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Seventies Bookmark and Share

At the start of the seventies there is some genre cross-over between the cantautori and those who are viewed as singers of "protest music". Mainly in the wake of Gaber and De André's work, political themes became even more predominant in 1970s through authors such as Pino Daniele, Giorgio Gaber, Francesco De Gregori, Francesco Guccini, Antonello Venditti and Roberto Vecchioni. At the same time Lucio Battisti, Riccardo Cocciante and Claudio Baglioni handled the more emotional themes with songs like Emozioni, Poesia and Questo piccolo grande amore.Their styles dominated the seventies musical variety TV shows like Canzonnisimia and musiccontests like Festivalbar and San Remo. Which in return were perfect feeding ground for young female interpretors like Nada, Fiorella Mannoia and Marcella (Bella). The queen of TV varietyshows however was dancer/singer/showgirl Raffaella Carra whose A far l'amore comincia tu became a big European hit.

The seventies was also the time when Italian progressive rock started. The main Italian style of progressive rock was symphonic rock mixed with Italian folk music influences (Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Il Balletto di Bronzo, just to mention a few), but there were also some very innovative avant-garde rock bands around (Area, Picchio dal Pozzo). Progressive rock concerts were usually political events with an energetic atmosphere. Area had mainly extremely left-winged political lyrics. We were told by a shop owner in Florence that the explosive rise of Italian progressive rock scene came because of the an incident with American band Santana. Local Italian government got so scared that this would happen again that they banned big international rock bands to perform in their venues. This helped the Italian music scene to start their own identity and was able to grow fast in between 74 and 79 (when the ban was lifted)

The seventies also saw artists who experimented with modern electronics of which Franco Battiato is the most prominent. While he started in the sixties as a true cantautori his work became more increasingly minimal incorporating musique concrète and serial music. The willingness to experiment culminated in L'Egitto prima delle sabbie in 1978, where one chord is repeated throughout each LP side. And the end of the decennium he turned more accessible again eventually earning huge national success.

Popular seventies styles didn’t pass Italy by and got the Italian twist. An artist like Renato Zero gave glamrock a almost opera like makeover with an over the top performance featuring horses, lions and aborigines while zero dressed himself bird-like and strass-decorated costumes. Matia Bazar (with lead singer Antonella Ruggiero) made a mix between prog-rock and light pop and would become very successful in the eighties.

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