Tuesday, 29 May 2018

'Per tutta la vita' (I want to be wanted)

Peter Coles wrote to Doris Castro at Facebook on 28 May 2018 about the different versions of 'Per tutta la vita', a song written by Alberto Testa & Pino Spotti that was introduced to the public at  the 1959 Festival of San Remo sung by Wilma De Angelis and Jula de Palma (separately on different nights). 

The song never got much attention until a Brenda Lee's agent translated it into English as 'I want to be wanted' and it went to Number One at Billboard's single charts on 24 October 1960

'La vera storia di 'I want to be wanted'

Il brano 'I want to be wanted' il cui titolo originale è 'Per tutta la vita', è una canzone italiana e sanremese datata 1959. Una cover italiana che ebbe successo in America. 

Dopo il sucesso di 'Volare', gli americani capirono che San Remo era un'ottima vetrina musicale e ne approfittarono per acquistare molti brani. 

'Per tutta la vita' venne eliminata dalla gara la prima sera ma piacque molto ai produttori di Brenda Lee che ne acquistarono i diritti per il mercato USA.

L'inciso, ovvero la parte centrale chiamata refrain o ritornello che dir si voglia, cantato da Rita Pavone è totalmente diverso dalla versione originale poiché Testa, uno degli autori del pezzo, l'altro era Spotti ma morì prima che il brano andasse a San Remo, nel 1970, a richiesta della stessa Rita che desiderava includerlo nel suo primo album con la Ricordi, lo modificò apposta per lei. E infatti, i due ritornelli, quello di Brenda e quello di Rita sono totalmente diversi. 

Il primo di Brenda è flat, ovvero, nel gergo musicale resta ancorato allo stesso giro di note, metre il secondo di Rita, permette alla voce di lei di salire di tono ed esplodere.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

'Rita Per Noi' the fanzine that went a long way...

In 1989, Luis Fabio Miranda - who had been the President of the Brazilian Rita Pavone Fan Club since 1966, when he was still an engineering student living in his native São Carlos-SP - was transfered by the company he worked for from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro and he thought he could not manage the Fan Club anymore. Fabio had actually edited 4 issues of the fanzine 'Pavonissimo' during 1988, but now his work-load would not allow him leisure so he waived his right of the name 'Pavonissimo' to some Italian fans who published it in Italy for a couple of years.

Fabio asked Doris Castro whether she could keep the Fan Club archives consisting  mostly of recently-received fan-letters and a fairly long fan-address-list. Doris, who had missed the first wave of fan-club-activities in the 1960s was glad to be the recipient of such a trove. 

In May 1989, Doris met up with some other Pavone fans she'd known recently: Marta Mendes, Mauricio Ignacio and Wilton Belintani. It was the aftermath of Rita Pavone's 1987 Brazilian tour and they thought better to create a fan-newsletter to keep the post-tour momentum alive among the Brazilian fans. Doris put up the first issue of 'Rita Per Noi' (RPN) and sent it over to everyone in-the-List as a way of saying: ‘We all love Rita and we’re  in this together!

Doris was surprised to receive a good feed-back from a few dozen fans and composed a 2nd newsletter in the next quarter. A fan from Rio de Janeiro called Miguel Carqueija then wrote Doris and suggested: ‘Why don’ t  you number the Newsletter?’ Doris followed Mr Carqueija’s suggestion and as of the 3rd newsletter ‘Rita Per Noi’ became a real periodic. Every quarter there was a RPN in the mail for dozens of fans spread throughout Brazil. They were 4 newsletters a year.

In the 2nd year, at issue #7, Mauricio Ignacio offered his service as a copy-desk expert to make up a ‘cover’ (copertina) to the Newsletter to illustrate what had been only text so far. Mauricio also came up with the now legendary rubric 'Il Nostro Giornalino'.

This is more or less the genesis of 'Rita Per Noi' that lasted 15 years through 50 issues. 

'Rita Per Noi' very first issue: June 1989; Doris Castro writes an introduction explaining that as 'Pavonissimo', the fanzine edited and issued by Luis Fabio Miranda 4 times during 1988 was to be taken over by Italian fans and be printed over in Italy, she & friends saw the need of starting a new one that would keep the Brazilian fans together and well informed. Doris did the publishing by herself using a PC that belonged to her oldest son and printing the few pages using her own money, plus the price of postage to distribute it.
RPN no.10: copertina by Mauricio Ignacio; on the right a beautiful contribution given by Marta Mendes who composed the page, wrote the text and paid for as many photocopies as necessary to be sent to all the fans. 
RPN no.14... the Newsletter was getting more sophisticated. 
Another page made up and financed by Marta Mendes; on the right Mauricio Ignacio celebrates Christmas 1993. 
RPN nos. 21 and 27 covers done in colours. 
RPN no. 34.
'Rita Per Noi' had different sections and fan-contributions were welcomed by the editor Ms Castro. Ariovaldo Skrapec who unfortunately is not with us anymore took a long time (and a lot of love) to devise these two pieces of puzzles about Rita and her career.  
Another page made up and financed by Marta Mendes: the lyrics of the 1964 German hit 'Peppino aus Torino' were translated from German to Portuguese by Carlus Maximus and illustrated by Marta herself.

Rita Pavone at her office in 1991. If you look really close you'll see issue no.11 of  'Rita Per Noi' on top of her desk. 
RPN no.11 - 1991.

Some facts about 'Rita Per Noi' the longest-running Rita Pavone fanzine ever: 15 years!

quarterly (4 times a year): RPN-5 (1990) to RPN-36 (1997)

four-monthly: from RPN-37 (1998) to RPN-39 (1998)

half-yearly: from RPN-40 (1999) to RPN-47 (2002)

annual: from RPN-48 (2003) to RPN-50 (2005). 

In 2005, Rita Pavone declared she'd retire that year so Doris Castro thought it would not make sense going on with the fanzine. Besides, there was the Internet too. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Pavone at Sao Paulo's Casa di Dante on 21st August 2017

A cold winter Monday night at Casa di Dante in Sao Paulo, Brazil, listening to Rita Pavone's greatest hits being explained away by Professor Mauro Finazzi. 

Millene Fernandes had got mail from ICIB - Instituto Cultural Italo-Brasileiro about a series of lectures called 'Piccola Biblioteca della Canzone Italiana' (Part II) to start on Monday night, 21st August 2017. 

The first lecture - 'Il massimo di Rita' (Pavone) - was given by Prof. Mauro Finazzi in a very dinamic and descriptive way. Using a power-point system Mr. Finazzi presented the lyrics of 11 hand-picked songs made popular by Rita Pavone between 1962 and 1966 that were included in the album 'Il massimo di Rita' released by RCA Victor in 1969.

Finazzi actually 'edited' the original album cutting 6 tracks from it ('Scrivi', 'Sul cucuzzolo', 'San Francesco', 'Alla mia età', 'Qui ritornerà' and 'Bianco Natale') but adding 2 tracks ('Solo tu' and 'Viva la pappa col pomodoro') which ultimately made it more representative of the whole of the Pavone's oeuvre.

Mauro Finazzi's 'Il massimo di Rita':

1. Fortissimo (video-clip from 'Studio Uno 1966')
2. Non è facile avere 18 anni (a video-collage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIMc0f8VF3o)
3. Che m'importa del mondo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMb6KhndQss
4. La partita di pallone (straight from 'Alta Pressione' original 1962 broadcast)
5. Datemi un martello (clip with La Cricca:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGIXrziSLCQ )
6. Cuore (from Partitissima / Canzonissima 1967)

1. Come te non c'è nessuno (from 'Studio Uno 1963')
2. Il geghegè (from the 'Studio Uno 1966' op-art extravaganza)
3. Il ballo del mattone (from 'Studio Uno 1963')
4. Solo tu (excerpt from 1965 Wertmüller musicarello 'Rita la figlia americana')
5. Viva la pappa col pomodoro (from a 1965 RAI programme)

bonus tracks:

6. 'If I had a hammer' with Peter, Paul & Mary
7. 'Da cosa nasce cosa' - psychedelic clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq2BFUc91gA
8. 'Come te non c'è nessuno' TV clip by Nutella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKxhSfRQknI
9. Medley done with Mina at 1965's 'Stasera Rita': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBUiu3qXYoI

The very dynamic lecture was given in Italian since Instituto Cultural Italo-Brasileiro is mainly an Italian-language-school installed in a large two-story house on Rua Frei Caneca in what used to be a posh neighbourhood.

Mr Finazzi gave an idea of Rita Pavone's meteoric career that started in late 1962, and all but ended in 1968, when she became a 'maggiorenne' and married Mr Ferruccio Ricordi aka Teddy Reno her manager and Svengali. He said Italians did not forgive Rita for marrying an older man who had a son from a previous marriage in a very Catholic country with no divorce laws. Italians turned against them and ostracized the pair who moved out of Italy to live in Switzerland.

Mina had also been 'reprimanded' by the Italian public when she had a baby-boy out of wedlock in 1963, but was eventually 'pardoned' when she returned and did 'Studio Uno 64-65' which turned out to be the best of her career and I would say the peak of all post-Italian exuberance.

Finazzi paid tribute to the great talents of Italian culture like Bruno Canfora who wrote 'Fortissimo' and 'Il ballo del mattone' especially for Pavone; to Argentine orchestra conductor Luis Enriquez Bacalov who wrote 'Non è facile avere 18 anni', 'Che m'importa del mondo' and 'Solo tu'; to 'Mr. Estate' himself Edoardo Vianello, who wrote 'La partita di pallone', 'I Watussi', 'Guarda come dondolo'; Ennio Morricone who wrote 'Pel di carota' and 'T'ho conosciuto' (under the alias of Dan Savio or Dansavio); Nino Rota who wrote the whole 'Gian Burrasca' sound-track; Lina Wertmüller who wrote words for 'Fortissimo', directed 3 of Pavone's musicarelli plus 'Stasera Rita' and 'Studio Uno 1966'; to Antonello Falqui who directed 'Studio Uno 63'; Alberto Moravia who wrote 'La noia' that became a film starred by Catherine Spaak, Horst Buchholz and Bette Davis (having 'Che m'importa del mondo' in its sound-track).

Finazzi played 'il professore' emphasizing some grammar points like 'perchè ormai lo so...' (Non è facile avere 18 anni); 'una volta no ci porti pure me...' (La partita di pallone); '... a quella smorfiosa' (Datemi un martello) that someone in the audience shouted it is 'nojenta' in Portuguese; 'cosa mai posso fare per te?' (Cuore) in which the word 'mai' may be inferred as 'something' but never as 'più' ('mais' in Portuguese) - there was a little commotion among the students about this particular nasty false cognate.

Mauro Finazzi & Carlus Maximus at Casa di Dante on 21st August 2017.
Beto Abrantes, Carlus Maximus, Everson Corazza & Ricky Santos on the steps of Casa di Dante on Rua Frei Caneca, 1071.
una serata al Instituto Cultural Italo-Brasileiro...
a cold dark Monday night... in August.
'Il massimo di Rita' released by Brazilian RCA Victor in 1969.

1. Fortissimo                                   1. Come te non c'è nessuno
2. Non è facile avere 18 anni          2. Sul cucuzzolo
3. Che m'importa del mondo           3. San Francesco (San Francisco de Assis)
4. Scrivi (Lady Love)                     4. Alla mia età
5. La partita di pallone                     5. Il geghegè
6. Datemi un martello                      6. Qui ritornerà (Here it comes again)
7. Cuore (Heart)                              7. Bianco Natale (White Christmas)

Sunday, 6 August 2017

'Remember me'... a Rita Pavone album that never was

When Rita Pavone toured Brazil in November 1987, members of her Brazilian Fan Club approached RCA Victor with a project to produce an album containing material she had recorded in English at different times of her career. 

4 tracks recorded in Rome in 1963; 2 tracks produced by Hugo &  Luigi in New York, in early 1964; 6 tracks produced by Chet Atkins in Nashville, in 1965 & 4 tracks in English gathered from Rita repertoire of the 1970s. 

We don't know exactly what happened to the project but the fact is 'Remember me' was aborted before it had a chance to see the light of day. As it would have been financed by the Fan Club itself we may surmise there was not enough money in the can.

Here's what the back cover of 'Remember me' would have looked like, including the song list on the left. 

'Remember me' back cover.
this would be the front cover with blank space for a photo to be chosen.

1. Heart ('Cuore' Italian 1963 play-back ) 
2. I wish you well (from the sessions produced by Chet Atkins in Nashville, Feb.1965)
3. At my age ('Alla mia età' Italian play-back)
4. The tables are turned ('Non c'è un pó di pentimento' Italian play-back) 
5. Until you were gone (recorded in Nashville, Tennessee in Feb. 1965)
6. I know how it feels (from the 1965 Nashville sessions)
7. I'm on the wrong side of love (from the Nashville sessions)
8. Now that you are gone ('Che m'importa del mondo' Italian play-back)

1. Get a hold of yourself (from the 1965 Nashville sessions)
2. I'll wait and wait (from US album 'Small Wonder')
3. How low is low (from US album 'Small Wonder')
4. Maria Luisa (recorded in the 1970s)
5. He's a leader in my eyes ('Ahi ahi ahi ragazzo' Italian play-back)
6. FBI girl (1970s)
7. My beautiful song (1970s)
8. Remember me (from 'The International Teen-Age Sensation')

guitarrist-producer Chet Atkins, Rita Pavone & trumpet player Al Hirt in Nashville, in February 1965.

Billboard, 23 January 1965.

Billboard, 6 March 1965. Pavone records in Nashville, Tennessee with Chet Atkins. She meets up with Elvis Presley, Al Hirt and Brenda Lee.
Billboard, 31st July 1965. Chet Atkins' teenage daughter Merle Atkins joins Rita Pavone in Rome for her summer holidays. 

In November 1987, while Rita Pavone was still in Sao Paulo, RCA Victor released 'Il massimo'. It's your average 'Greatest Hits' album except for the addition of 3 unreleased tracks: 'Una notte intera' (Eine ganze Nacht) had been seen and heard in 'Não brinque com o mosquito' (Non stuzzicate la zanzara) but it had never been released in Brazil before. 'Non dimenticar le mie parole', the last single Pavone recorded for RCA Italiana before she left for Ricordi in 1967, had been completely overlooked by the Brazilian RCA Victor. 'Ti perdo e non vorrei' is probably Rita's best 1970s recording and along with 'Non dimenticar le mie parole' makes this compilation album really attractive.  

1. Datemi un martello (If I had a hammer)
2. Fortissimo 
3. Che m'importa del mondo 
4. Come te non c'è nessuno
5. Cuore (Heart)
6. Viva la papa col pomodoro 

1. Non è facile avere 18 anni
2. Il ballo del mattone
3. Una notte intera (Eine ganze Nacht)
4. Sul cucuzzolo (della montagna)
5. Ti perdo e non vorrei 
6. Non dimenticar le mie parole 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Andrew Lloyd-Webber's 'Try it and see' by Rita Pavone

John Napper writes about 'Try it and see' which was recorded by Rita Pavone in 1969, some time before Andrew Lloyde Webber became a celebrity. 

Hi Carlus,

I don't know if I told you about 'Try it and see', but there is a story attached to that song although I'm not sure of all the details. On Rita's previous website around 12 or 13 years ago (2004) she posted a piece about an Andrew Lloyd-Webber compilation CD box-set which includes this song allegedly sung by her but she said it was someone else. I haven't heard the CD so can't say who I think it might be. 

She also wrote that when she recorded it she thought she was told it was the UK entry for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest but that didn't happen. I can't remember exactly what she wrote but I got the impression that she thought she was going to sing it in the contest. This was never going to happen. 

There have been a number or changes to the selection process over the years, but the way it worked back then was that the BBC selected a singer to represent the UK and then invited anybody to submit songs

Somebody had the job of going through all the entrie and selecting 6 finalists which were then sung live on TV, one per week, on a Saturday evening show with a reprise of all 6 on the 7th week with viewers being asked to vote by postcard with the most popular song being selected as the UK entry

In 1969, the selected singer was Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, better known as Lulu and the songs were performed on her own show 'It's Lulu'. The winning song was 'Boom Bang-A-Bang' which went on to be the joint winner of the Contest itself in a unique 4-way tie.

The second place song in the selection was 'March' which Lulu recorded as the B side of the single and the other 4 have been forgotten, but one of those was 'Try it and see'. 

At some stage a 'demo' would have been recorded to send to the BBC for them to choose the final 6 songs and I suspect that this was Rita's recording although I have no idea why she would have been chosen for this, bearing in mind her obvious Italian accent but I think she did a great job on it.

'Try it and see' was eventually released as a B side that year. Maybe it was decided not to make it the A side since the song missed out on Eurovision selection. I think that may have been a mistake but it's much too late now. 

However, in case you don't know, that wasn't the last of that particular song, or at least not the tune. Around that time, struggling songwriters Andrew Lloyd-WebbeTim Rice were working on their now legendary rock-opera, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' which was issued as an album in 1970 before becoming a stage musical and a film in 1973. The people making the film considered it a little short and requested 2 additional songs, both of which have since been included in stage presentations of the musical. One of these songs, entitled 'Herod's Song' is actually 'Try it and see' which Tim Rice supplied completely new words for.

'Try it and see' was the B-side of 'Till tomorrow' released in the UK and USA.

Doris Castro, the editor of 'Rita Per Noi', a quarterly newsletter about Rita Pavone published in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 1989 to 2005 - presents at RPN no. 46, June 2002, an excerpt of a letter Rita Pavone wrote Andrew Lloyd Webber in March 2001, in which she stated that after listening to the 5-CD-box she realized 'Try it and see' was not her Polydor recording but someone else's.

