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On the other hand I had the Delirium with Jesahel under my belt, a success beyond Europe that had seven versions in France alone and was released in England, even though in 1972 it was a completely closed territory for us. An Italian song hardly ever ended up in the English charts, and yet Jesahel had reached a good position in the version by a band called Congregation. What was even more peculiar at that time was that it had come out in the United States and that there had even been a Vietnamese version. An incredible feat that I couldn’t really fully appreciate, perhaps nowadays it would be different, I would know how to behave in such an amazing situation. Sometimes when you are twenty there’s a kind of disbelief, it seems impossible that the record with your face on the cover has been released in Germany, in France, but especially in non-European countries. Among other things, it had also won the critics award at the Sanremo Festival, go figure! I only performed over there one other time, almost thirty years later, in 1999, as a “super guest”, such a ridiculous expression it made me feel embarrassed. The advantage of living in Liguria allowed me to go home the same evening, which was definitely a plus.

And to think that everything had begun almost as a joke one evening in Genoa. I had arranged to see Oscar Prudente, he is still a dear friend of mine and a very talented person. We have written many songs together, such as Pensiero stupendo, and also shared funny experiences. In 1976, for example, we played together entertaining Eugenio Costa’s cruisers back and forth on the Genoa-Istanbul route. That evening a few years ago we found ourselves in a club in Genoa, where there used to be gigs, mostly jam sessions. I was eighteen and he was just a bit older than me. We were in the upper room, I was sitting on the pool table, and he made me listen to those chords that sounded like a chant, saying, “It’s great you’re able to write lyrics for songs, why don’t you have a go”? To tell the truth, at the time I had also written a couple of songs, but they were sketches that I’d never even kept, I did not really feel I was a “songwriter”. I had stopped studying, and played in bands. Although I had the strong intention of working in music, I never thought about singing, let alone recording. It must be said that at that time it was not easy to get into the recording studio. I sat two examinations at the Lanaro Academy at the Conservatory of Genoa: I often read in the newspapers that I have a diploma, but in actual fact I started playing the piano when I was eight, and I have done nothing else besides those couple of exams, apart from the musical theory which allowed me to go from the piano to playing other instruments. Then of course I resumed studying the piano in 1993, and still do now.

That evening Oscar had involved me in this game of “Come on, let’s have a go”. The fact is that in a short time the words came out, I wrote lyrics that were not based on any technique because I did not have the technique then, I had no experience. There, at the moment when the words came out, everything happened almost as a joke, also because we knew, we believed, indeed, that there would never be a use for them. It was a bit as if we were completely different people that one night decide to have fun writing a song just for the hell of it. That’s how it was. We did not think in any way that the work could amount to anything. It was a coincidence that, two years later – I had formed the band Delirium – I remembered that song lying at the bottom of the proverbial drawer. We were prompted to publish it because the people at the record company liked it very much, and being experts of the trade, they were not mistaken. Also what came after that was all quite casual. Jesahel sold more than a million copies in Italy in our version, in addition to all those that made it a huge success.


Quoted from Fossati, Ivano, Carte da decifrare, Torino, Einaudi, 2001, pp. 24-27