08. You Can Call Them, If You Like, Emotions: The (Un)Orthodox Songs of Lucio Battisti

JACOPO CONTI


 

 1. Lucio Battisti & Mina, “Medley”

Live performance from the tv show Teatro 10, April 1972.

 

Lucio Battisti: voice; Gianni Dall’Aglio: drums; Eugenio Guarraia: electric guitar; Gabriele Lorenzi: Hammond organ; Massimo Luca: acoustic guitar; Mina: voice; Angel Salvador: bass.

 

 

The only appearance of Battisti and Mina – two of the greatest pop stars ever in Italy, in their most successful years – singing together; Teatro 10 was an extremely successful Saturday evening TV show (but this one was aired on Sunday) hosted by Mina. This is remembered as one of the most exciting moments for Italian popular music on TV. The medley includes: “Insieme” /“ Mi ritorni in mente” / “Il tempo di morire” / “E penso a te” / “Io e te da soli” / “Eppur mi son scordato di te” / “Emozioni.” All songs were written by Battisti and Mogol; “Insieme” and “Io e te da soli” were written for Mina, “E penso a te” for Bruno Lauzi and “Eppur mi son scordato di te” was a big hit by Formula 3.


 

2. Lucio Battisti, “La canzone del sole”

 From: “La canzone del sole” / “Anche per te”. Numero Uno ZN 50132, 1971, 45 rpm.

 

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This is one of the most successful songs by Battisti (with Mogol as lyricist, of course). With its easy chord changes (A-E-D-E) and accompaniment, this song is part of the experience of everyone who tried (or knew someone who tried) to play the guitar in Italy since 1971 (still today).


 

3. Lucio Battisti, “Io vorrei … non vorrei … ma se vuoi”

From: Il mio canto libero. Numero Uno DZSLN 55156, 1972, 33⅓ rpm.

 

Credits (for the complete album): Lucio Battisti: voice, guitar, piano, mandolin, Hawaiian guitar, guiro; Gianni Dall’Aglio: drums; Reginaldo Ettore: Sardinian bells; Guido Guglielminetti: bass; Mario Lavezzi: guitar and timpani; Gabriele Lorenzi: Hammond organ, minimoog; Massimo Luca: guitar; Gigi Mucciolo: trumpet and trombone; Gianpiero Reverberi: tambourine.

 

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Delicate tune, with a mode change between verse (E minor) and chorus (E major). The lines “Le discese ardite / E le risalite” (“Daring descents / and ascents”) of the chorus almost became an Italian idiom – as often happened with Mogol’s lyrics for Battisti. David Bowie adapted it in English as Mick Ronson’s “Music is Lethal.”


 

4. Lucio Battisti, “Emozioni”

From: Emozioni. Dischi Ricordi SMRL 6079, 1970, 33⅓ rpm.

 

Credits (for the entire album): I 4+4 di Nora Orlandi: backing vocals; Dario Baldan Bembo: piano, keyboards; Lucio Battisti: voice, guitar; Gianni Dall’Aglio: drums; Damiano Dattoli: bass; Franz Di Cioccio: drums; Frank Laugelli: bass; Gabriele Lorenzi: keyboards, piano; Detto Mariano: arrangement; Pietruccio Montalbetti: harmonica; Franco Mussida: guitar; Sergio Panno: drums; Giorgio Piazza: bass; Flavio Premoli: piano, keyboards; Alberto Radius: guitar; Andrea Sacchi: guitar; Angel Salvador: bass; Demetrio Stratos: piano, keyboards; Giovanni Tommaso: bass; Mario Torato: piano, keyboards.

 

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Discogs

 

“Emozioni” is considered by many as Battisti’s masterpiece. Recorded live in studio, on first take. Without a proper verse-chorus or chorus-bridge structure, Mogol’s lyrics don’t follow a real metric. The original recording is divided in two parts: when the drums come in, with an orchestral crescendo, that’s the exact point marked by the golden ratio of the whole length of the song.


 

5. Equipe 84, “29 settembre”

From: “29 settembre” / “È dall’amore che nasce l’uomo”. Dischi Ricordi SRL 10452, 1967, 45 rpm.

 

Alfio Cantarella: drums; Franco Ceccarelli: guitar, backing vocals; Patrizio Janniello: bass; Victor Sogliani: bass, backing vocals; Maurizio Vandelli: voice, guitar, keyboards.

 

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Equipe 84 were one of the most important bands in Italy during the bitt era (see also Fabbri). This song was written by Battisti/Mogol (there’s a recording by Battisti himself), who worked with the band while recording. Probably the first Italian psychedelic rock song recorded in Italy, it was released on March 1967, three months before The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.


 

6. Formula Tre, “Questo folle sentimento”

From: Dies Irae. Numero Uno ZSLN 55010, 1970, 33⅓ rpm.

 

Tony Cicco: voice, drums; Alberto Radius: guitar, backing vocals; Gabriele Lorenzi: keyboards.

 

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Although Battisti was not part of the band, Formula Tre are still remembered as “Battisti’s hard-rock band,” his way to release rock songs he couldn’t have released as a solo artist. He and Mogol wrote the most of their songs, and produced them with the band in the studio. All of the three members of the band played in Battisti’s records (i.e. Lorenzi plays electric organ on Battisti & Mina’s duet at the Teatro 10 TV show — see example 1). During his only live tour, Formula Tre played on stage with him as his supporting band. These sounds, along with those of Equipe 84’s were not – and still are not – associated with the figure of the cantautore.


 

7. Lucio Battisti, “Don Giovanni”

From: Don Giovanni. Numero Uno PL 70991, 1986, 33⅓ rpm.

 

Lucio Battisti: voice; Skaila Kanga: harp; Andy Pask: double bass; Ray Russell: guitar; Robin Smith: piano; Phil Todd: sax; Greg Walsh: drums; Gavin Wright: violin.

 

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From Battisti’s late period, with lyricist Pasquale Panella, the song is from the 1986 eponymous album. Considered by many one of the highlights of his career, this LP is the “easiest” (and most successful) of his last five albums.