The familiar sway of João Gilberto’s guitar and his unhurried vocals underpinned with longing as he sings “The Girl From Ipanema” in Portuguese are surely being heard heard around the world as fans mourn the bossa nova pioneer, who died on Saturday (July 6) in Rio at age 88. The 1962 classic single, which created a lasting image of a sensuous and sophisticated Brazil in the minds of global listeners, remains Gilberto’s best-known recording. (Gilberto’s then-wife Astrud Gilberto, sang the immortal words in English.)
Since its appearance on the album Getz/Gilberto, the song written by Brazilian master Antonio Carlos Jobim, with lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes and, in English, by Norman Gimbel, has been recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse, and tinged, variously, with flamenco, reggae and mariachi brass.
As we remember João Gilberto’s own unforgettable interpretation of “Garota de Ipanema,” here are 15 tributes to the song by artists from yesterday and today, including versions by Sergio Mendes, Eartha Kitt, Kenny G., Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, Ella Fitzgerald and the Oscar Peterson Trio, among others.