“The Girl from Ipanema” Lyrics Meaning

“The Girl from Ipanema” is a song based on the admiration of a beautiful lady who is indeed from Ipanema, a coastal town located in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Her characteristics are described as being “tall”, “tan”, “young and lovely”.  And when she passes by, people (particularly men) cannot help but to admire her. And one of the reasons for this is that in addition to her aforementioned attributes even her walking is graceful, like a samba dancer.

Despite admiring her so much, the singer does not have the heart to approach and let her know how he feels. He also seems disturbed by the fact that she does not even appear to notice him when she passes him by.        

 Ultimately what the song boils down to is that the singer is in love with someone who he deems is the personification of beauty itself. But in contrast “the girl from Ipanema” by and large does not even know that he exists.

"The Girl from Ipanema" lyrics

Facts about “The Girl from Ipanema”

  • The song was originally written in 1962 by composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinicius de Moraes, both of whom are Brazilians.
  • The woman who actually inspired them to write the song is named Heloísa Pinheiro, who at the time (1962) was a seventeen year old girl living in Ipanema. 
  • Heloísa Pinheiro became famous the world over thanks to the popularity of this track.
  • In 2001, the heirs of Vinicius de Moraes and
    Antônio Carlos Jobim actually sued Heloísa Pinheiro for naming her Rio de Janeiro boutique Garota de Ipanema (“Girl from Ipanema”) as well as having photographs in the shop of herself with the composers. However, the court eventually ruled in favor of Heloísa.
  • The English lyrics were added to the song by American lyricist Norman Gimbel in 1963.
  • “The Girl from Ipanema” has been covered so extensively that out of all pop songs in history it is generally believed to be the second-most recorded.
  • In 2001, this song was inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame and in 2004 into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
  • According to the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone magazine in 2009, “The Girl from Ipanema” is the 27th greatest Brazilian song ever.
  • The original title of this song was “Menina que Passa” (“The Girl Who Passes By”), and it was written for a musical called Dirigível (“Airship”). 
  • This track was used in various ways throughout the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics which were held in Rio de Janeiro. Accordingly, downloading of “The Girl from Ipanema” skyrocketed on streaming platforms around that time. This made the song to peak at number-five on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart.
  • Female singers who have covered this song often reconfigure the lyrics to instead read “The Boy from Ipanema”.

Who are some of the artists that have covered “The Girl from Ipanema”?

This song has been covered by iconic artists such as Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, The Supremes, Eartha Kitt and even the Muppets.

Frank Sinatra and Tom Jobim performing “The Girl from Ipanema” live.

Did “The Girl from Ipanema” win a Grammy?

Yes. In 1965 the song won a Grammy Awardfor Record of the Year. The Grammy-winning version of the song was by Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto and American saxophonist Stan Getz.

How did “The Girl From Ipanema” perform on the charts?

The Getz/Gilberto version reached number-five on the Billboard Hot 100 and number-one on the Billboard Easy Listening (now known as Adult Contemporary) chart.  It charted lower in the United Kingdom – peaking at number-29 – but was still a global success.

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