Astrud Gilberto Dies: Brazilian Singer Of Sultry ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ Bossa Nova Classic Was 83

Astrud Gilberto, who was just 22 years old when her lovely, laid-back and sultry vocals on the jazzy bossa nova “The Girl from Ipanema” made the song a massive global hit and one of the most recognizable melodies of the 1960s, died Monday. She was 83.

Her death was announced to the media by a family friend, the musician Paul Ricci, who did not provide additional details.

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Born on March 5, 1940, in Salvador, Bahia, and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Gilberto was virtually unknown to the wider public when she was recruited by producer Creed Taylor, saxophonist Stan Getz and her then-husband, guitarist Joao Gilberto, and to lend her vocals on two songs for Getz/Gilberto. The album, recorded in 1963, would have a huge impact on the popularization of bossa nova music, in no small measure due to of one of those songs featuring Astrud: “The Girl from Ipanema,” released as a single in 1964, sold more than 5 million copies, reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

RELATED: João Gilberto Dies: Brazilian Bossa Nova Pioneer Was 88

Astrud Gilberto was Grammy-nominated that year for Best New Artist and Best Vocal Performance.

Even people who don’t recognize the song title might be memory-jogged by Gilberto’s opening vocals, a marvel of the sort of relaxed, provocative and self-assured singing that would influence singers from Herb Alpert to Sade:

Tall and tan and young and lovely

The girl from Ipanema goes walking

And when she passes

Each one she passes goes, “Ah”

Although Gilberto would tour with Getz and release albums in both English and Portuguese though the 1960s, she gradually would withdraw from the global musical and public spotlights. Later in life, she would reveal that she received no money from the song that became a musical standard and that the men involved in the recording never completely acknowledged her invaluable contribution to its success.

Gilberto was married twice, according to the Associated Press, and had two sons. She continued to perform live for many years and recorded a duet with George Michael on “Desafinado,” a song written by her first husband and included on Michael’s 1998 greatest hits album Ladies & Gentlemen.

She received a Latin Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 2008.

Watch a 1964 performance of “The Girl From Ipanema” below:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-4atGz2j9s4%3Ffeature%3Doembed

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