'The Girl From Ipanema' all grown up

Associated Press
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)

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“The Girl From Ipanema” appeared on an album exactly 50 years ago, and a lot of us have hummed along without knowing exactly where Ipanema is or what the song is about.

Or that the girl herself is a real person, with a real name and a story.

Her name is Helo Pinheiro, and back then she was a 19-year-old brunette named Heloísa Eneida de Menezes Paes Pinto who walked through the seaside district here, running errands, sometimes in a two-piece bathing suit. A songwriter named Antonio Carlos Jobim spotted the beauty who would one day be described as “a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace.”
Eric Adelson

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