Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Girl from Ipanema

First released (as “Garota de Ipanema”) by Pery Ribeiro (1962).
Hit versions by Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto (US #5/MOR #1/UK #29 1964), Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto (MOR #1 1964).
Also recorded by Ella Fitzgerald (as “Boy from Ipanema”, 1965), Amy Winehouse (2002).

From the wiki: “‘Garota de Ipanema’ (‘The Girl from Ipanema’) was the worldwide Bossa nova hit song that won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. It was written in 1962, with music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel (‘So Nice‘, ‘Killing Me Softly with His Song‘).

“The first commercial recording was in 1962, by Pery Ribeiro. The 1964 single, performed by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz and shortened from the album version recorded in 1963 by Getz and Joao Gilberto, became the international hit. The original choice as vocalist was Sarah Vaughan, but when Gilberto heard the English translation, he decided that Astrud – Joao’s wife – should sing it. Her subtle vocal added a nuance to the song.

“Numerous recordings have been used in films, sometimes as an elevator music cliché, and the song has been covered by other singers innumerable times (including a gender-turning version. titled ‘Boy from Ipanema’, sung by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee). ‘Girl from Ipanema’ is believed to be the second most recorded pop song in history, after ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles.

“The song was inspired by Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now Helo Pinheiro), a nineteen-year-old girl living on Montenegro Street in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daily, she would stroll past the popular Veloso bar-café, not just to the beach (‘each day when she walks to the sea’), but in the everyday course of her life. She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles which Jobim and Moraes themselves witnessed in Rio the winter of 1962.

“Co-writer de Moraes led a remarkable life. A one-time diplomat, Moraes was first posted to Los Angeles in 1946 as a vice-consul before later being sent to Paris and Rome. A free-spirit, he was married nine times and Moraes’ overly-liberated lifestyle led to Brazil’s military dictatorship expelling him from the diplomatic corps in 1969.

From “A version by Amy Winehouse appears on the late singer’s posthumous album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures. Recorded in May 2002, it was the first song the 18-year-old Winehouse sang when she first went to Miami to record with Salaam Remi, who went on to work with the singer on her first two albums. Remi remarked during a listening session for the record, that, ‘the way she re-interpreted this bossa nova classic made me realize that I was dealing with a very special talent. Her approach to the song was so young and fresh, it really inspired the rest of our sessions.'”

Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, “Girl from Ipanema” (1963):

Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto, “Girl from Ipanema” (1964):

Ella Fitzgerald, “Boy from Ipanema” (1965):

Amy Winehouse, “Girl from Ipanema” (2002):

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