I sing ammore: the songs of Pino Massara
Born Giuseppe Previde Massara in Vigevano in 1931 (he died in Padua in 2013), Pino Massaro was an orchestra conductor and composer as well as a prolific and original songwriter. He took a degree in chemistry, yet on the strength of five years of study at a conservatory he chose a career in music, making his debut in 1959. His first songs launched the crooner style of Nicola Arigliano: when Nat King Cole heard Arigliano’s recording of ‘Permettete signorina’, he decided to use it as the opening theme of his own European concerts, under the title ‘Cappuccina’. Massara was also largely responsible for launching the career of Al Bano, composing the music (with lyrics by Vito Pallavicini) for his first hits of 1967 (‘Nel sole’, for the musicarello film of the same name, for which Massara composed the soundtrack) and 1968 (‘La siepe’, presented at the Sanremo Music Festival). Massara’s music is strongly marked by the rhythms and sounds of international genres (rock ‘n’ roll, cha cha cha, tango and rhythm & blues): his songs were recorded by such artists as Dean Martin (‘Grazie prego scusi’), Wilson Pickett (‘Deborah’, written with Paolo Conte), Los Chakachas (‘Por dos besos’, launched by Bruno Martino) and, in the 1970s, Boney M, the star of Eurodisco (‘Margherita’). In addition to a series of songs written for Mina in the early part of her career, Massara famously composed several for Celentano, including ‘La coppia più bella del mondo’. He also produced soundtracks for films, stage comedies and TV dramas as well as theme music for television and radio programmes (such as ‘Batto 4’, written together with Gino Bramieri). Finally, he wrote a song for the children’s musical competition ‘Zecchino d’Oro’, which will always form part of the collective memory of young listeners (‘Il coccodrillo’).