Recently in a Roman court, a lawyer who has written books on the death of singer Rino Gaetano formally requested the courts re-open an investigation into the death of the singer-songwriter who died in a car accident on June 2, 1981 at age 30. Gaetano suffered serious head injuries during the crash and hospitals in the area were unwilling to treat him due to lack of space and unavailable specialists.
Gaetano is best known for hits “Ma il cielo è sempre più blu” and “Gianna.” Shortly before his passing, Gaetano took part in a concert series titled Qconcert with Riccardo Cocciante where he had performed a cover of a Cocciante single from 1978, “A Mano a Mano.” In the song, the singer attempts to convince an ex-love to return to him – italian and translated lyrics here.
Although “A mano a mano” never charted, Gaetano’s tender grit quietly made the song a favorite of many in Italy and its popularity has increased immensely in the past few years. It has become a staple in music reality shows, was featured in the soundtrack and trailer for the 2014 film “Allacciate le cinture,” and was part of the deluxe edition of Andrea Bocelli’s 2013 “Passione” album, cementing the single as an Italian pop classic to international audiences.
Below are the original and Bocelli versions of the ballad:
The Library of Congress is set to honor the disco era with a series of events from April 12 to May 6 with the highlight being a performance from Gloria Gaynor, popular worldwide due to her disco anthem “I Will Survive. ” The celebration honors the impact of disco on American culture but fair to say its impact was felt in Italy as well where disco took over mainstream pop in the mid-70s.
Marcella Bella was credited with the first Italian disco hit with “Nessuno Mai” and later she even recorded a disco version of “Resta Cu’mme”. Lucio Battisti incorporated the disco sound in his latest releases and Italian disco music from Raffaella Carrà and Umberto Tozzi even became world-wide hits. A favorite of that era and one that still enjoys great popularity today in Italy, with two recent films inspired by its lyrics, is “Se mi lasci non vale” from Latin crooner Julio Iglesias. The hit, written by singer-songwriter Luciano Rossi and actually released and recorded first by Rossi, was also done in Spanish by Iglesias and later released in English by Canadian Patrick Norman (“Let’s Try Once Again”).
Fifty years ago this month, the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” was at the top of the Billboard charts and the trio were becoming international stars. To help spread the music of Motown across the globe, founder Berry Gordy had his biggest stars re-record their music in different languages and Italian seems to have been the most popular. Here’s an old NPR segment on the topic and samples of “L’Amore Verra / You Can’t Hurry Love” and Stevie Wonder’s “Il sole è di Tutti / A Place In The Sun” from Italian TV.