Getz and Gilberto Perform ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ (and the Woman Who Inspired the Song)

Take a deep breath and watch this 1964 television performance of “The Girl from Ipanema” by Brazilian bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto and American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz.

The arrangement is from the classic album, Getz/Gilberto, which launched the bossa nova craze of the early 60’s. The album was primarily a collaboration between Getz and Astrud’s husband, the guitarist and vocalist João Gilberto, but when someone got the idea of including an English translation of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “The Girl from Ipanema,” Astrud was recruited. She had never sung professionally before. The recordings launched her as an international sensation.

Since then, “The Girl from Ipanema” has weathered a half-century of heavy rotation on the Holiday Inn lounge circuit and Muzak. (Remember the elevator scene in The Blues Brothers?) So it can be hard to imagine just how cool the song must have seemed in 1964 with the release of Getz/Gilberto. That saxophone. That voice. As the person who posted this video on YouTube put it: “Chill, baby, chill…”

When it’s all said and done, you can also meet Heloisa Pinheiro, the woman who inspired the song all of those years ago.

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