Rino Gaetano

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About Rino Gaetano

Rino Gaetano was a famous Italian satirical singer/songwriter of the 1970s. When young Rino was ten years old, his family moved from Crotone (Calabria) to Rome in search of work. The singer would spend the rest of his life in the capital city, but his humble Southern roots would be in evidence throughout his career. Indeed, Gaetano was predisposed from the start to assume the role of the outsider, a public persona that he constructed, artfully and gleefully, in a series of iconoclastic records and stage appearances. His irreverent and idiosyncratic lyrics and singing style were at odds with both the commercial mainstream and the politically engaged Italian artists of the time, so Gaetano's early recordings, 1973's single "I Love You Marianna" and 1974's album Ingresso Libero, failed to make waves. Recognition finally came with the song "Il Cielo è Sempre Più Blu," a typically corrosive description of Italian society that unexpectedly made it to the top of the charts in 1975. Between 1976 and 1980 Gaetano recorded a string of successful albums (Mio Fratello è Figlio Unico, Aida, Nuntereggae Più, Resta Vile Maschio Dove Vai), that cemented his reputation as Italy's foremost ironic commentator on the country's sexual conservatism, religious hypocrisy, and political corruption. A unique free spirit, Gaetano's colorful persona was strengthened by his outlandish performances and outfits, notably at the San Remo festival, the traditional event of Italian popular music that Gaetano loved to mock -- while at the same time being cynically aware that he also needed to perform there in order to sell records. Tragically, Gaetano died in a car accident in Rome on June 2, 1981, only weeks before his marriage. He was 31 years old. ~ Mariano Prunes

Crotone, Italy
October 29, 1950
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