Domenico Modugno

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Domenico Modugno
Partitissima modugno67.jpg
Background information
Born(1928-01-09)9 January 1928
Polignano a Mare, Apulia, Italy
Died6 August 1994(1994-08-06) (aged 66)
Lampedusa, Sicily, Italy
GenresPop, Folk, Neapolitan song
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
  • film director
  • film producer
  • politician
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar
Years active1953–1993
Labels RCA, Fonit Cetra, Curci, Carosello, Panarecord, Decca, United Artists, Jubilee

Domenico Modugno
Domenico Modugno camera.jpg
Member of the Senate
In office
18 April 1990 22 April 1992
Constituency Rome IV
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
2 July 1987 18 April 1990
Constituency Turin
Personal details
Political party Radical Party
Spouse(s)Franca Gandolfi (1955–1994; his death)
ChildrenMarcello Modugno
Marco Modugno
Massimo Modugno
(from his wife)
Fabio Camilli (from Maurizia Calì)
Professionartist, singer

Domenico Modugno (Italian pronunciation:  [doˈmeːniko moˈduɲɲo] ; 9 January 1928 – 6 August 1994) was an Italian singer, songwriter, actor, guitarist, and later in life, a member of the Italian Parliament. He is known for his 1958 international hit song "Nel blu dipinto di blu", for which he received Grammy Awards for Record and Song of the Year. He is considered the first Italian cantautore. [1]

Italian Parliament legislature of Italy

The Italian Parliament is the national parliament of the Italian Republic. It is the representative body of Italian citizens and is the successor to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1848–1861) and the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946). It is a bicameral legislature with 945 elected members and a small number of unelected members (parlamentari). The Italian Parliament is composed of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate of the Republic. The two houses are independent from one another and never meet jointly except under circumstances specified by the Constitution of Italy.

Volare (song) Song

"Nel blu, dipinto di blu", popularly known as "Volare", is a song recorded by Italian singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno. Written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, it was released as a single on 1 February 1958.

The Grammy Award for Record of the Year is presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to sales or chart position." The Record of the Year award is one of the four most prestigious categories at the awards presented annually since the 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is presented:

for commercially released singles or tracks of new vocal or instrumental recordings. Tracks from a previous year's album may be entered provided the track was not entered the previous year and provided the album did not win a Grammy. Award to the artist(s), producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s) if other than the artist.


Early life

The youngest of four children, Modugno was born at Polignano a Mare, in the province of Bari (Apulia), on 9 January 1928. [2] His father, Vito Cosimo Modugno, [3] was a municipal police commander, [2] while his mother, Pasqua Lorusso, [3] was a housewife. [2]

Polignano a Mare Comune in Apulia, Italy

Polignano a Mare is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy, located on the Adriatic Sea. The local economy mostly depends on tourism, agriculture and fishing.

Province of Bari Province in Apulia, Italy

The Province of Bari was a province in the Apulia region of Italy. Its capital was the city of Bari.

Apulia Region of Italy

Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto to the south. The region comprises 19,345 square kilometers (7,469 sq mi), and its population is about four million.

At the age of 9, his family moved to San Pietro Vernotico, in the Province of Brindisi, [4] where his father was transferred for a new job position. [5] Here Domenico attended primary school and learned San Pietro Vernotico's dialect, which belongs to the linguistic area of Lecce's dialect, similar to Sicilian. He attended secondary school in Lecce. [1]

San Pietro Vernotico Comune in Apulia, Italy

San Pietro Vernotico is a town and comune in the province of Brindisi, Apulia, on the south-east coast of Italy. Its main economic activities are tourism and the growing of olives and grapes. It was the site of a substantial Messapian community c. 500 BC

Province of Brindisi Province of Italy

The Province of Brindisi is a province in the Apulia region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Brindisi. It has an area of 1,839 square kilometres (710 sq mi) and a total population of 401,652 (2013).

Lecce Comune in Apulia, Italy

Lecce is a historic city of 95,766 inhabitants (2015) in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Lecce, the second province in the region by population, as well as one of the most important cities of Apulia. It is the main city of the Salentine Peninsula, a sub-peninsula at the heel of the Italian Peninsula and is over 2,000 years old.


While still studying, he had a role in a cinematographic version of Filumena Marturano by Eduardo De Filippo as well as some other films. [1] In 1957, his song "Lazzarella", sung by Aurelio Fierro, came second in the Festival della Canzone Napoletana, bringing him his first taste of popularity. [1] In 1958, Modugno took part in Antonio Aniante's comedy La Rosa di Zolfo at the Festival della Prosa in Venice. Also in 1958, he discovered the Italian comedy duo of Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia, became their manager and got them into a long running film career. [6] The turning point of his career came in that year, when he also participated in the Sanremo Music Festival, presenting, together with Johnny Dorelli, the song "Nel blu dipinto di blu." Co-authored by Modugno and Franco Migliacci, the song won the contest and became an enormous success worldwide. It received two Grammy Awards [7] with sales above 22 million copies, and represented Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest, where it came in third. [1]

Filumena Marturano is a play written in 1946 by Italian playwright, actor and poet Eduardo De Filippo. It is the basis for the 1950 Spanish language Argentine musical film Filomena Marturano, multiple Italian adaptations under its original title, and the 1964 film Marriage Italian Style.

Eduardo De Filippo Italian actor, playwright, screenwriter, author and poet

Eduardo De Filippo, also known simply as Eduardo was an Italian actor, playwright, screenwriter, author and poet, best known for his Neapolitan works Filumena Marturano and Napoli Milionaria. Considered one of the most important italian artists of 20th century, Eduardo was the author of many theatrical dramas staged and directed by himself first and later awarded and played outside Italy. For his artistic merits and contribution to the culture was named senatore a vita by Italian Presidente della Repubblica Sandro Pertini.

Lazzarella 1957 song performed by Aurelio Fierro

"Lazzarella" is a song composed by Domenico Modugno and Riccardo Pazzaglia. The song, with a performance by Aurelio Fierro, ranked second at the fifth edition of the Festival di Napoli. It also got an immediate commercial success, peaking at second place on the Italian hit parade.

Modugno used the money gained with "Nel blu dipinto di blu" to purchase a Ferrari, however, his car was totaled in an accident, which included his fenders being smashed. This was mentioned in the Allan Sherman song "That is why America's a nice Italian Name."

In 1959, Modugno won the Sanremo Music Festival for the second time in a row, with "Piove" (also known as "Ciao, ciao bambina"), and received second place in 1960 with "Libero." This was a successful period of time for Modugno who again represented Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1959. Later his hit song "Io" was sung by Elvis Presley in English with the title "Ask Me." [1]

"Piove " is an Italian song written by Domenico Modugno and Eduardo Verde. It won first prize at the 1959 Sanremo Music Festival, where it was performed twice, once by Modugno and once by Johnny Dorelli. The song was chosen as the Italian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1959 and Domenico Modugno was chosen to perform it.

Eurovision Song Contest 1959 song contest

The Eurovision Song Contest 1959 was the fourth edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Cannes, France, following André Claveau's win at the 1958 contest in Hilversum, Netherlands with the song "Dors, mon amour". It was the first time France hosted the event. The contest was held at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès on Wednesday 11 March 1959, and was hosted by Jacqueline Joubert.

Elvis Presley American singer and actor

Elvis Aaron Presley, also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

In 1962, Modugno won the Sanremo Music Festival a third time with "Addio..., addio...." Four years later, he again represented Italy at Eurovision with "Dio, come ti amo." Sergio Franchi recorded it in Italian (titled "Oh How Much I Love You (Dio, come ti amo!)) on his 1967 RCA Victor album, From Sergio-with Love. Jack Jones recorded it in English for his 1967 album, Our Song, under the title "Oh How Much I Love You." [1]

Eurovision Song Contest 1966 song contest

The Eurovision Song Contest 1966 was the 11th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, following France Gall's win at the 1965 contest in Naples, Italy with the song "Poupée de cire, poupée de son". It was the second time Luxembourg hosted the event after the 1961 edition. The contest was held at the Villa Louvigny on Saturday 5 March 1966 and was hosted by Josiane Chen.

"Dio, come ti amo" was performed first time as duo by Domenico Modugno and Gigliola Cinquetti in San Remo Festival, 1966. Later it was the Italian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1966, performed in Italian by Domenico Modugno.

Sergio Franchi Tenor, actor, entertainer

Sergio Franchi, born Sergio Franci Galli, was an Italian-American tenor and actor who enjoyed success in the United States and internationally after gaining notice in Britain in the early 1960s. In 1962, RCA Victor signed him to a seven-year contract and in October of that year Franchi appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed at Carnegie Hall. Sol Hurok managed Franchi's initial American concert tour.

Modugno was an actor in 44 movies (such as Appuntamento a Ischia ), and was a film producer of two (Tutto è musica of 1963 was his own biographical production). [1]

In the 1970, Modugno focused on more classic music genres and profiles, as a singer and as a musician, adapting poetry, acting on television and in lead singing roles of modern operas. [1]

Final years

In 1984, Modugno suffered a severe stroke and remained partially paralyzed; this forced him to abandon his artistic career and devote himself to rehab. [1]

From 1986, he worked for the rights of disabled people, and in June 1987, he was elected congressman for Turin in Italian Parliament, in the ranks of the Radical Party, a liberal-social political group. [1] In the past he had supported the campaigns of the Italian Socialist Party and one for divorce, in addition to criticizing the human rights' violation by the regime of Augusto Pinochet, that cost him a denial of entry in Chile, where he had been scheduled to hold a concert. [1] In this last stage of his life, instead, he was very active in social issues, fighting against inhuman conditions of patients in the Agrigento psychiatric hospital. [1]

Modugno returned on the music scene, definitively (he already held a concert for former inmates of Agrigento's mental asylum, in 1989), in 1992–1993. His last song was Delfini (Dolphins), in 1993 with his son, Massimo. [1]

On 6 August 1994, Modugno died at the age of 66, from a heart attack, on the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, while he was in his home by the sea. [1]


Sanremo Festival

Domenico Modugno at the Eurovision Song Contest 1958, singing "Nel blu dipinto di blu" Eurovision Song Contest 1958 - Domenico Modugno.png
Domenico Modugno at the Eurovision Song Contest 1958, singing "Nel blu dipinto di blu"

Modugno was the winner four times (in 1958, 1959, 1962 and 1966).

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 (in Italian) Domenico Modugno: biography
  2. 1 2 3 "Artisti – Domenico Modugno" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  3. 1 2 Raffaele Lorusso (9 January 2002). "Polignano & Mister Volare storia di un amore impossibile". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  4. Alberto Selvaggi (7 August 1995). "Controfesta per Modugno nel paese che lo adottò". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  5. Antonella Gaeta (10 January 2002). "Era orgoglioso delle sue radici". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  6. Vivarelli, Nick (2 November 2004). "Variety Reviews – How We Got the Italian Cinema into Trouble: Franco & Ciccio's Real Story – Film Reviews – Venice – Review by Nick Vivarelli". Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  7. Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 68. CN 5585.