FRANCO FABBRI and GOFFREDO PLASTINO
1. Gianni Meccia, “Il barattolo”
From: “Il barattolo” / “Quanta paura”. RCA Camden CP 71, 1960, 45 rpm.
Gianni Meccia: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «Meccia was singing about a man who was kicking a can that rolled and rolled, at RCA they were completely broke, we had four or five instruments and that’s it, so went up to them and said: “We’ll put the sound of a rolling can here”. I had RCA build a platform with some nails on it, we took a can and made it roll on it and nothing came out, nothing! So we had another one made with stones and made a can roll on it and nothing, the days were going by and we weren’t getting anything. So finally I picked up the can and I threw it on the cement floor and clang-clang! just like a sound-effects man».
According to the original record cover, however, Morricone included in the score two parts for a “can player”.
2. Miranda Martino, “E spingule francese”
From: Napoli vol. 2. RCA FL30050, 1964, 33⅓ rpm.
Miranda Martino: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «I arranged two albums of Neapolitan songs interpreted by Miranda Martino. They moved very well and sold twenty thousand copies, which was huge at the time, but they were also criticized by Neapolitans, because I had stepped away from tradition. She sung in a traditional way, but the accompaniment was quite different. For example, “’E spingule francese” had a sinfonietta arrangement that could’ve been written by Cimarosa. You see, we are talking about an arrangement made for an album, I would never have dreamed of writing an arrangement like that for a single because we wouldn’t have sold a copy».
3. Paul Anka, “Ogni volta”
From: “Ogni volta” / “Resta con me”. RCA Victor 45N 1395, 1964, 45 rpm.
Paul Anka: voice; I Cantori Moderni: backing vocals; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «Well, RCA’s artistic direction always gave more importance to the rhythmic aspect of the arrangement, which in my view was not as important… and so under pressure in this direction by RCA’s artistic management I did, also out of anger, the arrangement for “Ogni volta” sung by Paul Anka, which sold a million and a half copies. “Oh, so you want a rhythm section?” I put in five percussion instruments on top of the drums, and so don! tum! Everybody was there beating on something. But there was this great little introduction, just five seconds of introduction, and then he started singing».
4. Riccardo Cocciante, “Quando finisce un’amore”
From: Anima. RCA TPL 1-1060, 1974, 33⅓ rpm.
Riccardo Cocciante: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «For instance, I did Riccardo Cocciante’s third record… actually just half of it, it was an album and I couldn’t write it all. I was a bit cross because the artistic director had a stack of American records on his desk, and one day he played them for me. All of them went boom! boom! boom! It was just around that time that the producers at RCA began to have a say in the arrangement. They would say “the bass drum, you don’t want it there” and “the bass drum has to go pro pro pro prom”… many of the things suggested by the producer I wouldn’t have put in, but I did, I wrote them down for him, I didn’t care».
5. Gino Paoli, “Che cosa c’è”
From: “Che cosa c’è” / “Sarà così” RCA PM 3234, 1963, 45 rpm.
Gino Paoli: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «Gino Paoli was always happy with my arrangements. We did the arrangement for the first performance of “Che cosa c’è”, but he was not yet at RCA when he recorded “Il cielo in una stanza”…»
6. Gino Paoli, “Il cielo in una stanza”
From: Le canzoni di Gino Paoli. RCA NL 33026, 1976, 33⅓ rpm.
Gino Paoli: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Gino Paoli recorded “Il cielo in una stanza” (with an arrangement by Gian Piero Reverberi) in 1960: “Il cielo in una stanza” / “Però ti voglio bene” (“The Sky in a Room” / “But I Love You”), Ricordi SRL 10116, 1960, 45 rpm (see Tomatis for this version). The version arranged by Morricone (probably in 1963, when Paoli left Ricordi and signed for RCA) was first released in Le canzoni di Gino Paoli. The original 1960 version (Reverberi) has not been available for decades, and is currently included only in “specialist” releases, while the RCA (Morricone) version became the standard in most of Paoli’s compilations.
