Antonello Venditti Bookmark and Share


8 march 1949

Venditti was born in Rome as the son of Vincenzo Molise, a police officer who would become vice prefect of Rome in 1968, and Wanda Sicardi, a professor. During adolescence problems of obesity, going to weigh 90 kilos, he was stimulated to learn to play the piano. At the age of 14 he wrote his first three songs: 'Sora Rosa', 'Lontana è Milano' and 'Roma capoccia'. At the end of the sixties the opportunity rose to present his music in public with the participation of the local label Roman Folkstudio. Other songwriters and musicians appearing in the studio were Francesco De Gregori and Rino Gaetano. He begins performing and in 1971 a composition of him is released by the band L’Impressioni as a B-side (the song was called ‘È la fine della vita’). In 1972 after a tour in Hungary De Gregori and Venditti decide to form a duo, and they manage to obtain a contract with Vincenzo Micocci. It means the first and only album of the duo, published in June 1972. The song ‘Ciao uomo‘ becomes a big hit and one of Venditti's signature songs. Micocci suggests to Venditti to record a solo album ‘L'orso bruno’ ('The brown bear'), which is published in April 1973.

In the same period is an exhibition at the Teatro dei Satiri in Rome Venditti releases the religious controversial song 'A Cristo' which leads to his arrest for contempt of religion of state. in 1973 Venditti realises ‘Le cose della vita’ ('Things of life'), recorded alone with the piano and keyboard. The album features the original version of ‘E li ponti so' soli’ which Venditti wrote for Patty Pravo. His 1974 album ‘Quando verrà Natale’ again features a song later covered by Pravo ‘Ora che sono pioggia’ ('Now that I am rain'). 1975 is the year of his marriage to Simona Izzo (which he divorces in 1980), and the success of the single and album ‘Lilly’, a sad story of drugs and loss. With the album ‘Ullalla’ he tries to move on musically from the previous years (thanks largely to the presence of Ivan Graziani, who plays the guitar and takes care of the arrangements). The album addresses important political issues such as the religious compromise in ‘Nostra signora di Lourdes’, or the environmental disaster (the escape of toxic dioxin cloud) caused by Seveso in ‘Canzone per Seveso’

The following albums become much less political influenced. In 1979 the singer takes a break of three years interrupted only by the collaboration with Luca Barbarossa. In 1982 he founds the label, Heinz Music, and releases ‘Sotto la pioggia’ (1982), ‘Cuore’ (1984), ‘Venditti e segreti’ (1986) and ‘Centocittà’ (1985). The biggest succes was the album ‘In questo mondo di ladri’ (1988) with the hitsong ‘Ricordati di me’. In the nineties Venditti keeps on releasing albums, often live albums, with a steady fanbase. In 2001 he performs at the Circo Massimo in Rome. The concert is watched by one million and seven hundred thousand people, involving, among others, Sabrina Ferilli, Franco Sensi, Francesco Totti and Corrado Guzzanti. In 2003 he teams up (after decades) with Francesco De Gregori for the album ‘Che fantastica storia è la vita’. The album features ‘Lacrime di pioggia’ written for his disappeared father and ‘Ruba’ written for the deceased Mia Martini. In 2007 he releases ‘Dalla pelle al cuore’. On 20 January 2008 was awarded the Telegatto.

On the web:

Antonello's website: http://www.antonellovenditti.it

What do we think:

PR: When I first listened to Venditti, I thought: "just an other typical Italian singer-songwriter". Dramatic voice and melodies, a lot of synthesizers on his '80's albums. Over time, having listened more of his records, I appreciated him more and more. His songs are beautifully crafted and timeless. And he appears to me as a very authentic artist, not a crowd pleaser (hey, if you keep wearing glasses like that, you really make a statement...). And even on his (many) live records, he is very convincing as a live performer. Be careful what album to buy; start with his masterpiece 'Sotto il segno dei pesci' for great Italian pop songs or one of his earlier records from the '70's for more folk and prog rock influenced material.

DB: Venditti is one of the outstanding examples of European protestsingers that don't stick to folk but incorporate pop and rock to get the message across. I'm fond of his seventies work especially the period with Ivano Graziani when he even hints towards progrock. His eighties period is somewhat less appealing to me is in becoming a bit to slick although ‘In questo mondo di ladri' sees a return to form with again great songs. Wish I could understand all the lyrics but alas my italian isn't good enough for that.

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

Joaquin Sabina (Spain)


♪♪♪♪ - L'orso bruno - 1973

♪♪♪♪ - Le cose della vita - 1973

♪♪♪♪ - Lilly - 1975

♪♪♪ - Ullalà - 1976

♪♪♪♪♪ - Sotto il segno dei pesci - 1978

♪♪ - Buona domenica - 1979

♪♪♪ - Sotto la pioggia - 1982

♪♪ - Circo Massimo (live) - 1983

♪♪ - Cuore - 1984

♪♪♪ - In questo mondo di ladri - 1988

♪♪ - Prendilo tu questo frutto amaro - 1996

♪♪♪♪ - Che fantastica storia è la vita - 2003

Further listening:

Theorius Campus - 1972 (with Francesco De Gregori); Quando verrà Natale - 1974; Lilly - 1975; Centocittà - 1985; Venditti e Segreti - 1986; Diario - 1991; Benvenuti in Paradiso - 1991; Da Sansiro a Samarcanda – 1992, Antonello nel Paese delle Meraviglie -1997; Goodbye Novecento - 1999; Se l'amore è amore - 2000; Circo Massimo - 2001; Dalla pelle al cuore - 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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