The english in Italy
Compared with emigration to the United States of America, there were not many Italians emigrating to the United Kingdom. Consequently, not many compatriots have made it to English soil as singers, unlike what happened with the various Frankie Avalons and other protagonists of our “Americans in Italy” playlist. But there were still many English artists who sang in our language in the 1960s, with high points of absolute excellence and popularity, as in the case of the Rolling Stones, who revived their As Tears Go By with the title Con le mie lacrime, or the great David Bowie who transformed his Space Oddity into Ragazzo solo, ragazza sola.
It was primarily groups that attempted the “Italian Way”. In fact, the Rolling Stones were then joined by Procol Harum with Il tuo diamante (Shine On Brightly), the Sorrows with Mi si spezza il cuore (Take A Heart), the Hollies who sang a piece by Battisti-Mogol at Sanremo (Non prego per me), the Casuals also at Sanremo with Alla fine della strada and finally the Rokes, Italian by adoption but English by birth, with their poignant reinterpretation of an old song by Don Marino Barreto Jr., Un’anima tra le mani, which became Un’anima pura. There were also a good number of female singers, with Petula Clark and her Ciao Ciao (Downtown), the barefoot singer Sandie Shaw with E ti avrò (Girl Don’t Come), the fascinating Shirley Bassey at Sanremo in 1968 with La vita, the highly popular (in the UK) Cilla Black with M’innamoro (Step Inside Love) with a song written by Paul McCartney who also worked hard for Mary Hopkin’s career, topping the European charts with Those Were The Days, which in Italian became Quelli eran giorni.