Who Was the Girl from Ipanema?

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Antonio Carlos Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes: The Girl from Ipanema.

The Girl from Ipanema

Who was The Girl from Ipanema? Heloisa Pinto

One of the finest songs of the twentieth century is now classed as ‘muzak’ – something light to be listened to in elevators or when you’re on hold. Sadly.

But who was the girl from Ipanema? Did she really exist? She certainly did – her name is Heloisa Pinto (pictured on the right).

In the early nineteen sixties, when she was fifteen she would walk every morning on the Brazilian beach in Ipanema – a wealthy suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Her walk would take her past a popular bar – Veloso – and sometimes, she would call into buy cigarettes for her mother.

The Veloso also happened to be the place where composer Antonio Carlos Jobim used to meet lyricist, Vinicius de Moraes. They certainly noticed her, as did most other people – she was a striking looking girl even in her early teens.

She inspired the two men to write what is probably their most famous collaboration- The Girl from Ipanema.

It became a hit in Brazil for singer Astrud Gilberto and soon,people began to wonder.Was there really a girl from Ipanema who inspired the song? Who was she?

Needless to say, this speculation helped to publicise the song but on the other hand, people were talking more about this than they were about the song itself. Many girls were coming forward claiming to be the real girl for whom the song was written. None were.

Eventually Moraes called a press conference and told everyone that the girl in question was Helô. That same year, 1965, the song won the prestigious Grammy, ‘Record of the Year’. The thrust it into the spotlight even further and along with it, Heloisa.

However, in 2001 controversy was to arrive.  Now known as Helô Pinheiro, the girl from Ipanema was sued when she opened a boutique and called it Garota de Ipanema, the song title’s Portuguese translation. The copyright owners objected. They were the heirs of Jobim and Moraes, both writers having died by that time.

However, the judge found in her favour. The press release that Moraes had given in 1965 was the clincher. She truly was the Girl From Ipanema.



Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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