“Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu” or as it’s sometimes known as, “Volare,” is the only Italian song to top the American pop charts. The song was written by Domenico Modugno and two others, Franco Migliacci and Mitchell Parish. In English, the title translates to “in the blue that is painted blue.”
Domenico won the Sanremo Music Festival, which is held every year in Sanremo, Italy, in 1958 with “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu.” He would go on to win it three more times in his career. Domenico wrote the music and Franco Migliacci wrote the lyrics. Mitchell Parish translated it into English so American artists could cover the song. Migliacci was inspired by something he read on the back of a package of cigarettes. He then had a dream about a man who painted himself blue and could fly. From that the words of the song came to him and they had a hit on their hands.
Domenico was born in 1928 in Polignano a Mare in Southern, Italy. It is right on the Adriatic Sea and from the pictures I have seen, is a beautiful place. He started out as a actor, began singing, and eventually starred in 44 movies in Italy. He won the Sanremo Music Festival in 1959, 1960 and 1962. While he stayed famous in Italy, he never had another hit in America. In 1984, he suffered a stroke and was never the same, finally dying of a heart attack in 1994 at the age of 66.
“Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu” was recorded by many different people, the most famous of which is probably Dean Martin who hit number twelve with the song (called just “Volare”.) Domenico Modugno’s version entered the chart on August 4, 1958 and spent five weeks at number one.
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