Saturday, 22 August 2015

October 1967 - Wrong Career Move

When Rita Pavone left RCA Italiana and signed with Dischi Ricordi in October 1967, did little she know she was signing her own 'death sentence'. It was a 4 year-contract but at the end of the 2nd year everyone knew Rita's career was in Skid Row and never would she reach the top again...

I had been fan of Rita Pavone since 25 June 1964, the night I saw her on TV Record in Sao Paulo. 'Datemi un martello' was #1 in the country and Rita was the best selling recording artist for the year 1964.

In early 1965, Pavone's records were still played on most Brazilian radio stations. Rita was back touring Brazil in late April 1965, which made her name a great sensation all over again. But that was it. Maybe Brazilians had enough of Italian music and were diversifying into Anglo-American music but mostly into the indigenous rock made by Brazilian young men.

The fact is that Rita Pavone records just disappeared from the market as of June 1965. Maybe it had to do with bad management from RCA Victor that did not even bother to release 'Lui' - a great track - as a single. It took more than a year for RCA to release a new Pavone single which unfortunately was cacophonous 'Supercalifragilistic espiralidoso' which needless to say went nowhere.

As they say 'out of sight out of mind'. As I was a dedicated fan I found out Brazilian newsstands started importing Italian youth magazines as of late 1965. 'Big', 'Giovani', 'Oggi' etc. arrived in Brazil 3 months later but in those pre-digital years that was good enough. So all through 1966 and 1967, I spent a lot of dough to keep abreast of what Rita was doing in Europe.

In June 1967, 'Rita, o mosquito' (La zanzara) was released all over the country and Brazilians could finally catch up with a new Pavone. Even though the film itself was a hit the songs didn't play on the radio. Brazilian radio had changed dramatically in the last 3 years.

In late 1967, just after Rita had won Cantagiro with 'Questo nostro amore' and had followed it up with 'Non dimenticar le mie parole' - which I still think one of her best recording ever - we received the news Pavone had left RCA Italiana and signed with Dischi Ricordi.

No one in their right mind could understand such a blatantly wrong career move. Apparently Rita & her soon-to-be-husband manager were given some monetary advantage. But the artistic side of the swap was tragic and even the economic side didn't pay in the end.

Rita Pavone poses for the cover of her last RCA Italiana single: 'Non dimenticar le mie parole', which was praised by 'Giovani' magazine as a major step on Pavone's artistic growth comparing the diminutive Italian singer with Aretha Franklin who was the new great sensation in the USA soul movement.

After 'Non dimenticar le mie parole' Rita enters a confusing phase that takes her anywhere but up...

Per un pugno di dollari: Wrong career move: Rita leaves RCA Italiana for a few more dollars at Ricordi. 

Billboard, 21st October 1967

Billboard, 12 October 1968.

One year after leaving RCA Italiana and getting married to her manager Rita Pavone was still reeling from side to side. Teddy Reno aka Ferruccio Ricordi declares Rita would not take part in Canzonissima 68-69, San Remo '69 or Cantagiro '69. Mr Ricordi said he (and supposedly Rita) were against competitions because they cause bad feelings and were extremely tiring for the participants. Maybe he was thinking about the debacle that had been Rita's 'Partitissima' experience earlier in the year.

Well, that was easier said than done. Rita did take part in San Remo 1969, with 'Zucchero', less than 3 months after Mr Reno said those famous last words. So much for eating one's words. 

On 8 November 1969, Rita sang 'Per tutta la vita' at competition extravaganza Canzonissima 69-70. Oops, another broken promise. 


  1. Também concordo que, ao trocar a gravadora RCA Italiana pela Dischi Ricordi, em 1967, Rita "freou" o trem de seu sucesso. E este erro nunca deveria ter cometido.

    1. grazie per il comentario, cara Doris.

    2. Great singer, great lady. My father went to her concert in Bucharest, in 67-68...

  2. Thanks, Spyral m for your comment.