http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul ... -turns-50/
JULIANA BARBASSA, Associated Press wrote:RIO DE JANEIRO — "Tall and tan and young and lovely..." You've heard of her. The Girl From Ipanema.
You might have come across the bossa nova classic while on hold on the phone, during a long elevator ride, or in a cafe in Beirut or Bangkok - but you've heard it. It's been recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse, and survived bad lounge singers and Muzak incarnations to become, according to Performing Songwriter magazine, the second most recorded song in the world.
The quintessential bossa nova tune, inspired by a young woman who passed the songwriters in a beachside bar on her way to the sea, introduced Rio de Janeiro to the world. Now, it's turning 50, and to its legions of fans, the decades have only heightened its allure, adding a wash of nostalgia to this hymn to passing youth and beauty.
"I love this music, and had been searching for this place," said Venezuelan tourist Xiomara Castillo, who with her husband was taking pictures inside the bar where the song's authors watched their muse saunter by in the song's eponymous neighborhood. "For me, Rio de Janeiro is this song, is bossa nova; the city has this rhythm, this charm, this sensuality."
Indeed, the song carries within its chords and lyrics an image of a city that's light and easy, palm trees and blue sky, a sun-kissed life without care.
Rio is in "the levity of the song, its absolute elegance, the way it doesn't take itself seriously" said Ruy Castro, a writer and journalist who has chronicled the city, its music and its nightlife.
This girl who "swings so cool and sways so gently" first stepped out in public on August 1962, in a cramped Copacabana nightclub.
On stage together, for the first and only time, were the architects of bossa nova: Tom Jobim on piano and Joao Gilberto on guitar, with help from the poet Vinicius de Moraes, who gave "The Girl" her lyrics. Also performing was the vocal group Os Cariocas.
Bossa nova was still young then, somewhat of a novelty even in Rio. The name meant "new trend" or "new way," and that's what it was: a fresh, jazzy take on Brazil's holiest tradition, the samba.
The rhythm was the same. But where samba was cathartic, communal, built on drums and powerful voices, bossa was intimate, contemplative, just a singer and a song. The melody, on guitar or piano, stepped up to the front. Percussion receded, played sometimes with brushes for a softer texture reminiscent of surf washing on the sand.
The 1962 show at the club Au Bon Gourmet established bossa nova, wrote Castro in his book about the genre. It didn't just introduce the Jobim-penned "Girl"; other bossa classics, such as "So danco samba" and "Samba da bencao," also were played publicly for the first time.
The small club - 20 by 130 feet - sold out every night as patrons realized something extraordinary was happening on the cramped little stage.
In this July 3, 2012 photo, Heloisa "Helo" Pinheiro, the woman that inspired the classic bossa nova song, "The Girl From Ipanema," poses for a picture in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The quintessential tune was inspired by Pinheiro when she passed the songwriters in a beachside bar on her way to the sea 50 years ago. To its legions of fans, the decades have only heightened the song's allure, adding a wash of nostalgia to this hymn to passing youth and beauty. At 68, Pinheiro has two TV shows roles and is planning to launch a book in English about her past. (AP Photo/Andre Penner) — AP