide.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:02 AM on July 5, 2012


« Older Jack S. Margolis's A Child's Garden of Grass (A Pr...  |  Scientists at CERN, using the ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments