Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

Music from a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

[music:] Lucio Dalla, Il giorno aveva cinque teste (1973)

with 12 comments

It’s amazing to see how fans of italian music from the sixties and the seventies seem to know everything about forgotten, obscure beat or prog acts, and keep posting their lost albums all around the blogosphere, while they totally disregard the work of one of our greatest musical geniuses, which stays up there with Franco Battiato and Lucio Battisti.

Lucio Dalla, born in Bologna in 1943, began as a clarinet player in jazz band, at the end of the fifties. In 1963, while playing in the backing band for the popstar Edoardo Vianello, he met Gino Paoli, who picked him up and helped him kicking off a solo career.

After some 7″, in 1966 he released his first album, 1999: a collection of beat-psych tracks, which also contained an italian version of James Brown’s It’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world, whose lyrics were written by Sergio Bardotti and Luigi Tenco.

His first real masterpiece came in 1970 with Terra di Gaibola (“Gaibola’s land”), but it’s with his participation in the following year’s Sanremo festival with 4/3/1943 –  he came third – that a mass audience noticed him. The song became almost immediately a standard (among many others, Chico Buarque recorded it as “Minha história” in his 1974 Construçao), and was then included in the interlocutory LP Storie di casa mia (“stories from home”, 1971).

And then came 1973. Lucio Dalla had recently begun to hang out at the bookshop in Bologna where Roberto Roversi, the owner and one of the most important italian poets of the past century, used to gather with his fellow writers Pier Paolo Pasolini, Francesco Leonetti, Franco Fortini. Dalla and Roversi decided to start writing together, infusing civil poetry into a yet unheard popular song form which encompassed pop, rythm’n’blues, progressive rock, jazz, folk, musique concréte, contemporary classic elements. The first output of this dreamy collaboration was Il giorno aveva cinque teste (“the day had five heads”).

Never had high and engaged culture managed to deal such effectively with pop music, not giving up profundity and its experimental attitude; never had pop music attempted to such extent to bring to light the very roots of power, rage, pain, spirit, love, joy, without losing its entertaining qualities. Try listen to “L’auto targata “TO”, “La bambina” or “La canzone d’Orlando”, and when you’ll feel that shiver down your back, you’ll get it. Obviously the lyrics are crucial here; anyway you’ll also find some examples of  Dalla’s legendary scat singing and “fake english”, namely in “Pezzo zero”.

Here is the tracklist:

01, L’auto targata “TO” (“the car tagged “TO”)
02, Alla fermata del tram (“at the tram stop”)
03, È lì (“it’s there”)
04, Passato, presente (“past, present”)
05, L’operaio Gerolamo (“working man Gerolamo”)
06, Il coyote (“the coyote”)
07, Grippaggio (“seizing”)
08, La bambina (l’inverno è neve, l’estate è sole) (“the baby girl (winter is snow, summer is sun)”)
09, Pezzo zero (“track zero”, also released as the b-side of a 7″ featuring “Anna bell’Anna” in 1974)
10, La canzone d’Orlando (“the song of Orlando”)

Get it: Lucio Dalla, Il giorno aveva cinque teste (1973)

After two other milestone releases such as Anidride solforosa (“sulphuric dioxide”, 1975) and Automobili (“cars”, 1976), Dalla and Roversi parted their ways. Lucio has been writing himself the lyrics to his songs since then, beginning with the incredible Come è profondo il mare (“how deep is the sea”, 1977), perhaps the most important record in the history of italian pop-rock.

He has released more than thirty albums to date, selling millions copies and achieving a worldwide success with songs such as Caruso, Ayrton, Canzone (“song”).

It would possibly take an entire blog to tell all the lives of Lucio Dalla – for instance, he has been a nominee for the best actor award in the 1967 Venice Film Festival for his role in I sovversivi, by the Taviani brothers, and has been experimenting with opera and film and tv scores. Pay a visit to his official website Pressing Line (in italian) to know more about his recent projects.

[edit: I have just noticed (via Martini & Jopparelli) that a song by Lucio Dalla, “Ulisse coperto di sale” (“Ulysses covered in salt”, from Anidride solforosa) has been recently sampled by the mighty Timbaland for his “Indian Carpet”. Read the whole story.]

Written by alteralter

December 6, 2008 at 4:36 pm

12 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. grande carella!!
    questo “sfinge” me lo voglio proprio gustare…
    l’lbum di dalla non lo conosco bene, meglio approfondire…
    Un caloroso saluto.
    ciao

    ellaguru

    December 7, 2008 at 3:14 am

  2. Ahoh yè nanà (2007)l’ho comprato l’anno scorso, non è malaccio, solo un pò datato nei suoni , forse. però la classe è restata.
    ps
    se hai pure “Barbara e altri carella” io sono sempre presente…

    ellaguru

    December 7, 2008 at 3:19 am

  3. ciao ellaguru, barbara e altri carella lo trovo leggermente inferiore agli altri due, comunque prima o poi arriverà. fammi sapere di dalla.

    a presto.

    alteralter

    December 7, 2008 at 1:43 pm

  4. […] the video here above you can enjoy an astonishing live performance by Lucio Dalla singing “Com’è profondo il mare” from his 1977 same-titled album. The pop […]

  5. Carella è un genio, è fondamentale…
    Tuttavia è ancora ampiamente dibattuta la questione su chi abbia saputo meglio interpretare le poetiche panelliane.
    Al di là di questo credo che “Vocazione” rimanga il capolavoro assoluto.

    Grande blog, grande musica, complimenti ancora per il tuo lavoro…

    british_rebel

    December 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm

  6. ciao ribelle, è quasi commovente veder discutere con tanta passione del genio misconosciuto di carella. io resto per sfinge, ma come ho già detto trovo vocazione uno splendido album.

    grazie per le parole di apprezzamento, spero di ritrovarti presto su queste pagine.

    alteralter

    December 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm

  7. Certamente, ti seguo da quando postasti “Rapsodia Meccanica” di Currà.
    Ero un semplice spettatore silente; quando poi la discussione ha toccato temi che mi interessano nello specifico, sono intervenuto.
    Il lavoro di “riesumazione” di certe perle di cantautorato italiano è veramente encomiabile!

    british_rebel

    December 12, 2008 at 7:06 pm

  8. grazie ancora, sono parole davvero incoraggianti. il mio tentativo comunque è andare anche oltre la semplice riesumazione e il “cantatutorato”, ma offrire schegge di una cultura e di una società che l’italia presente ha frettolosamente rimosso. senza troppa nostalgia, però, eh!

    alteralter

    December 13, 2008 at 7:10 pm

  9. Really nice one…

    Edgar Olivier Charles

    March 7, 2009 at 11:43 pm

  10. hello edgar! isn’t it great, uh? dalla should get much more attention…

    alteralter

    March 8, 2009 at 11:09 am

  11. […] entire singer/songwriters movement – even if the result was much closer to the R.I.O. scene or Dalla/Roversi’ work than to Guccini, Paolo Pietrangeli or Ivan Della […]

  12. Avresti voglia di riproporlo? Ovviamente sarò felice di ricambiare…

    Luca

    April 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: