Whenever I ask my students about the Italian music they like and remember, they sing me cheesy songs from the eighties, or even before. It is fascinating to me to know why some songs resonate with my students more than others. So I’ve started to note down the songs they remember and compare the success these songs had abroad with their success in Italy. 

Let’s start with Ricchi & Poveri. A pop band born out of and made famous at the Italian music festival “Sanremo”, I was shocked to learn that they were in fact well known worldwide.

In the last few years I also discovered that Ti amo by UmbertoTozzi was a must-have for (almost)every party. Luckily for Umberto Tozzi the #metoo movement was not around when the song came out. These days, proclaiming “I love to see a woman ironing and singing” is not considered very romantic or modern!

Sophia Loren’s dance moves and Mr Ripley’s adventures made this song famous. Although now considered a classic of Italian music by those outside Italy, it’s not actually even sung in Italian, but in Neapolitan. And I bet that not all young Italians know this song. This is the beauty of music…

This last song is everywhere. Two famous fashion houses have decided to use this song for their Christmas commercials at the same time. Una canzone alla moda, as we would say!

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