The song The Girl from Ipanema began when Tom Jobim asked Vinicius de Moraes to write the lyrics for one of his compositions. Vinicius was inspired by Helô Pinheiro, an 18-year-old girl they used to see in Ipanema, buying cigarettes for her parents or simply walking past Bar Veloso, where they spent time drinking whiskey.

The history of the song The Girl from Ipanema

On August 2, 1962, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, accompanied by João Gilberto, Milton Banana (drummer), and Otávio Bailly (bassist), performed the song The Girl from Ipanema for the first time in a show called “Encontro” at Au Bon Gourmet.

In a playful tone, Tom, Vinicius, and João introduced the song by humming the following dialogue:

João Gilberto – “Tom, what if you were to create a song now? One that could tell us, explain what love is…”

Tom Jobim – “Well, Joãozinho… I wouldn’t know how to do it without Vinicius to provide the poetry…”

Vinicius de Moraes – “For this song to come to life, I wish João could be the one to sing it…”

João Gilberto – “Ah, but who am I? I am more like you guys. It would be better if the three of us sang it!”

The history of the song The Girl from Ipanema
Vinicius de Moraes and Helô Pinheiro, the Girl from Ipanema.

The Girl from Ipanema marked a turning point in the history of Brazilian music. The song, which played a crucial role in popularizing bossa nova worldwide, had an English version that won a Grammy and was performed by various renowned artists, including Frank Sinatra, who invited Tom Jobim for a duet. After more than 50 years, the song continues to be widely recognized in different languages, used in film soundtracks, TV series, and cartoons. It remains one of the most iconic global cultural ambassadors for Brazil.

The success of the song The Girl from Ipanema led many young women to self-identify as the girl from Ipanema. However, the true inspiration behind the song’s lyrics was revealed by Vinicius de Moraes in a publication, putting an end to the appropriation and clarifying who the woman that inspired him was.

“I was raised in a very strict and conservative family; my father was in the military and did not like at all that I had become the focus of worldwide media attention and the target of older men’s gaze,” Helô revealed.

As a result, she became a well-known figure not only in Brazil but also in other parts of the world. Here in Brazil, she acted in soap operas, coordinated beauty pageants, and became an entrepreneur.

Reference:Veja – ‘Garota de Ipanema’: os 60 anos da canção que fez mundo amar o Brasil. Brazil, August 02, 2022. Site: Available in: ‘Garota de Ipanema’: os 60 anos da canção que fez mundo amar o Brasil | VEJA ( Accessed on: September 29, 2023.

G1 – As ‘Garotas de Ipanema’: versões do clássico de Vinicius e Tom Jobim. Brazil, October 14, 2013. Site: Available in: G1 – As ‘Garotas de Ipanema’: versões do clássico de Vinicius e Tom Jobim – notícias em Música ( Accessed on: September 23, 2023.

Aventuras na HistóriaA MUSA DE TOM E VINÍCIUS: QUEM É A GAROTA DE IPANEMA?. Brazil, March 22, 2022. Site: Available in: A musa de Tom e Vinícius: quem é a Garota de Ipanema? ( Accessed on: September 29, 2023.

Matheus Araújo - Brazilian History
Matheus Araújo
Founder and Editor at Brazilian History | Website

Matheus is an entrepreneur at Araujo Media, where he serves as CEO and Creative Director. He shares analyses on his personal blog "" and is currently pursuing a degree in Advertising and Propaganda. Moreover, he has a passion for history, particularly that of Brazil, which led him to become the founder and editor of the Brazilian History portal.