In July this year, the History and Stories from the World of Pirelli section has been looking at music: we started with an issue of the Fatti e Notizie house organ, which talked about the musical programme of the then-newly created Pirelli Cultural Centre, and we end today with another issue of the same magazine. July 1971 – just a couple of months after the Pirelli house organ had adopted the large format typical of magazines at the time. That was the month that the Varietà section was launched, with songs, TV, the pop star system, the Sanremo Festival and Canzonissima. The first “semi-serious interview” in Varietà in July of 47 years ago was devoted to Virginia Ann “Minnie” Minoprio, a soubrette whom the not-so-young will certainly remember, together with Fred Bongusto, in the closing signature tune of Speciale per noi, aired on television in January and February that year. A professional dancer, born on 4 July 1942 in Ware, not far from London, Minnie Minoprio was discovered by Walter Chiari, who was talent-scouting in England for a musical, Io e la margherita. Coming up for thirty, Minoprio had already had a career in musicals, films, advertising, and Saturday-night shows. But the Italians will always remember her for her performance with Fred Bongusto, to the notes of Quando mi dici così. We have already mentioned this for the cover of the periodical Vado e Torno, but we cannot fail to recall the protagonist of the Varietà section in September 1971: Nicoletta Strambelli, alias Patty Pravo. So many years have gone by that we cannot know if the interviews with Varietà were real or if they were concocted by the editors, but Patty Pravo talking about herself for all of page 19 is exactly how we imagine her. From her opinions about her singer colleagues, to her dim view of journalists, to her ambivalent relationship with the public, through to insights into her private life which, in 1971, which were quite eye-opening. The Varietà section in Fatti e Notizie continued until July 1972: after portraits of other queens of Italian pop, such as Mina and Ornella Vanoni, the section gradually moved towards actors. But music always remained part of the company magazine: right from the outset, the Canzoni section appeared alongside Varietà. a complete panorama of an Italy that sang, listened to 45 rpm singles, followed Cantagiro and Festivalbar and, especially, never missed a word of musical gossip. Is Rita Pavone having family problems? Is Nada on the decline? Will Gianni Morandi cold-shoulder the Sanremo Festival in ’72? Like Varietà, also Canzoni first came out in Fatti e Notizie in July 1971. The subject was the flop of Cantagiro that year, with Aretha Franklin and Led Zeppelin firing up the audience at the Vigorelli until the police were called in. The last Canzoni was in October 1972, with an interview with a certain Cristiano Rossi, a twenty-five-year-old from Palermo, living with his family in Milan, a former player with Palermo and Mantova. A few years previously, Mina had heard him singing and convinced him not only to hang up his boots, but also to take part in Pippo Baudo’s “Settevoci”, with the stage name “Christian”. He sang the signature tune of the “Chissà chi lo sa” television programme in 1972. “Future plans?” “Lots of evening gigs, then the Sanremo Festival and a trip to Japan for a tour. And for our column, it will be holiday time too. In the month of August we will look at the Italians on holiday – at the seaside, in the mountains, or directly in the pages of Pirelli magazine.

Minnie Minoprio Mike Bongiorno Raffaella Carrà Christian Mino Reitano Nada Claudio Villa Nicola Di Bari Rosanna Fratello Ornella Vanoni

 

26/07/2018