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‘The Girl from Ipanema’ turns 50


“Tall and tan and young and lovely …” You’ve heard of her. The Girl From Ipanema.

It’s been recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse , and survived bad lounge singers and Muzak incarnations to become, according to Performing Songwriter magazine, the second most recorded song in the world.

The quintessential bossa nova tune, inspired by a young woman who passed the songwriters in a beachside bar on her way to the sea, introduced Rio de Janeiro to the world. Now, it’s turning 50, and to its legions of fans, the decades have only heightened its allure, adding a wash of nostalgia to this hymn to passing youth and beauty.

This girl who “swings so cool and sways so gently” first stepped out in public on August 1962, in a cramped Copacabana nightclub.

On stage together, for the first and only time, were the architects of bossa nova: Tom Jobim on piano and Joao Gilberto on guitar, with help from the poet Vinicius de Moraes, who gave “The Girl” her lyrics.

Bossa nova was still young then, somewhat of a novelty even in Rio. The name meant “new trend” or “new way,” and that’s what it was: a fresh, jazzy take on Brazil’s holiest tradition, the samba.

Heloisa Pinheiro, then 17 years old, known among her friends as Helo, split her days between home, school and the beach, a path that often took her by the bar where de Moraes and Jobim spent long hours nursing their drinks. Their eyes would follow Helo when she passed, entranced with her glowing skin and long dark hair.

Helo had no idea.

There were rumors from the guys at the bar, but she wouldn’t believe them. Finally, in 1965, Moraes offered the definitive proof, writing in a magazine that Helo was the beauty behind the song.“I was flattered, of course. But it left me wondering, do I really deserve all this?” she said.

“Back then, I never thought I’d get old,” she said. “But youth passes. We have to live each moment.”

Film director to lead raceway field

Director Ron Howard will have one of the best seats at this year’s Brickyard 400.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced Friday that the Oscar-winning director would lead the field before the July 29 race at the storied 2.5-mile track.

Howard calls driving the pace car a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The birthday bunch

Singer Kay Starr is 90. Movie director Norman Jewison is 86. Former Attorney General Janet Reno is 74. Comedian-actor Robin Williams is 61. Comedian Jon Lovitz is 55. Actor Josh Hartnett is 34.


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Kim Jong Un says Koreas are on starting line of a new history

UPDATED: 9:53 p.m.

With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly back into the north with him before they returned to the southern side.