1. Carla Boni, “Casetta in Canadà”
From: Carla Boni, “Casetta in Canadà” / Gino Latilla & Duo Fasano, “Filo di speranza”. Cetra SP 25, 1957, 7″, 45 RPM; Cetra AC 3187, 1957, 10”, 78 rpm.
Orchestra conducted by Cinico Angelini.
Carla Boni (real name: Carla Gaiano, 1925-2009) began singing in 1951 and gained success almost immediately. She sang the winning songs at the Sanremo Festival in 1953 and at the Naples Festival in 1955, establishing herself as one of the leading singers of the 1950s. In 1957, at the height of her fame, she performed with Gino Latilla & Duo Fasano “Casetta in Canadà,” a song composed by Mario Panzeri (lyrics) and Vittorio Mascheroni (music). The song ranked at fourth place in the final chart and is today known all over the world. Both the performance and the recording was conducted by Cinico Angelini, but the recording was credited to Carla Boni alone.
2. Tony Dallara, “Romantica”
From: “Romantica” / “Non sei felice”. Music 2306, 1960, 7”, 45 rpm.
Orchestra conducted by Ezio Leoni.
“Romantica” was composed by Dino Verde (lyrics) and Renato Rascel (music), and sung by Renato Rascel himself and Tony Dallara. In 1960, after several singles, Tony Dallara (Antonio Lardera 1936–) was the king of “shouters” – name that was used for an entire new generation of young Italian singers. Not surprisingly, it was his fast and lively version (conducted by Cinico Angelini at the Festival and by Ezio Leoni in the recording) that succeeded in entering the Italian chart. Nevertheless, it was the slower and sophisticated Rascel’s version (see below) that was chosen for representing Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest. In this way, the song became an international hit, sung in Italian and translated in various languages.
3. Jula De Palma, “Tua”
From: “Tua” / “Nessuno”. Columbia Italy SEMQ-1179, 1959, 7”, 45 rpm; Italdisc MH 23, 1959, 7”, 45 rpm.
Orchestra conducted by Pino Calvi.
Written by Bruno Pallesi (lyrics) and Walter Malgoni (music), “Tua” was a jazz ballad which reached the forth position at the Sanremo final chart. The song is associated with the famous Jula de Palma’s “sexy performance” at the Sanremo Festival, which was conducted by Gianni Ferrio. Jula (Iolanda) de Palma (1932–) started her career in 1950. She had sung at Sanremo several times, but in 1959 she shocked the Sanremo public and the entire TV audience with a performance that was strongly criticised because of its supposed sensual and even erotic overtones.
4. Domenico Modugno, “Nel blu dipinto di blu”
From: “Nel blu dipinto di blu” / “Vecchio frack”. Fonit SP 30222, 1958, 7”, 45 rpm.
Orchestra Sestetto Azzurro conducted by Alberto Semprini.
Popularly known as “Volare,” “Nel blu dipinto di blu” is probably the most famous Italian canzone. Performed by Domenico Modugno (1928-94), it was written by Modugno himself with the collaboration of Franco Migliacci for the lyrics. The song won the Sanremo Festival and represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest. At Sanremo, the second version of the song was performed by a young crooner at his debut, Johnny Dorelli (Giorgio Guidi), but he didn’t have a significant impact on the public.
Footage from the festival with shots of both Modugno and Dorelli versions.
5. Nilla Pizzi, “Grazie dei fiori”
From: “Grazie Dei Fiori” / Duo Fasano, “Sorrentinella”. Cetra DC 5262, 1951, 10”, 78 rpm.
Orchestra conducted by Cinico Angelini.
Nilla Pizzi (Adionilla Negrini Pizzi, 1919-2011) began her career in the 1940s and during the 1950s she was the most celebrated singer in Italy. She sang the winning songs of the first two editions of the Sanremo Festival: “Grazie dei fiori” in 1951 and “Vola colomba” in 1952. The first one, “Grazie dei fiori,” was composed by Mario Panzeri and Gian Carlo Testoni (lyrics) and Saverio Seracini (music). Cinico Angelini conducted both at the Festival and in the recording.
6. Nilla Pizzi, “Papaveri e papere”
From: “Vola colomba” / “Papaveri e papere”. Cetra DC 5465, 1952, 10”, 78 rpm.
Orchestra conducted by Cinico Angelini. Donald Duck mimic: Mario Bosi.
Discogs (1958 reissue, Cetra SP 172)
Performed by Nilla Pizzi (see above) with the orchestra conducted by Cinico Angelini, and written by Mario Panzeri and Giuseppe Rastelli with music by Vittorio Mascheroni, “Papaveri e papere” ranked second in the Festival chart. This song is another Italian canzone which gained an international success. It has been translated in several languages too. The first one was an English version published in 1953 with the title of “Poppa piccolino.” In fact, in the translated versions the lyrics usually lose their original meaning.
7. Franca Raimondi, “Aprite le finestre”
From: “Aprite le finestre” / “Lucia e Tobia”. Fonit 15245, 1956, 10”, 78 rpm.
Orchestra conducted by Eros Sciorilli.
Winner song of the 1956 editions of the Sanremo Festival, “Aprite le finestre” was performed by a young singer at her debut, Franca Raimondi (1932-1988), with the orchestra conducted by Gian Stellari. The lyrics was written by Pinchi (real name: Giuseppe Periotti) and the music was composed by Virgilio Panzuti. In the same year, Franca Raimondi sang “Aprite le finestre” at the Eurovision Song Contest.
8. Renato Rascel, “Romantica”
From: (1) “Romantica” / “Dimmelo con un fiore”. RCA Italiana 45N-1013, 1960, 7”, 45rpm; (2) “Romantica” (uncut version). RCA Italiana EPA 30-356, 1960, 7”, EP, 45rpm.
Orchestra conducted by Marcello de Martino (uncut version)
Discogs (uncut version)
This slow and powerful version of “Romantica” (for details about this song, see above) was conducted by Marcello de Martino and performed by the author himself, the famous actor and singer Renato Rascel (Renato Ranucci, 1912-1991). It was published in two versions: the single presents a short version without the introductory verse, while in an EP published later it’s possible to listen to the entire song. It’s worth noting that Rascel’s version was conducted by Ezio Leoni in the record and by Cinico Angelini at the Eurovision Song Contest (see above).
Footage from the festival with both Dallara and Rascel versions.