Song Lyric Sunday – The Girl from Ipanema

The prompt from Jim:

This week we have length and size prompts of Long/Short/Small/Tall and the song that you choose must contain one of these prompt words in either the title or the lyrics

“Tall and tan and young and lovely…”

What a great description of a beautiful young woman. “The Girl from Ipanema” was written in 1962. The music by Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and the Portuguese lyrics written by the Brazilian poet and lyricist Vinícius de Moraes. The song was originally written for a musical comedy of Jobim’s. The original title was “Menina que Passa” (“The Girl Who Passes By”).

The inspiration for the song was a young woman from Rio de Janeiro named Heloísa Eneida Paes Pinto Mendes Pinheiro.  She became the inspiration for the song when the songwriters saw her walking to the beach in Ipanema. She was always the subject of wolf whistles as she walked through her hometown.

The American lyrics for the song were written by American Lyricist Norman Gimbel who also wrote the song “Killing Me Softly with His Song” among many others. The song was released in 1964, performed by Stanley Getz, a jazz saxophonist, with vocals by Astrud Gilberto, and won the “Record of the Year” at the 7th Annual Grammy Awards. The style of the song is predominately bossa nova style.

Heloísa Eneida Paes Pinto Mendes Pinheiro (known as Helô Pinheiro) became a bit of a celebrity following the success of the song. She went on to become a businesswoman and model and would become a Brazilian Playboy Playmate in 1967 and again in later years in a pictorial with her daughter.

In 2001, the heirs of the copyright owners sued Helô Pinheiro because she named her boutique Garota de Ipanema (The title of the song in Portuguese). The courts ruled in her favor.

Frank Sinatra recorded the song with Antônio Carlos Jobim in 1967.

This song has been one of the most widely recorded songs internationally. This version by Amy Winehouse is just another example.

The Girl from Ipanema
Lyrics from

Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes – ah

When she walks, she’s like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes – ah

(Ooh) But he watch her so sadly
How can he tell her he loves her
Yes I would give my heart gladly
But each day, that she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at he

Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, he smile – but she doesn’t see
(Doesn’t see)
(She just doesn’t see, she never sees him)

Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.


31 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – The Girl from Ipanema”

    1. You know everyone, Don! How fantastic. It is a great and simply lovely song. And, Frank – well, he was a legend.


  1. I had that Stan Getz record when I was 12, and played it over and over. Then I got the Amy Winehouse version decades later, and loved that too. I prefer it sung by a female voice, just my preference.
    I’m going to cheat (sorry), by using ‘Small’ Faces, the name of a once-popular British pop group.
    This 1968 song is very ‘London’, and suitable for today, I think. Steve Marriot’s accent is a lot like mine, if you ever wondered what I sound like. 🙂

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Stan Getz song was so well done. Amy Winehouse was amazing and her cover has a very distinct quality.

      I have never heard of this group or the song. Now I will read all your posts in Steve Marriot’s voice. Have you ever posted a video or recording of yourself on your blog?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I only have a brief voice recording, calling Ollie a ‘Good Boy’. 🙂
        People have said I sound like Michael Caine when I speak. Perhaps because he comes from the exact same borough of London where I grew up.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the quintessential bossa nova song. It originally appeared on the album “Getz/Gilberto,” by Stan Getz and João Gilberto, who at the time was married to Astrud. The extended version starts with the Portuguese lyrics sung by João then switch over to the English lyrics sung by Astrud, who to my mind has the most amazing voice…

    Speaking of amazing voices, I wasn’t aware that Amy Winehouse had done a version of. It’s interesting to say the least, if unconventional. Great choice for today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, John, and thanks for the additional info. I had read about the album – it is always hard for me to know how much info to include. Astrud’s voice was perfect for the song.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always loved the smooth sound of this song. The first version is my favorite. When we used to have choir practice at church (and hopefully will again) our music director spontaneously starts playing “The Girl from Ipanema” on the organ, whenever he wants to lighten the mood. It works!

    Liked by 1 person

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