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Lucio Dalla

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Bologna, Italy (1964 – 2012)

Lucio Dalla (born March 4, 1943 in Bologna, Italy; died 1 March 2012 in Montreux, Switzerland) was a popular Italian singer-songwriter and musician. He also played clarinet and keyboards.

He was the composer of Caruso (1986), which has been covered by numerous international artists. A version of Caruso sung by Luciano Pavarotti sold over 9 million copies and the song was a track on Andrea Bocelli’s first international album Romanza which has sold over 16 million albums world wide thus far; the song is a tribute to the emblematic opera tenor Enrico Caruso.

He began to play the clarinet at an early age, in a jazz band in Rome. The singer-songwriter Gino Paoli noticed Dalla’s vocal qualities and suggested he attempt a solo career as an Italian soul singer. In 1964, at age 21, Dalla recorded his first 45 rpm containing “Lei (non è per me)” and “Ma questa sera”. However, Dalla’s debut at the Cantagiro festival in 1965 was unsuccessful probably due to his appearance and to his music, which was considered too experimental for the time. His first album, 1999, was released the following year. His next album, Terra di Gaibola (from the name of a suburb of Bologna), was released in 1970 and contained some early Dalla classics.

His first hit was “4 Marzo 1943”, which garnered some success at the Sanremo Festival. Regardless of its title, the song became popularly known as “Gesu bambino”. Also successful was “Piazza grande”, which Dalla would sing again at Sanremo.

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