Italian singer Adelmo Fornaciari, known as Zucchero (or “sugar”), is sometimes described as the father of Italian blues. During his 40-year career, Zucchero has sold millions of albums and collaborated with heavyweights including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jeff Beck.
• Zucchero was an adolescent when he discovered the blues and soul through an American neighbor who taught him a handful of songs on guitar. Zucchero was soon playing music in local groups.
• By 1981, Zucchero was part of a band named Taxi, which won the Castrocaro Festival for new talent with their song “Canto Te.”
• Zucchero’s solo career began with his 1983 LP Un po' di Zucchero, the first of 14 studio albums he would release over the next three and a half decades.
• He recorded his second album, 1985’s Zucchero & The Randy Jackson Band, after meeting Jackson on a trip to San Francisco.
• The singer’s 1986 album Rispetto was his first to enter the Italian charts, reaching No. 7. The album featured contributions from Bruce Springsteen collaborators Clarence Clemons and David Sancious, along with The Memphis Horns.
• His 1987 release Blue’s kicked off a streak of nine consecutive No. 1 solo LPs, interrupted only by the soundtrack he wrote for the 1988 film Snack Bar Budapest, which reached No. 14.
• Clapton played guitar on “A Wonderful World” from Zucchero’s 1989 album Oro Incenso & Birra, while Italian film composer Ennio Morricone wrote the track “Libera L’Amore.”
• Though Zucchero was known more for albums than singles, he had a Top 10 hit across Europe in 1991 with “Senza una donna (Without a Woman),” a duet with the English singer Paul Young. The song reached No. 4 in the UK and topped the Italian singles chart.
• Zucchero’s 2004 compilation Zu & Co. featured guest performers on new recordings of previously released songs, including Clapton, Sting, Miles Davis, Brian May of Queen, and opera stars Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. The album hit No. 1 in Italy, and reached No. 84 in the US—his only American chart entry.
BORNSeptember 25, 1955