Sunday, July 08, 2007

10.000: # 5 - Al di là - Betty Curtis (1961)

Al di là is another Italian evergreen in the top 10 of most covered Eurovision songs that started life as a San Remo winner to be ignored at the Eurovision Song Contest. 12 points and a measly 5th place for Betty Curtis in Cannes.

# 5
- Al di là
- Betty Curtis
- 268 versions listed

At the San Remo festival the song by Mogol (Giulio Rapetti) and Carlo Donida was also performed by Luciano Tajoli.
After 4 failures with a male singer from 1957 to 1960 Betty Curtis was chosen to try and wow the European juries.

Rome Adventure
But it was Emilio Pericoli who had the worldwide hit with the song when he recorded a new version in 1962 for the Rome Adventure, a hit movie with Troy Donahue and the ever gorgeous Angie Dickinson. Pericoli's single was a # 6 hit in the US charts. In 1964 a version by the Ray Charles Singers reached the US Cashbox top 100 again, peaking at # 32.

You can't say Al Di Là without thinking of Connie Francis. The American superstar's version is the finest of all the covers and even though it originally was only a b-side and a meagre # 87 hit in the US, it remains a Connie Francis live favorite until today.
She recorded many Eurovision songs in several languages including Volare, Ciao Ciao Bambina and even A Ba Ni Bi. More Connie Francis in a future Eurocovers post.

Other famous artists that recorded the song are Mario Lanza, Dean Martin, Al Martino, Xavier Cugat, Skeeter Davis, Bobby Rydell and every other Italian legend like Mina, Milva, Lucio Dalla, Nilla Pizzi and Flo Sandon's.

Many Eurovision stars have Al Di Là in their collection: first Eurovision winner Lys Assia, Dario Campeotto, Vice Vukov, Sandra Reemer, Laila Kinnunen and Claudio Villa. There are versions in 14 languages listed.

Sandra Reemer, the singer who represented the Netherlands at Eurovision on three occasions (74, 76 & 79) recorded Al Di Là when she was 11 years old. She recorded it in both Dutch (Al di la - Net als wij) and in Indonesian: Adillah tjiptjaän duniaku.

All details on versions and releases can be found in yet another Eurocovers word.doc list which you can find here.

A new Dutch version is another one of my favorites: Zeg waarom (Tell me why) by René Riva.
René Riva is a singer in the Amsterdam / Jordaan style and for those in the know: I think he's the only true successor to Willy Alberti and I don't understand why he isn't world famous in the lowlands yet. Zeg waarom is from his CD René Riva from 2005.

Last up is the English/Italian version by Toni Arden, a singer loved by Frank Sinatra, and rightfully so (but she has a lovely voice too).

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