By Cristina Álvarez Cañas. June 7, 2013


Following on from our first instalment, here we’ll be looking back at some of the other italo-disco hits in a journey that also covers the time leading up to this wonderful musical movement before the synthesisers, drum machines and vocoders arrived on the scene. So turn up the volume and take a walk down memory lane. Viva L’Italia!

‘Around my dream’ - Silver Pozzoli

Silver Pozzoli is one of the heavyweights in the genre’s one-hit-wonder category. He set the bar particularly high with this song recorded in 1984, which brought him to prominence throughout Europe. The sophisticated staging of the video ‘cantante-gigoló-echa-de-menos-a-su-chati’ has plenty of the dolce vita about it.

‘How old are you?’ - Miko Mission

Pier Michele Bozzetti, aka the pale-faced Miko Mission, did actually garner more hits in addition to the above –also of the 1984 vintage– particularly The World is You. You just have to wait until the chorus to recognise it (“Barcelona, yo tengo corrida en la plaza de toros”).

‘Fotonovela’ - Iván

The only Spanish-language entry on the list. Not because Spain was lagging behind the rest of Europe in musical terms, but because one of the characteristics of Italo disco was its international impact. And with this song, Iván even made waves in Latin America. Listening to it is like experiencing Proust’s episode of the madeleines in Remembrance of Things Past.

‘USSR’ - Eddy Huntington

In the last throes of the Cold War, a British man looking as smooth as a teddy bear sang a chorus that was similar to that of the famous song on the BeatlesWhite Album 18 years previously. This single, composed by Italians Roberto Turatti and Michele Chieregato together with Tom Hooker, was recorded in Milan and launched in 1986. It was Huntington’s sole hit before becoming a teacher.

‘Another life’ - Kano

A futuristic song if ever there was one. There’s a reason why the Italians founded their vanguard movement with Marinetti at the helm. Luciano Ninzatti, Stefano Pulga and Matteo Bonsanto created this band in 1979 without one iota of trans-alpine idiosyncrasy, but they gradually managed to cross the threshold from disco to synthesisers thanks to songs such as It’s a War (1979), I’m Ready (1981) or, rather more radically, the one we’re looking at here, Another Life (1983).

‘Ma quale idea’ - Pino D’angio

Used in 1990s advertising, the bold rap of Pino D’angio really did show off Italy. The Pompeii native burst onto the scene in the middle of 1981 with this catchy tune –not yet making use of the synth-pop mixer but rather following in the wake of the precursors of Italo disco. Its funky spirit served as a hinge between the two decades, accepting the baton from pioneering artists such as Easy Going, Tullio de Piscopo, Koxo and La Bionda, to whom we have dedicated the second half of this list.

‘One for you, one for me’ - La Bionda

Brothers Carmelo and Michelangelo La Bionda were the true fathers of the Italian disco sound. Their experimental nature led them to undertake other parallel projects –D.D. Sound and The Oceans– although it was as La Bionda that they recorded such hits as Bandido and I Wanna Be Your Lover in a key period between 1977 and 1980.

‘Stop bajon’ - Tullio de Piscopo

It may not be Miles Davis playing the trumpet, but a different kind of musical education –more orchestral and closer to jazz– can be heard in Tullio de Piscopo’s work. The extensive career of this Neapolitan drummer, who worked with Astor Piazzolla, Lucio Dalla and Mina, continued parallel to this incidental hit from 1983.

‘Fear’ - Easy Going

Easy Going, formed by Claudio Simonetti, Giancarlo Meo and Vivien Vee, retained a strong link to New York disco and their liberal high point (the cover of their single Baby I Love You featured a mosaic with homosexual connotations). In 1979, they recorded this frightening song which included real screams and ambulance sirens.

‘I feel love’ - Donna Summer / Giorgio Moroder

We'll finish where it all started –with the indisputable paradigm of visionary Italian composer and producer Giorgio Moroder, who turned Donna Summer into the queen of disco in the late 1970s. This musical padrino, an ambassador for Italian musical talent abroad, demonstrated his experimental skills with synthesisers and vocoders and in doing so left a mark that still endures today. In 2012, And he is back in the limelight now that Daft Punk has counted with his collaboration for their awaited new album Random Access Memories.

*You can also listen to our italo-disco selection on Spotify.

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