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Home FR Italian pop singer Toto Cutugno, an inspiration for French hits, dies

Italian pop singer Toto Cutugno, an inspiration for French hits, dies


The singer and composer of over 300 melodies loved large success within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, notably with ‘L’Italiano’ in 1983. In France, his tunes had been used for ‘L’Été Indien,’ ‘Laissez-moi Danser’ and ‘Méditerranéenne.’

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The track L’Italiano begins with “Lasciatemi cantare/Con la chitarra ai mano” (“Let me sing/With the guitar in my palms”). First comes the marginally husky voice of its singer and songwriter Toto Cutugno, then an acoustic guitar, violins and a mandolin as a counterpoint. The composer of over 300 melodies for himself and others, together with his fellow Italians Ornella Vanoni and Adriano Celentano and several other French pop stars, Cutugno will likely be publicly well-known for the 1983 hit L’Italiano (lyrics by Cristiano Minellono). Salvatore Cutugno, often called Toto Cutugno, died on Tuesday, August 22, in Milan, aged 80. His supervisor broke the information within the late afternoon, saying that “the singer’s situation had worsened in current months following an extended sickness.”

Born on July 7, 1943, in Fosdinovo, Tuscany, the second of three youngsters, Cutugno grew up in La Spezia, Liguria. His father, a Sicilian naval non-commissioned officer, was a trumpeter within the municipal brass band. In an interview with Le Monde in 2018, Toto Cutugno summed up his introduction to music in just some phrases: “My father (…) took me to a rehearsal after I was eight, and the conductor requested him if I might play the marching drum. From the drum, I moved on to the drum equipment, then the accordion and the piano.”

He performed the drums in his first two bands, Ghigo e i Goghi, about which little is understood at this time, and Toto e i Tati, based in 1965. Toto e i Tati recorded a handful of 7-inch information as much as the tip of the Nineteen Sixties, and scored a minor hit in Italy with La Ragazza Della Spiaggia, a whimsical pop track with choirs, an organ and violins. His subsequent group, Albatros, based in 1974 with the assistance of lyricist and producer Vito Pallavicini, supplied a bit extra substance.

Dedicating a track to Italians

Cutugno was the lead singer, recording a number of singles and an album till 1978. Among the group’s songs had been tailored into French, essentially the most well-known amongst them being Africa, the story of a Black American singer who encourages a return to Africa, sung in English by Cutugno. In 1975 the track was tailored as L’Été Indien for French singer-songwriter Joe Dassin by lyricists Claude Lemesle and Pierre Delanoë. In 1976, Dassin additionally sang Monja Monja which turned Il Était Une Fois Nous Deux whereas Nel Cuore Nei Sensi turned Voici Les Clefs for singer-songwriter Gérard Lenorman.

On the finish of the Nineteen Seventies, Toto Cutugno collaborated with French music stars. He wrote En Chantant for singer Michel Sardou in 1976, at the same time as he rose to main fame in Italy together with his second solo album, Voglio l’Anima; of which the eponymous monitor was tailored for singer and actress Dalida in 1979 underneath the title Laissez-moi Danser. Within the early Nineteen Eighties, he launched Solo Noi (1980), whose title monitor received him a prize on the San Remo Pageant – by which he participated over a dozen instances with such hits as Innamorata, Innamorato, Innamorati (1981), La Mia Musica (1982) and, maybe most famously, the L’Italiano album in 1983.

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