I was reading more about Rio de Janeiro’s problems as it tries to prepare for the upcoming summer Olympics. The city is in dire financial straits to the point where they can barely pay the wages of police and there are worries about security and health hazards. One positive piece I read was about Rio’s Ipanema district and its iconic beach. It was 1962 when aging poet Vinicius de Moraes was sitting outside at the Veloso Bar-Café, watched 17 year-old Heloisa Pinto pass by on her way to Ipanema Beach.
The poet had often watched the blond teenager go past the Café and her attractive qualities made him sad because he knew her vitality and youth would eventually fade, just as his had done. So he wrote a song about her. The song became a Top 10 pop hit in North America in the summer of 1964 recorded in June of that year by Stan Getz and his orchestra with vocals by Astrud Gilberto. The restaurant in Rio is still there with a sign that says Garota de Ipanema, the Girl from Ipanema, after the hit song. The adjacent street sign reads Rue Vinicius de Moraes, now named after the creator of one of the world’s most famous summer songs.