Friday, 6 June 2014

Astrud Gilberto 'The Girl From Ipanema'

Chart Peak: 29

This was originally a Top 30 hit in August 1964 but Astrud Gilberto, who sings on the record, was not credited. The names on the disc were Stan Getz, who played saxophone and Astrud's husband Joao. It made No. 55 when re-issued in September 1984.
I should probably clarify at this point that Joao Gilberto does actually play guitar on the track (and the rest of the album it was originally on), he's not just getting credited for being a man. Apparently, it was a spur of the moment decision for his young wife to sing the English vocal part on this track, which swiftly became one of the big jazz crossover hits of the era. Soon enough she found herself miming a re-recorded version in the film Get Yourself a College Girl. It's hard to resist using the word "sultry" when talking about this track, but there's something impressive about the way it combines both a summery sound (not just because it's about a beach - there's something bright about it) with a distinct chill from the boy's unrequited love. Mrs Gilberto's vocal is perhaps the most distinctive element, something that sounds unconventional for either jazz or pop, and is curiously improved by her unconventional pronunciation of some of the words. Of course, this also helps her to get away with the ungrammatical rhyme "She looks straight ahead, not at he", but mainly it helps to give the track a slightly hazy, unreal atmosphere which suits both the season and the lyrical theme.

It's a slightly odd edit here, neither the full album version nor the original single edit, it just seems to fade out rather suddenly in the middle of a verse; possibly this is the version that came out in 1984. Should you wish to download this song there are plenty of versions available (and as you may be aware, a World Cup is soon to start in Brazil so there'll doubtless be even more) but my advice is to avoid any incarnation of this track with a running time of 3:18 because that will be the later disco re-recording.

Available on: True Mellow 3 CD Set

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