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Rubber Records: Female Singers in Vado e Torno magazine

Today we shall look at music in the “Stories from the World of Pirelli” section, going back over some of the close-ups that Vado e Torno, the “Servizio Propaganda Pirelli” periodical for road hauliers, devoted to female singers who helped write the history of pop music. And those who, like Patty Pravo, have continued to make history to this day. It is almost superfluous to say that Nicoletta Strambelli-Patty Pravo was born in Venice on 9 April 1948: on the cover of the May 1970 issue of Vado e Torno, she has the fluffy curls she wore at Sanremo, where she took her La spada nel cuore with Little Tony, obtaining a very honourable fifth place. In November that year came her Tutt’al più. At the age of twenty-two, Patty Pravo was universally known as “La ragazza del Piper” – after the club in Rome that launched her into the star system of pop music – and had already notched up hits like Ragazzo triste, Qui e là, and Se perdo te. And especially, the whole world had been singing La bambola for a couple of years: 9 million copies sold in 1968 alone, 40 million to date. After that, it would be almost impossible to list all the successes of “the Piper girl”, from Pazza idea, which caused such a scandal in the 1970s, to her reinterpretation of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, and then Pensiero stupendo, through to her recent Cieli immensi. An icon of pop music, she still manages to amaze audiences today with her vitality and ability not to give in to the passing of time.

Exactly a year before it displayed the blonde Patty Pravo, the May-June cover of Vado e Torno was taken up by the French-Bulgarian singer Sylvie Vartan. Of Armenian origin, she was born Vartanian, her real name, in 1945 in Iskrets, a suburb of Sofia. She moved to Paris in 1952 and married the rock star Johnny Hallyday in 1965, becoming a massive star in France as the “twisting schoolgirl”. But it was in Italy that she became “la ragazza yé-yé”: Mina and Gino Bramieri competed to have her on their television shows, where she reinterpreted herself in Italian with songs like Come un ragazzo and Irresistibilmente. In 1968 Sylvie was involved in a car crash that led to her having to undergo delicate plastic surgery on her face, but she lost none of her appeal.

Two covers – in October 1964 and September 1968 – were devoted to Catherine Spaak, who inevitably calls to mind her versions of two Burt Bacharach songs, rendered as Io non m’innamoro più and Promesse promesse (1970) – with her future husband Johnny Dorelli. Born French in 1945 but naturalised Italian, she had already been famous for some years for another two iconic pop songs: L’esercito del surf (Noi siamo i giovani) and, especially, the Italian version of that ode to French musical existentialism that is Tous les garcons et les filles, which was sung in France by Françoise Hardy.

Today we shall look at music in the “Stories from the World of Pirelli” section, going back over some of the close-ups that Vado e Torno, the “Servizio Propaganda Pirelli” periodical for road hauliers, devoted to female singers who helped write the history of pop music. And those who, like Patty Pravo, have continued to make history to this day. It is almost superfluous to say that Nicoletta Strambelli-Patty Pravo was born in Venice on 9 April 1948: on the cover of the May 1970 issue of Vado e Torno, she has the fluffy curls she wore at Sanremo, where she took her La spada nel cuore with Little Tony, obtaining a very honourable fifth place. In November that year came her Tutt’al più. At the age of twenty-two, Patty Pravo was universally known as “La ragazza del Piper” – after the club in Rome that launched her into the star system of pop music – and had already notched up hits like Ragazzo triste, Qui e là, and Se perdo te. And especially, the whole world had been singing La bambola for a couple of years: 9 million copies sold in 1968 alone, 40 million to date. After that, it would be almost impossible to list all the successes of “the Piper girl”, from Pazza idea, which caused such a scandal in the 1970s, to her reinterpretation of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, and then Pensiero stupendo, through to her recent Cieli immensi. An icon of pop music, she still manages to amaze audiences today with her vitality and ability not to give in to the passing of time.

Exactly a year before it displayed the blonde Patty Pravo, the May-June cover of Vado e Torno was taken up by the French-Bulgarian singer Sylvie Vartan. Of Armenian origin, she was born Vartanian, her real name, in 1945 in Iskrets, a suburb of Sofia. She moved to Paris in 1952 and married the rock star Johnny Hallyday in 1965, becoming a massive star in France as the “twisting schoolgirl”. But it was in Italy that she became “la ragazza yé-yé”: Mina and Gino Bramieri competed to have her on their television shows, where she reinterpreted herself in Italian with songs like Come un ragazzo and Irresistibilmente. In 1968 Sylvie was involved in a car crash that led to her having to undergo delicate plastic surgery on her face, but she lost none of her appeal.

Two covers – in October 1964 and September 1968 – were devoted to Catherine Spaak, who inevitably calls to mind her versions of two Burt Bacharach songs, rendered as Io non m’innamoro più and Promesse promesse (1970) – with her future husband Johnny Dorelli. Born French in 1945 but naturalised Italian, she had already been famous for some years for another two iconic pop songs: L’esercito del surf (Noi siamo i giovani) and, especially, the Italian version of that ode to French musical existentialism that is Tous les garcons et les filles, which was sung in France by Françoise Hardy.

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