Astrud Gilberto, Iconic Singer of “The Girl from Ipanema,” Passes Away at 83

Astrud Gilberto

Renowned Brazilian samba and bossa nova singer, Astrud Gilberto, known for her ethereal vocals in the timeless hit “The Girl from Ipanema,” has sadly passed away at the age of 83. With her captivating voice, Gilberto played a pivotal role in popularizing the breezy and sensual melody that became a global sensation. Her son, Marcelo Gilberto, confirmed her death on Monday night, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be cherished in the music world.


The Birth of an Iconic Song:
“The Girl from Ipanema,” an iconic composition in the history of recorded music, owes much of its fame to Astrud Gilberto. The story behind the song’s English-language version has several variations, but according to Gilberto herself, it was her husband, João Gilberto, a bossa nova legend, who proposed the idea during a recording session in New York in 1963. Working with jazz virtuoso Stan Getz on the album “Getz/Gilberto,” Gilberto’s flawless command of English made her the ideal choice to bring the song to life.

The Unexpected Journey to Stardom:
Despite not receiving proper credit for her vocal debut on “The Girl from Ipanema” and earning a mere $120 for the session, Astrud Gilberto soon recorded her own solo rendition of the song. To her surprise, the track’s release propelled her and Brazil’s bossa nova genre into the American music scene. The album “Getz/Gilberto” went on to win four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, cementing Gilberto’s place in music history.

A Remarkable Solo Career:
Following her separation from João Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto embarked on a successful solo career. She released numerous albums and collaborated with renowned artists such as Quincy Jones and Chet Baker. Her unique and soulful voice left an indelible mark on the jazz scene of the 1960s and ’70s, influencing a generation of musicians, including Karen Carpenter and Sade.

Recognition and Legacy:
Despite facing challenges and criticism in her native Brazil, Gilberto found acceptance and admiration in the United States, where she eventually settled. In 2008, the Latin Recording Academy honored her with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her significant contributions to music. Gilberto’s impact extended far beyond her own career, with her signature style inspiring countless artists and leaving an enduring legacy in the world of music.


Astrud Gilberto’s passing marks the end of an era for fans of bossa nova and samba music. Her mesmerizing vocals on “The Girl from Ipanema” captivated audiences worldwide, showcasing the beauty and allure of Brazilian music. While Brazil initially struggled to embrace her success, Gilberto found her place in the United States, leaving an everlasting impact on the jazz scene. As buskers continue to perform her iconic song in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, her memory lives on, reminding us of the timeless power of romance and dreamy melodies.