Salvatore Adamo
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1 November 1943

Born in Sicily the family Adamo moved to Belgium in 1947 where Salvatore’s father Antonio went to work as a miner. In 1950, Salvatore was bedridden for a year with meningitis. Salvatore's parents did not want their son to become a miner and made great sacrifices to give him a good education, in a strict Catholic school run by the Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes. During his adolescence in the fifties, Salvatore revealed himself to be a gifted singer. Salvatore entered several local competitions without success until, in December 1959, Radio Luxembourg organised a big radio competition at the Théâtre Royal de Mons, not far from where he lived. He sang one of his own song, "Si j'osais" and did not get further than the eliminatory rounds, but a member of the jury gave him a second chance and he went on to win the competition.

Shortly afterwards Salvatore brought out his first single, without much success. His father, now convinced of his sons talent, went to Paris with Salvatore and started stalking the recordlabels just as long until ‘Sans toi mamie’ became a hit in 1963. This romantic tune was completely contraire to the rock and roll trend of yéyé his fellow countryman Johnny Hallyday became famous with at the time. In 1965 he supported Cliff at the L'Olympia. After which his career exploded. Throughout the sixties he had numerous hits ‘Tombe la neige’, ‘Les filles du bord de mer’ and ‘Mes Mains sur tes hanches’ but his biggest Pan-European success was ‘Vous permettez Monsieur’ in 64. Tragically, at the height of his stardom, his father died by drowning on August 7th 1966. Salavtore was crushed. From here the themes of his songs also changed and he started to incorporate political issues in his lyrics like Six Day War between Israel and Egypt (‘Inch Allah’) and the Cold War, Spain under Franco, Lebanon, Bosnia, etc.. At the end of the sixties, Adamo married his wife, Nicole. Their son, Anthony, was born in 1969.

At the start of the seventies demand for Adamo’s romantic orchestral music started to wane. But he continued to perform throughout the seventies and eighties. Oddly outside Europe he kept drawing large crowds to his shows. In Chile, he sang in front of 30.000 people, and in Japan he remained as popular as ever. His records sold millions. Nevertheless, the singer's frenetic work rhythm of performing eventually cost him dearly. In May 1984, he suffered a serious heart attack. In July of that year, he underwent a coronary bypass operation which forced him to stop work completely for several months.

In 1992, he made his return to the French market with the album, 'Rêveur de fond' and picking up his live schedule again. In 1993, he became a voluntary ambassador for UNICEF. Two years later, he recorded a duet with fellow Belgian, Maurane, for a compilation in aid of this international childrens' charity organisation. Now in his fifties, Adamo devoted himself more and more to passions other than music. In 95, he published a collection of poems, "Les mots de l'âme", and took up painting, although a new autobiographical album ‘La vie comme elle passe’also was released.

In 2003 Adamo fell in dispute with his then record company who wanted him to keep recording in his predominantly 60s sound. Adamo had other ideas and an acoustic album ‘Zanzi bar’, with a brass section and accordion. This artistic difference led to Adamo terminating his contract with his label and moving to Polydor instead. In 2004 Adamo’s body again made objections to his frantic touring with a serious brain haemorrhage. He may 2005 he made preparations to return to the stage with a secret show at Mons (the Belgian town where he kickstarted his career, winning his first radio talent contest in 1959). Overcome by emotion on his first night in Mons, Adamo actually left the stage at the start of the show but he eventually re-emerged from the wings and launched into a moving rendition of "Si j'osais", the song with which he had triumphed at the talent contest back in 1959.

In 2007 his album ‘La Part de l'Ange’ suddenly placed Adamo in the heart of the new French music scene with artist like Olivia Ruiz duetting and Fabrice Ravel-Chapuis (Bénabar) and Alain Cluzeau (Paris Combo, Olivia Ruiz) behind the mixing desk. The recognition by a young generation continued in 2008 when ‘Le bal des gens bien’ was released, an album featuring covers of his old classics reworked as duets with French music stars like Bénabar, Cali, Calogero, Julien Doré, Raphael, Alain Souchon, Yves Simon and Thomas Dutronc. In 2010 he releases a new album filled with new songs followed two years later by the intimate 'La Grande Roue' recorded with a young crew amongst which François Delabrière and Stanislas.

On the web:

- Adamo's website: http://www.adamosalvatore.com/

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Benny Neyman (Netherlands)

Raphael (Spain)

Gino Paoli (Italy)

What do we think:

PR: Great singer, somewhat underestimated in my opinion. He has written some of the most beautiful French songs ever. Furthermore, he is an extremely nice and modest guy and honest and true artist. The fact that he released more live albums tnat regular ones is a sign that he was born for the stage. And his drive and passion is typical for Salvatore Adamo. A true artist!

DB: It's almost typical that I learned to appreciate Adamo due the covers that were recorded by other artists like 'Les filles du bord de mer’ by Arno and 'Inch Allah' by Katja Ebstein. Like most non-French Europeans Adamo is mostly known to me for 'Vous permettez Monsieur' which is a nice ditty but stands in no comparison to the lush orchestral albums with bittersweet lyrics he made at the second half of the sixties. And he wrote everything himself! Like the Elvis album title says "5.000.000 (Japanese) Adamo fans can't be wrong".

Studio albums (in French)
and we left out the numourous 'A l'Olympia' albums he made):

♪♪♪ - Adamo - 1964

♪♪♪ - Adamo [Volume 2] - 1964

♪♪♪♪ - 1966-1967 - 1967

Zanzibar - 2003

Le bal des gens bien - 2008

♪♪♪ - De toi à moi - 2010

♪♪♪1/2- La Grande Roue - 2012

Further listening:

Adamo '66 - 1966; Une larme aux nuages - 1967; Salvatore Adamo - 1969; Crazy lue - 1972; A ceux qui revent encore... - 1973; Jusqu'à l'amour - 1975; Voyage jusqu'à toi - 1976; Parlons-en du bonheur - 1981; Puzzle - 1982; La vie comme elle passe - 1995; Regards - 1998; Par les temps qui courent - 2001; La part de l'ange - 2007

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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