Been listening to an Astrud Gilberto compilation (of doubtful provenance) that dubs itself 'The Pop Collection', to distinguish its content from the bossa nova stuff that made her name. I think I actually prefer her versions of 60's pop hits like 'Call Me', 'Light My Fire' and 'In My Life' to the more obvious tracks she made with Stan Getz, not least because they haven't quite been hammered into tedious familiarity as background music for every second-rate hotel restaurant from Manila to Montreal.
Another reason may be that her bossa tracks were released on Verve, which automatically labels them as J*A*Z*Z. Gilberto was never a jazz singer as such, and the implicit comparison with, say, Ella Fitzgerald, is farcical. Her sweet, shy, flawed voice stands better comparison with the likes of Jane Birkin, Nancy Sinatra and Marianne Faithfull, dollybirds who fell into singing by mistake, and carried it off through a victory of style, charisma and chutzpah over any notion of technical ability. If you don't know the story, her appearance on 'The Girl From Ipanema' was a pure fluke. Her husband Joao couldn't cope with the English lyrics, so the producer asked her to have ago, although she'd never sung in public before. Because of her amateurishness and lack of anything that might be regarded as technique, when Astrud sings a pop hit like 'Light My Fire', it works; when fine singers like Fitzgerald or Peggy Lee attempt to go pop, it can feel faintly embarrassing, akin to Dame Margot Fonteyn dancing round her handbag to 'I Will Survive'.
But it could all be down to context. Here's a slightly different version of 'Girl From Ipanema', again with Getz, but with any notion of beatnik cool ruthlessly expunged, to create kitsch pop of the highest order. It's from a film called Get Yourself a College Girl, which looks absolutely sublime, in a slightly dreadful way. I particularly like Getz's natty cardigan, the exceptional beehives in the audience, and the cut back to Gilberto after Stan's solo (around 01:52). "What? Me? Sorry, I was miles away."
PS: More groovy footage of young persons have a frugtastic time, from the same movie.