11 Dec Brazilian beach that inspired “The Girl from Ipanema” gets Tom Jobim statue

Few life size bronze statues will be more popular among the residents of Rio de Janeiro than the one that has just been erected to honor the singer-composer who helped to immortalize the Brazilian city’s Arpoador Beach. That person is, of course, Rio native and bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim, whose song “The Girl from Ipanema” became one of the most recorded of all time.

Unveiled on Monday, the statue weighs some 200 kilos (440 pounds) and depicts Jobim with a guitar slung over his shoulder, as if taking a casual walk away from the beach. It was commissioned by Rio’s city hall to mark the 20th anniversary of the star’s death in 1994 at the age of 67.

Sculptor Christina Motta based the statue on a photo from around the time that Jobim and “The Girl from Ipanema” co-writer Vinicius de Morales had just finished a symphony in Brasilia, adding that she “chose to represent a young and handsome Tom Jobim, showing him at the peak of his success in the 1960s.”

“The Girl from Ipanema” was written in 1962 as “Garota de Ipanema”, with music by Jobim, while Morales penned the original Portuguese lyrics. Norman Gimbel handled the lyrics for the English version, which became an international hit for Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto in 1964, even winning the 1965 Grammy for Record of the Year.

The song reached number five on the Hot 100 here in the United States, bringing to global attention the bronzed beauties who paraded along the beach in Rio’s affluent Ipanema district. It has been sung by a host of other stars – including Frank Sinatra – in addition to being voted the 27th greatest Brazilian song by the Brazilian version of Rolling Stone magazine.

But for many music lovers across the world, the song will always chiefly belong to Jobim, who is considered one of his country’s greatest musicians, with a back-catalogue of hundreds of composed songs and more than 50 albums. The shore at Arpoador Beach was one of the artist’s favorite spots, with the inauguration of the statue here taking place in the presence of his family, who approved it.

Rio’s Secretary for Tourism, Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello, commented: “Twenty years ago we lost our greatest maestro. He needed to be immortalized at the place where he spent most of his life. We already installed two cameras, but we hope they won’t be necessary and that the population knows how to take care of one of their icons and their heritage.”

We can only firmly agree with such words, here at life size bronze statues specialist Big Statues.


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