Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008 - Anno Domenico: Shake Your Booty To Volare

Volare, basically has had three lives. Three times in the past 50 years the song was covered very successfully and confused a new generation into thinking it was the original. And still.., Volare? isn't that that the Gipsy Kings song?
The Gipsy Kings version from 1989 is the third time Volare was a worldwide success spawning many soundalikes and of course the first life was in the late 50's and early 60's.

Al Martino
The second time Volare became an (almost*) worldwide hit was in 1975 when Al Martino swept the charts with his polished disco version that was appropriate both in the disco as well as on your aunts 25th wedding anniversary hoedown.
A lite mix of the popular Philadelphia sound (Three degrees, Lou Rawls, MFSB etcetera) with the crooning qualities of an established 50's / 60's star was just bound to work.

Al Martino's version was the start of an avalanche of disco versions which popped up until the 70s were over. Every party band played the new version and it gave Modugno's its second life.
Even orchestra's that had recorded the song the first time around rode along on the Al Martino wave (George Jouvin, Caravelli).

Al Martino was born in Philadelphia 80 years ago. His breakthrough hit was Here In My Heart in 1952. And the story goes that he recorded the song because Mario Lanza, who it was planned for, was too busy. It was a U.S. & U.K. # 1. In fact it was the first #1 hit in the U.K.'s recorded chart history: 9 wks #1 in the NME top 12.
Many hits followed: Take My Heart, Now, Wanted were his biggest hits in the 50's, when he was more popular in the U.K.. The 60's were the US decade with hits like I Love You Because and I Love You More And More Everyday. 14 years after Here In My Heart he recorded Spanish Eyes, another global hit (in 1966, 1970 and 1973).
Volare, recorded in 1975, *failed to chart in the U.K. but was a huge smash in Europe, including a #24 in Italy and a #2 in Belgium.

Read more about Al Martino at his homepage. Or check the usual sources for his compilation cds. (Or just pick up some of his old vinyls at the record fair, you won't regret it)
Al Martino also recorded Love Is Blue, The other Eurovision winner that lost (or loser that won). It was a single and a minor hit in 1968.

Here's a long version of Martino's Volare from a 1976 12"inch (EMI). The L.P.O (Larry Page Orchestra) version is from 1974 and is one of the first disco efforts the and Bebu Silvetti (1978) track is one of many disco versions that were released in the second half of the 70s. Corny, but you'll love it.

2008: Anno Domenico will feature 50 years of coverversions of Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare).
With this link you'll get all the Eurocovers Posts that have featured the song so far.

BLOG TIPS:Loronix, recommended blog for Music From Brasil, features various LPs with Modugno Eurocovers, all with wonderful picture sleeves:
Volare: Guimaraes e seu Conjunto
Piove (Ciao Ciao Bambina, Modugno's 1959 entry) by Zé Maria , and more LP's with Piove by Simonetti & Orchestra RGE and Orchestra Pan American
Dio Come Ti Amo by Lyrio Panicali .
Blow Up Doll featured Françoise Hardy (Eurovision 1963, Monaco) last week in Françoise Hardy Week. This week they feature Jane Birkin in Jane Birkin week. Check out or miss out!
Update: and now it's France Gall week, can it get any better?

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