Rita Pavone posted the letter to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber at her former site www.ritapavone.it which is no longer extant.  

Junho 2002:

Desde janeiro a página NEWS do site: www.ritapavone.it, anuncia o lançamento, em 2001, do box com cinco CDs “Now and Forever”, de Andrew Lloyd Webber. Quatro CDs são de seus musicais como “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Evita”, “Cats”, “The Phantom of the Opera” e outros. O quinto CD, com vários artistas, traz canções semi-inéditas e raras. É o caso de “Try it and see”, gravada por Rita Pavone e incluída em seu álbum “Rita” de 1969 (Dischi Ricordi - SMRL 6067). No box, no entanto, a gravação está na voz de outra cantora, erroneamente identificada com Pavone. Essa gravação é, provavelmente, a 'demo' original enviada para a BBC quando da seleção das 6 finalistas. Em vista deste impasse, Rita enviou a Webber a carta abaixo reproduzida:

“Caro sr. Webber,

Eu fiquei muito feliz e orgulhosa por ter sido escolhida entre tantos e grandes artistas internacionais, para fazer parte de seu recente box “Now and Forever”. Muitíssimo obrigada. Também me agradou a apresentação pessoal da canção “Try it and see” - CD#5 “The Vaults” (Raridades e Canções Inéditas) -, lembrando o fato de que ela foi originalmente composta pelo senhor, para mim, em 1969, e ambos desejando que fosse representando a Inglaterra no “Festival Eurovision da Canção”, daquele ano. Isso não aconteceu e posteriormente a canção teve um outro destino no musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

Mas, caro sr. Lloyd, fiquei decepcionadíssima quando, após ouvi-la, constatei que, embora o meu nome Rita Pavone esteja impresso no box, a voz da cantora não é a minha, mas sim de desconhecida, provavelmente, por engano, cedida ao senhor pela BMG (ex-RCA Victor) de Londres. Tudo isto parece incrivel, mas é verdade. Apenas ouça a minha gravação de “Try it and see” e, comparando com a voz do CD#5, o senhor poderá notar a diferença.

Assim, algo deve ser feito imediatamente. Primeiro parando com as vendas do box para evitar, mais adiante, danos à minha imagem (meus fãs italianos e brasileiros foram os primeiros a informarem-me e estão muito frustrados) e, depois, lança-lo com a minha gravação Polydor de 1969.

Se o senhor tem outras ou melhores sugestões para esta estranha e única questão, por favor, escreva para o meu e-mail: ritapavone@faronet.it; neste meio de tempo, poderá ver a cópia desta carta em meu site: www.ritapavone.it, apenas clicando em Pavone News.

Antecipadamente agradeço pela sua cooperação e aguardo a sua resposta o mais breve possível, desejando o melhor para o senhor e o seu The Really Useful Group,

Rita Pavone
Ariccia (Roma – Italia), 21 de março de 2002”.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Rita in Rio 1964

'Correio da Manhã' 24 June 1964.

'Correio da Manhã' 20 October 1963; music columnist Claribalte Passos pans Rita Pavone's 1st album released by RCA. He claims Pavone's repertoire is 'not good'. I wonder how he came to this conclusion; 'Correio da Manhã' 14 June 1964 - columnist Sergio Bittencourt comments Rita Pavone's transit at Galeão on his Sunday column.  
'Correio da Manhã' 13 June 1964; while the country was still reeling from a military putsch against democracy, Rita Pavone flew in 'en route' to Buenos Aires. She was spotted by the press while drinking a soft-drink at Galeão's coffee-shop. 
'Correio da Manhã' 21 June 1964. 
'Correio' Thursday, 25 June 1964; 'Correio', Sunday 28 June 1964; 'Correio'  Friday, 24 July 1964 - TV Rio presented Rita Pavone on Thursday 25 June, then repeated the video-tape on Sunday, 28 June; a month later Friday 24 July 1964, TV Rio did it again.  
'Correio da Manhã' 5 July 1964; music columnist Claribalte Passos definitely changes his opinion about Rita Pavone, but he still calls her voice 'pequenina'... I wonder how in the world he came to that conclusion... Pavone's voice may be called everything but 'small'. 

'Correio da Manhã' 2 April 1965; Rita Pavone always had some bad press. Usually people who rejected her voice as 'harsh', high-pitched or unpleasant. Here's Correio da Manhã's 'Agriculture Supplement' being tongue-in-cheek about the diminutive singer's piercing voice and its effects on the killing of ants.

'Correio da Manhã' 1st May 1965; Rita returns to Rio less than a year after...