Astrud Gilberto, 'The Girl from Ipanema' singer, dies at 83 Tuesday, June 6, 2023 | Sacramento, CA Brazilian samba and bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto onstage in 1965.Evening Standard/Getty Images Elizabeth Blair | NPR The singer behind one of the most recorded songs in history has died. With her breathy vocals, Astrud Gilberto helped make the breezy and sensual "The Girl From Ipanema" into a global sensation. Her death was confirmed by her son, bassist Marcelo Gilberto. She was 83. Gilberto was married to famed Brazilian musician and singer João Gilberto. During a recording session for an album with Stan Getz, a publisher had the idea to add some English-language vocals to the tune, originally composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with Portuguese lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes. Astrud volunteered. The album, Getz/Gilberto, went on to win four Grammys. Though she wasn't credited, and reportedly only made $120 for the session, Gilberto followed up her vocal debut with an illustrious career, recording and performing solo and with others including Quincy Jones and Chet Baker. In 2008, the Latin Recording Academy honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Gilberto was said to have the best English in the room that day. Derisively, Getz took credit for her participation, and even cracked at the time that she was just a housewife who got a break. Though she wasn't credited for her vocal debut, and reportedly made only $120 for the session, she recorded her own solo version of the song soon after. And by her own admission, what came next was a surprise. "I had fun doing it, and I enjoy being a part of it," she explained in a 1978 interview with WHYY's Fresh Air. "But I have never envisioned it as becoming an important thing in my life, or the beginning of a career, or anything like it." "The Girl From Ipanema" catapulted both Gilberto and Brazil's bossa nova music onto the American music scene. Getz/Gilberto won four Grammys, including record of the year for its breakout song. After splitting with her husband, Gilberto embarked on a solo career, recording dozens of albums and collaborating with the likes of Quincy Jones and Chet Baker. In 2008, the Latin Recording Academy honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Guitarist Paul Ricci, a close friend, says Gilberto was a champion of the New York 1960s and '70s jazz scene. "Astrud was the first pop radio voice to sing in that soft, intimate, sensual fashion that engineered everything," he says. Her soulful sound would become a major influence on countless other artists, including Karen Carpenter and Sade. While Gilberto was a hit in the U.S., where she would eventually live, journalist and bossa nova historian Ruy Castro says the same wasn't true back home. "Brazil was cruel to her and didn't accept her success," he says, speaking through an interpreter. But she wisely never looked back, and made her life and career in the U.S." These days, Brazilians and tourists alike fondly remember her and her song. Perhaps especially so in the namesake Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, where on Tuesday, buskers could be heard performing it near the restaurant where songwriters Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes first wrote the tune for a particular teen they liked to watch walk by. There was a sadness in the air, of course. But as Gilberto herself used to say when talking about the song's initial success, people need romance, and something dreamy for distraction. Some 60 years later, that's still true.