Toto Cutugno is dead, goodbye real Italian

Baudo is right, as he (almost) always is: “He was too shy, so much so that he seemed grumpy.” The great shy and gloomy Toto Cutugno was hospitalized yesterday. San Raffaele Milanafter a very long battle with prostate cancer. On July 7, he turned 80 years old, unmarked by anyone.

A man from Tendola, the village of Fozdinovo, province Massa Carrarawill be remembered as a “real Italian”, however he was an atypical presence on the national stage, so much so that he was perhaps more loved in France than at home, the successful author of Michel Sardou (“Unchantan”), Joe Dassin (“Et si tu n’ existais pas”, later picked up by Iggy Pop), Johnny Hallyday, Dalida, Claude Francois, Herve Vilar, Mireille Mathieu, Sheila.

An accomplished melodist and prolific lyricist, he was introduced to music by his father, a trumpet player in a band, where he started out as a drummer before moving on to drums and then playing with ensembles.: Toto and Rockers, Gigo and Gogi, Toto and Tati, Albatross., with which he first came to the Italian Song Festival, finishing third with “Volo AZ504”. Sanremo was for him a promised and rejected land: among the attendance record holders (15 times in the race), he won it once, in 1980 with “Solo noi”, then collected six second places, third place, fourth place, not counting the podium , rose several times as an author.

As a soloist, he achieved success in 1977 with “Donna donna mia”, the theme song to “Scommette?” with Mike Bongiorno, in the same year he wrote “Soli” for Celentano, which went crazy on the charts. Among the many works that Mollegiato proposed was “L’italiano”, a song full of stereotypes, enough to withstand the influence of the times, to be right in any criticism and to make compatriots abroad cry with nostalgia. : “with spaghetti al dente / and a partisan as president… good morning Italy with your artists / with too much America on the posters / with songs, with love / with heart / with more women and less and less number of nuns… .

Then that cry of identity that has gone down in the history of our song(tta), despite fifth place (but first in Totip’s popular vote) in Sanremo 1983, when Titian Rivale’s meteorite won “Sarà quel che sérà” : “Give me sing / with a guitar in hand. / Let me sing / a song slowly. / Let me sing / because I’m proud of it / I’m Italian / a real Italian. The Black Italian, by Simone Cristicchi, will rewrite it years later to tell the story of a new multicultural nation. “Popi Minellono and I wrote this play for the end credits of The Taming of the Shrew, but Adriano said no, preferring “In Love, Angry for Life”,” Toto recalled, delighted by this “no.” And the lyricist Minellono with him: “I wrote a text that is a portrait of each of us, but it is not the sun, pizza and mandolin, there are defects, habits, hypocrisy of those who keep the flag in the dry cleaners and throw it away at the right time. An anthem with some patriotism, but no political overtones. De André defined me as an individualist anarchist.”

Collaborating primarily with Pallavicini and Minellono, Cutugno wrote “Noi, bambini di oggi” for Louis Miguel, “Dreamer” for Peppino Di Capri, “Io amo” for Fausto Leali, “Olympic Games” for Miguel Bose. He knew his limits, but he did not accept “criticism from those who do not know me. I am an accountant, if I were more cultured, I would write like Fossati, Conte and De Gregory: I adore them, I envy them, but you cannot have everything in life.

As if to say: San Remo to me, to them Tenko Award. He thought he had the Festival in his pocket in 1988, but he was surpassed by the unstoppable Massimo Ranieri in “Lost Love” and then again in 1990 with “Gli amori” and a little big help from Ray Charles who canceled his song in the lyrics and chords, but he never recorded it: by that time, Pooh from One Womini blocked his path. He comforted himself with Penélope Cruz, who sang it in Castellitto’s Don’t Move. And with the subsequent victory at Eurovision with “Together: 1992”. In 1995, the worst place in Ariston, seventeenth out of twenty with the phrase “I want to go and live in the country”, was not epochal, but entered the popular imagination.

Meanwhile, the former Soviet republics chose him as their idol along with Pupo, Ricky and Believe and Al Bano: “Thanks to the PCI, the festival was broadcast in the USSR, when all other music was banned as imperialist. They loved our song, Celentano was the most sought-after star in the post-communist East, but he no longer gave concerts, and I sang some of the works written for him: this is how a long love story was born, ”she said. reminded. He began to visit Russia more often than Belpaese, allowing himself as a TV presenter (“Domenica in”, “Piacere Rayuno”) and at the first opportunity returned to San Remo, even as a guest, the historical appearance of 2013, with a choir from the former Red Army, to whom he was to sing “L’Italiano” and “Nel blu dyed blue”.

IN 2007 the beginning of the fight against cancerIn 2019, he was put on the banned list: a group of Ukrainian deputies asked to be banned, calling him “a support agent for the Russian war.” “I don’t know who to vote for in the next elections in Italy, not to mention whether I care who rules the former Soviet republics: they called me there since the USSR, but I wasn’t a communist, they call me today and I don’t support. Putin? I saw him only once, because I was invited to sing in the Kremlin, and I said hello to him, it happened that I congratulated him on his birthday, then … everything. I am apolitical, I have been accused of this until now … I sang for everyone, beautiful and ugly, red and black, high and low. And now … Let me sing with a guitar in my hand: let me sing, I am Italian, real Italian. Now everyone recognizes this, among the condolences of Prime Minister Meloni, Minister Sangiuliano, Amadeus.

PS. Toto was crazy about the classic Neapolitan song.once the then president of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev, sang “O sol mio”. And in 1987 he wrote “Napoli”, a declaration of love, albeit not very inspirational, performed in tandem with Fausto Leali on “Un disco per l’estate”.

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