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

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[music:] Fanigliulo, Io e me (1979)

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A lifetime-long heartache. A heartquake. The son of a sailor, and sailor himself, who has to give up life on the sea because of a rheumatic disease and ends up as a farmer and breeder in Liguria’s countryside. The kid with the guitar recruited by Caterina Caselli for her label Ascolto together with Pierangelo Bertoli, Faust’o, Pepe Maina, Mauro Pagani, post-Cramps Area. The liscio singer from Romeo e Los Gringos in Giuseppe Bertolucci’s movie Berlinguer ti voglio bene (1977) which announces from the stage to a young Roberto Benigni the death of his mother. The jester which forecasts his own death by cerebral hemorrhage ten years in advance in his most successful song, while people clap hands and smile.

Franco Fanigliulo’s first album, Mi ero scordato di me (“i had forgotten about myself”, 1977) introduced the audience to this outsider’s peculiar theatrical approach to pop songs, which mixed mid-seventies cantautori style with french chansonniers and early nineteenth-century italian cabaret; but it’s with his acclaimed participation in 1979 Sanremo festival with the apparently funny “A me mi piace vivere alla grande” (written with Oscar Avogadro, Daniele Pace and Riccardo Borghetti), which he suddenly appeared bound for success.

Shortly afterwards, Io e me (“i and me”), produced by the great Gian Piero Reverberi (arranger and producer for Fabrizio De Andrè, New Trolls, Le Orme, Lucio Battisti, Mina, Lucio Dalla, Patty Pravo, and founder of Rondò Veneziano) was released. A masterpiece which overturned the same concept of “cantautore”, hurling it into the upcoming decade, and places Fanigliulo among other terminal heroes such as Mauro Pelosi, Faust’o, Flavio Giurato. The hit single (which however remains a great take on his cabaret side) was literally buried with songs such as “Non si sa mai”, “Buffone”, “Il chirurgo”, “Con te” and, above all, the harrowing “Marco e Giuditta” about a couple of old lovers, which accomplish the dirty job that Jacques Brel had only started with “La chanson des vieux amants”.

Here is the tracklist:

01, L’artista (“the artist”)
02, A me mi piace vivere alla grande (“me like living it big time”, also released as a 7″ b/w “Non si sa mai”)
03, Il guerriero (“the warrior”)
04, Marco e Giuditta (“Marco and Giuditta”)
05, Buffone (“bufoon”)
06, Con te (“with you”)
07, Il chirurgo (“the surgeon”)
08, Non si sa mai (“one never knows”)
09, La Giovanna

Get it: Fanigliulo, Io e me (1979)

Unfortunately, the record did not manage to chart, and “A me mi piace vivere alla grande” itself did not go further than the 42nd place. As a result, after another unsuccessful album in 1980, Ratatam pum pum (featuring Mauro Pagani, Walter Calloni, Loredana Bertè), and a 7″ in 1982 (“La liberté”), Ascolto discharged him. Fanigliulo came back to his coutrylife, from where he briefly emerged in 1983 with a Q-disc (a four-tracks EP) called Benvenuti nella musica (“welcome to music”) released by Battisti’s Numero Uno.

It’s his friendship with Zucchero (Fanigliulo is credited in the latter’s 1987 bestseller Blue’s for his contribution to music and lyrics) and especially with Vasco Rossi, the most successful italian rockstar, which drew him back to the music business. Actually he released a couple of singles in 1987 and 1988 through Bollicine, Rossi’s label, and was working on his comeback album, with Steve Rogers Band as a backing band, when, on January 1989, at the age of 44, he was hit by a stroke and died after a couple of days at the hospital’s intensive care unit. Just like he sang in “A me mi piace vivere alla grande”: “Ho un nano nel cervello, un ictus cerebrale” (“I’ve got a dwarf in my brain, a cerebral ictus”).

The songs he left unfinished were released in 1990 as a posthumous album titled Goodbye mai (“arrivederci never”). You can pay tribute to Franco Fanigliulo visiting the site L’artista Franco Fanigliulo (in italian), stuffed with info, pictures, songs preview, interviews, etc.


[music:] Faust’o, Poco zucchero (1979)

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It’s hard to explain to a worldwide audience the importance of mr. Fausto Rossi (aka Faust’o) for italian pop music. Possibly the simplest way to introduce him is saying that, even if practically unknown to a greater public, as often told for the Velvet Underground almost everyone who bought his albums later formed a band. Generations of musicians and songwriters have been inspired and influenced by his work, from Garbo to Bluvertigo and beyond.

Faust’o debuted in 1978 as one of the young artists signed by Caterina Caselli for her label Ascolto, a CGD subsidiary. Caselli had been one of the most succesful female pop singer in the sixties (if you know Nanni Moretti’s movies you will sure remember the scene in the car in his Palme d’Or winning La stanza del figlioThe Son’s Room – in which the whole family sings together one of Caselli’s biggest hits, “Insieme a te non ci sto più”). In the seventies, she had started a new career as an A&R at CGD, and obtained to manage a sublabel of her own to release records by her friend Pierangelo Bertoli (a talented singer/songwriter) and to scout new artists from the alternative scene, helped by a small group of trusted people, like the songwriter Oscar Avogadro. They came up recruiting, among others, this 23 years old worringly skinny guy born in Sacile, Friuli, but living and working in Milan, named Fausto Rossi.

He teamed up with Avogadro, as a producer, and former Formula 3 guitarist Alberto Radius to record his first full-length effort, Suicidio (“suicide”, 1978): a stylized glam-wave manifesto which mainly stroke its listeners with its angry, explicit yet poetic lyrics, and gained him the definition of “italian David Bowie” – even if he disowned the album saying that it had suffered too much from label’s pressure.

Coming back to the studio, he was actually claiming more control on the recording process and the artistic choices, and was allowed to produce himself the new songs, helped again by Avogadro and Radius. The result, Poco zucchero (“a little sugar”, 1979), stands as a cornerstone for the then-rising italian new wave scene.

The cold wave/art glam/minimal funk takes driven by Faust’o synths and Radius’ nervous guitar lines served perfectly as a canvas for his tales of urban, contemporary spleen, love, hate, discomfort and discontent as in “Kleenex”, “Il lungo addio” or the magnificent “Funerale a Praga” (which has been sampled by Baustelle in the opening track for their major debut La malavita, released in 2005). His sharp, theatrical voice sounded more original than ever, and became a landmark for italian rock singers in the eighties. In a word, this album was seminal. The definitive anti-cantautore – and the best interpreter of the post-engagement era – was officially invested.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Vincent Price
02, Cosa rimane (“what’s left”)
03, Attori malinconici (“melancholic actors”)
04, Oh! Oh! Oh! (also released as a 7″ b/w “Vincent Price”)
05, In tua assenza (“when you’re away”)
06, Kleenex
07, Il lungo addio (“the long goodbye”)
08, Funerale a Praga (“funeral in Prague”)

Get it: Faust’o, Poco zucchero (1979)
[edit April 8th, 2009: download link has been removed as requested by
Go visit the website for further info about Fausto Rossi’s new album, Becoming visible, and to listen to his previous records.]

Faust’o has released four other great LPs under his stage name until 1985. Since 1992 he has been recording and performing as Fausto Rossi releasing four albums, the last being Becoming visible (2009), and produced Lungo i bordi (“along the borders”) by Massimo volume in 1995.

Find more info, pics and stuff at Fausto Rossi’s official site (in italian).

Written by alteralter

June 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm