Italo and pop music

 

Italo and pop music

In the late 80s there was an interview in a music magazine with Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys who explained that they had spent in 1982 and 1983 a lot of time listening to Italian radiostations and buying lots of Italo Disco stuff. The records sounded "cheesy" to them but in a good sense and it became part of the synthpop style of the Pet Shop Boys which you can hear in their productions from 1984 -1990. But it was also the other way round. When you listen to the dance and Eurobeat productions from 1988 - 1990 of Robert Zanetti you can hear the Pet Shop Boys basics in these tracks and another good example is Eddy Huntingtons' track "Mayday".

A lot of Italian groups also tried to imitate the British pop sound in the 80s. New Order, Joy Division, Yazoo, Thompson Twins, Heaven 17, ABC, Duran Duran and OMD are good examples of music that influenced some Italian producers. Italian producers covered a lot of British and USA pop songs for their domestic market and sometimes the cover was better known than the original also because of the earlier mentioned problem with vinyl imports and high exchange rates. A nice example is the record of Brenda Howens -"What a feeling", this version was more popular in Italy than the original Flashdance song! This "covering" happened in the 80s, 90s and 2000s. Often the Italians choose a name that was close to the original name and they even did it with Italo Disco songs. On the Discomagic label you can find names like Khen Lesslow or Valerie Dorrel because they couldn't use the original name but the musicians played the original music with a different vocalist(s). So if you do it this way it's legal and you can profit from the old composition.

In Italy there is a much thinner line between the pop music scene and the dance music scene as we can see in other countries like the UK, USA and Germany. A lot of Italian pop artists also worked for Italo Disco projects or started with them and later became Italian pop artists. A very good example is Marco Masini who started working as a composer for different projects for Xenon Records and BMS Records. In 1996 he started his solo career as an Italian popsinger with big success. Another one is Celso Valli who produced the early Italo Funk or Disco tracks and later became the producer of Eros Ramazzotti. Let's not forget Roberto Zanetti who gained hug e success with Savage, Alexia and Ice MC but nowadays he is producing Zucchero. The thin line mentioned above is also the reason that a lot of pop tracks were made into dance versions, the Italians love this. The King of Covers is surely Mauro Farina, he turned a lot of popsongs into dancefloor fillers, see the SAIFAM catalogue for many examples.