My father has a great little collection of 45rpm records. Much to his dismay I spent many years playing them to death on my Fisher-Price record player, but luckily most survived my early audiophile days.
I think it speaks volumes that my favourite of the bunch was a cover of La poupée qui fait non by Les Sultans. (They’re an amazing Québecois garage rock band from the 1960s, by the way. Maybe that could be another post…)
Anyway, back in 1994 the MP3 codec started getting popular, the web got big, and I was learning how to digitize and edit audio. The 45 collection became my guinea pig. These were the days before powerful home computers and sophisticated, easily available audio filters. I laboured over waveforms, trying to clean-up some of the more damaged 45s in my father’s collection.
The product? I present one of my first MP3s: a crude, home-cleaned version of a badly damaged 45 of The Who’s Can’t Explain.
So what does any of this have to do with Italy?
While searching for some Italian music for another post I stumbled upon Gli Uragani’s cover of Can’t Explain. The lyrics don’t have much to do with the original, but the melody is unmistakable.
I dug a little deeper and found myself in the hilarious and apparently very popular world of cult Italian 1960s American pop music. Today we’ll hear a small sample of covers from the almost 700 tracks that I found with the help of Annie, Louise and a few bottles of red wine from Le salon des vignerons indépendents.
Oh yes, music fans, put in your earplugs. It’s time for such amazing tunes as “Like a stone that is rolling” by Gianni Pettenati & The Juniors.
Now before you dismiss this musical movement it’s worth noting that many of these groups were very popular and some continue to be megastars in Italy. Guys like Bobby Solo, who I’ll save for tomorrow because he’s the greatest, and Fausto Leali, who you’ll hear today, have been playing San Remo since the early 60s right up until 2008.
Welcome to the wonderful world of 1960s Roma. Further proof that Italians are Europe’s musical powerhouse!
P.S. Sorry for any typos. I’m typing this with one hand because I broke two bones in my right hand on Friday. Ouch.
P.P.S. In a way this brings Benn loxo full circle; this blog started out with American-influenced pop-rock from Nigeria in the 1960s and 70s.
The Who – Can’t Explain
Gli Uragani – Con quella voce
Caterina Caselli – Paint It Black
Caterina Caselli – Sono Bugiarda
Davide e Sara – Facciamo lamore non la guerra
Equipe 84 – Bang Bang
I Corvi – Bang Bang
Fausto Leali – Lei ti ama
The Little Boys – Lei t’ama
Gianni Pettenati & The Juniors – Come una pietra che rotola
I Barritas – Rhonda, aiuto
I Jaguars – Barbara Ann
I Dik Dik – Senza Luce
I Dik Dik – Sognando la California
Jimmy Fontana – Per Vivere Insieme
The Ravers – Tanto carina
And before you go thinking this trend is over,1960s, italy, rock