13 October 2008
Caterina Caselli - Il Volto Della Vita
Year of Release: 1968
It's a peculiarity of Italian popular culture that they did very much seem to enjoy taking the foreign hits of the day and putting out their own native language versions. All European nations indulged in this behaviour to a certain degree (not least the British who upset Nena by wanting an English version of "99 Red Balloons" where even the Yanks were happy with a German version) but the Italians seemed to have a whole industry going on. Sixties garage freaks can dig up endless Italian versions of tracks which were barely even hits in America, ska freaks can find some really rather ropey covers of Two Tone classics, and for all I know somebody right now is doing an Italian cover of Kate Nash. Pass it on if so - I'd like to hear it.
There is, of course, a marvellous "What The Fuck?" factor to finding some flop ditty being widely enjoyed by an Italian audience, and the above YouTube clip chronicles one of those very moments. Up above you'll find Italian actress, music producer and singer Caterina Caselli performing a frighteningly bouyant version of David McWilliams' "Days of Pearly Spencer" to a stadium filled with equally enthused folk. One can only assume that she didn't translate the lyrics literally, as obviously the subject of homelessness combined with hints of the end of the human race shouldn't naturally lead itself to this much cheer. It's a bit like seeing a stadium going bonkers to somebody doing a bouncy version of Scott Walker's "Next".
Caterina has had a long career in film and music in her native Italy, and was still releasing singles as late as 1990. I'm not too sure about her vocal rendition here, it sounds very off-key in places to my ears, but that could possibly just be because I'm so used to McWilliams' understated original.
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