7. Renzo Zenobi, “E ancora le dirai ti voglio bene”
From: Bandierine. RCA PL 31401, 1978, 33⅓ rpm.
Renzo Zenobi: voice; I Cantori Moderni: backing vocals; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «RCA artistic director Ennio Melis asked me to work for Renzo Zenobi. On that occasion I came up with a different way of writing… for the same song I wrote several arrangements, with a very elaborate score, and during the mixing I switched from one to the other, the arrangements faded into each other… it was a new way to do the arrangement for an album, that’s for sure! Ennio Melis told me “this one’s got to sell”. The record was called Bandierine and I made a huge effort, not so much to write it… if the invention comes it comes, it doesn’t require much effort, the effort comes when you go inside the recording studio and you have to carry it all through. The record cost Ennio Melis a lot of money, as Melis really believed in this singer, but the record didn’t do well at all».
8. Gino Paoli, “Sapore di sale”
From: “Sapore di sale” / “La nostra casa”. RCA PM 3204, 1963, 45 rpm.
Gino Paoli: voice; Gato Barbieri: tenor saxophone; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «“Sapore di Sale”… well we knew, I knew, at any rate people used to say that singles were sold after the first seven or eight seconds they were played… people would stand there and listen for fifteen seconds and decide whether or not to buy it. In the case of “Sapore di Sale,” I wrote this very particular thing… [He sits at the piano, plays the intro to the song and continues into the first section of the chorus, highlighting a fast response of the right hand, with fast octave leaps, and a slower one in which the piano repeats some notes of the voice’s melody, as though it were a leitmotiv]. A Wagnerian thing… Gato Barbieri was in Italy at the time and he played the sax solo… I didn’t know he was in Italy and they told me “Why don’t you have him do the solo…”. I’d written it for tenor sax, which the public seemed to like very much, and they told me “Look, Gato Barbieri is in town, call him”… and so Gato Barbieri gave this beautiful performance».
9. Edoardo Vianello, “Abbronzatissima”
From: “Abbronzatissima” / “Il cicerone”. RCA PM 3200, 1963, 45 rpm.
Edoardo Vianello: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «“Abbronzatissima” was based on Vianello’s idea… for whom I had to write a song, called “Ornella” … “Ornella” began with an octave jump, and Vianello then repeated this octave jump in “Abbronzatissima”, we both realized only afterwards. So this mark of Edoardo’s emerged from an older idea… It was not difficult to do. I also remembered that American arranger who used to combine horns with voices… Ray Conniff! So I wrote the introduction with this system, I put the brass instruments and the voices together, the men with trombones and the women with trumpets… my first and last experience of this kind…»·
10. Jimmy Fontana, “Il mondo”
From: “Il mondo” / “Allora sì”. RCA PM 3316, 1965, 45 rpm.
Jimmy Fontana: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
Ennio Morricone: «I do recall that for “Il mondo” I conducted an important experiment… yes, there were two things. First, I accompanied the piece with a sort of wave… a two-tone wave, I don’t know, perhaps in that moment that’s the impression I got from the song… of a dynamic immobility. And secondly I had this idea of calculating the right speed… I actually did the math… recording the first part faster and a major third or minor third, I can’t remember, above, and then lowering it by the same minor third and connecting it with the one played live. So the part that was lowered was actually recorded higher and became darker… When the normal recorded part came in, there was a switch in sound… there was an added color that gave an important impulse to the song».
11. Mina, “Se telefonando”
From: “Se telefonando” / “No”. Ri-Fi RFN NP 16152, 1966, 45 rpm.
Mina: voice; Ennio Morricone: arrangement.
How did Mina’s “Se telefonando” come about?
Ennio Morricone: «RAI called me to write the theme for a radio program, I believe it was Aria condizionata. So RAI called me and Mina had to sing this song… She sang well, even if on that day she was sick, she sang beautifully nonetheless, because she was extraordinary. We went into the studio, she sang it three or four times, always impeccably…».