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9 April 1948

Patty Pravo is the stage name of Italian pop singer Nicoletta Strambelli, born in Venice. She went from nightclub singer to one of Italy’s most successful stars in the 1960s. Her 1968 hit 'La bambola' remains one of the biggest-selling hits of all time. She studied piano at the conservatory institute Benedetto Marcello. As an extracurricular activity she took lessons from Maestro Ettore Gracis in orchestra conducting which she loved so much that her desire was to become a conductor when she 'grew up'. At the age of ten she was enrolled at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory, where after passing the entry exam she went straight into the fourth course.

Irrepressible and adventurous, at age 15 she left home to live in London and then Rome. In Rome she began her career singing in the night club called Piper Club. In 1966 she made her first single, 'Ragazzo triste' ('Sad boy'), the highly successful Italian version of the song 'But you're mine' by Sonny Bono. The single made number 13 in the Italian charts in January 1967. Patty followed that by recording numerous songs, the most popular being 'Qui e là', (1967) 'Se perdo te' (1967), 'La bambola' (1968), 'Sentimento' (1968), 'Tripoli '69' (1969), 'Il paradiso' (1969), 'Pazza idea' (1973) and 'Pensiero stupendo' (1978). The name Patty Pravo was on everyone's lips and her records sold all over the world, with at least three of her singles remaining on the world charts for a long period. 'La bambola' immediately sold 9 million copies and was the top of the pops in Italy, Spain, Japan, France, Germany and South America. To date this record has sold over 30 million copies.

She is featured on many Italian television programs and in 1970 she hosted her own program called Bravo-Pravo!, broadcast on French television. She became a symbol for women of the 60s, exemplifying their evolution from more established conservative roles. Patty is blonde, lithe and striking in appearance, yet she has a deep voice, ideally suited for rock and dramatic musicals. This beautiful and hip girl turned into a classy singer, that even got away with singing credible material from the likes of the Beatles, Jacques Brel, Leo Ferré, Vinicius De Moraes and Neil Diamond. In 1971 her contract with RCA ended and she signed with Phongram. She made three artisticly interesting records (beautiful orchestrations from Bill Conti!), but unfortunately sales figures were poor. Her switch back to RCA in 1973 resulted in a major hit record, 'Pazza idea'. In 1976 she released two albums with colloborations of Vangelis ('Tanto' for RCA and 'Patty Pravo' for Dischi Ricordi). Both albums were somewhat experimental but proved to stand the test of time and are now considered to be among Pravo's best record. The following two albums, 'Miss Italia' and 'Munich album', lacked artistic and commercial succes. Patty Pravo, artistically in a crisis and tired of Italy’s music scene, left Italy for the United States. She released a new album, 'Cerchi', in 1982. Although its sound was very modern for the time (a bit like The Police, with reggea influences) it passed by unnoticed. In 1984 she released 'Occulte persuasioni', an almost accoustic album with three songs written by Paolo Conte (under the alias of Solingo). She performed the single 'Per una bambola' at the San Remo festival and received good reviews.

The nineties did not start very well for Patty Pravo. In 1992, she was arrested on drug possession charges, but soon regained positive direction. She became more prolific, and by 1994 was traveling to China to record her album 'Ideogrammi'. In 1995 she returned to Italy and re-emerged in 1997 singing 'E dimmi che non vuoi morire', written by Vasco Rossi, at the San Remo song festival, and released a hugely successful album 'Notte, guai e libertà', with contributions from several of the most popular Italian artists like Franco Battiato, Ivano Fossati and Lucio Dalla.

With her 2004 album 'Nic Unic' she demonstrates her courage to cut new songs, choosing young songwriters who are not yet famous. She adds her own touch to all the texts with the sound, production and mixing entrusted to the best on the Italian pop scene. In 2007 she releases the album 'Spero che ti piaccia... Pour toi', entirely dedicated to the late French singer Dalida. In 2009 she released a recording of the live show in the Arena of Verona, recorded in 2008, the year she turned 60.... Her 2011 album seems to be a return to a more rock-sound but fails to impress. In 2014 Patty's music plays an important part in the gay movie Xenia and she even appears in a small cameo roll. In 2016 she partcipates at San Remo with the song "Cielli Immensi" resulting in high critical acclaim and ending 6th in the competition.

On the web:

- Patty's website: http://www.coltempo.it

What do we think:

PR: Nicoletta, aka Patty Pravo, has left her mark on Italian popmusic. She has had a stream of hits during the sixties and seventies. Similar to Loredana Berté she has an extremely emotional way of singing and performing and her song material varies from classical chansons to more guitar orientated rock. During the eighties she experimented with new music styles, without much commercial succes, but in my opinion this resulted in a serie of very interesting Pravo-records (especially Oltre l'Eden). And a compliment for miss Pravo that although experimenting with several different music styles, she did not fall into the commercial trap of re-mixing and re-re-mixing her former hits with beats and drumcomputers.

DB: People in Holland will know Patty for the cover of Pazza Idea Rita Hovink has done. Which is a waste because Pravo has more to offer then this hit from 1973. She recorded some of the best Italian pop songs. Although, when listening to her albums in chronological order you'll hear her sink into a haze of drugs and alcohol. I'm still in doubt whether she just plays the unstable drug addict or that she actually truly lost it somewhere halfway the seventies. Because while she comes across as the first, her choice of music and producers imply the second. Although commercially succesfull she never played the easy card. I mean, who in his right mind, would release an entire album of Chinese influenced music in the middle of the housemusic-era (1994). Brilliant but daft.

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

Sylvie Vartan (France)

Dalida (France)


♪♪♪♪ - Pazza idea - 1973

♪♪♪♪ - Tanto - 1976

♪♪♪♪- Patty Pravo - 1976

♪♪♪♪ - Occulte persuasioni - 1984

♪♪♪♪♪ - Oltre l'Eden... - 1989

♪♪♪ - Ideogrammi - 1994

♪♪♪♪♪ - Notti, guai e libertà - 1998

♪♪♪♪ - Nic unic - 2004

♪♪♪ - Spero che ti piaccia... pour toi (omaggio a Dalida) - 2007

♪♪♪♪ - Live Arena di Verona (2cd) - 2009

♪♪♪ - Nella terra dei Pinguini - 2011

♪♪♪½ - Eccomi - 2016

♪♪½ - Red - 2019

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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