Category Archives: Italy

Pino Donaggio

Spanish sleeve

Pino Donaggio was a singing star from Burano, Italy. Starting out as a classical violinist, he began writing his own pop songs in the early ’60s. He often recorded his songs in Spanish as well as Italian versions, but “No tengo la culpa” has an upbeat production unlike anything else I’ve heard of his. I don’t know if the Italian version is as rocking as this one in Spanish. Orchestration was by Giulio Libano.

Los Salvajes did another one of his songs, “Se llama Maria” on the same EP that they cover Satisfaction and Wooly Bully, but it’s not a standout in their career.

In the early 70’s Donaggio started composing scores for films, first for Don’t Look Now and later working with Brian DePalma and Dario Argento.

Thanks to Borja for hipping me to this one, and for the sleeve scans.

Italian version

Equipe 84

Equipe 84 may have had their roots in combo rock music, but by the time of this 45 in late 1967, they’re as far away from a garage band as could be. The production is dense, with sitar, strings, vibes, horns.

‘Ladro’ begins with intense beats and the tension builds as instruments and elements are added. ‘Nel cuore, nell’anima’ (In the Heart, the Spirit) is an especially fine Sgt. Pepper-inspired pop number. Lucio Battisti co-wrote both of these songs with ‘Mogol.’

They had about a dozen releases before this single, and were one of Italy’s most popular bands in the 60’s since beginning in the northern Italian city of Modena around 1960. They broke up in 1974.

The band at this time consisted of Maurizio Vandelli and Franco Ceccarelli on guitar and vocals, Victor Sogliani on bass and vocals, Alfio Cantarella on drums and vocals. Joining the band on vocals only for this record was their frequent songwriter, Lucio Battisti.

Sources include: for extensive scans and text in Italian.

Bruno Castiglia e i Bisonti

There’s not much info out there in English about this great Milan band, usually referred to as just i Bisonti (the Bison!). I know of three releases, each of which has at least one great song on it.

The first, “Ma se ci penso” is probably my favorite, it was written by A. Friggieri and P. Gatti. This 3 song ep also has a fine cover of Lucille on it.

Crudele (translates as “Cruel”) is their heaviest number, the opening fuzz riff is followed by a scream and lyrics that are shouted at you to a pounding beat. This one was written by Solisca and Friggieri.

Partial list of 45 releases:

City 6164 – Portami tante rose, Lucille, Ma se ci penso
City 6179 – Balla canta ridi, Come on
City 6190 – Occhi di sole, Crudele

I Tremendi

Great band from Florence with two 45s. Other than that, I don’t know a thing about them. They have a real garage sound, with no attempts at ‘pop’. Unlike most other Italian bands, they sang all their songs in English, with a good accent at that!

Their first 45 has “Where’s My Baby” (written by Ursillo-Iandelli) on the top side, with the even better “Together We’re Strong” (written by Pini-Mazoni) on the flip.

Both sides of the second are also good, the uptempo “If You Don’t Come Around” and the ballad “I Knew I’d Get You”.

Anyone have a photo of the group?

Italian releases from this time usually have picture sleeves, but it’s my understanding that 45s on the NET label never do.