Summer is here and with it, i tormentoni dell’estate (Italian summer songs and Italian summer hits) too! Summer looks to be fertile ground for music production and achievements.
The race to crawl and become number one in the hit parades has become a yearly ritual, in which over the years songs are first launched in summer but are not necessarily about this hot season.
In fact, many of the pieces we will name here went on to take over other lands and languages and be heard as part of movie soundtracks and covered and such exotic places as Venezuela: in fact, Loredana Bertè’s Non sono una signora, a track regularly and customarily played in Italian clubs and discos, has a cover by Venezuelan singer Melissa.
And there are plenty of these songs, so be patient and go easy on us if you don’t find your favorite song here. This article is not even thinking about intending to be the absolute ranking. Italian pop music is rich and vast, and omissions will be unavoidable.
OLD SUMMER SONGS
NEL BLU DIPINTO DI BLU (VOLARE), DOMENICO MODUGNO (1958)
Who doesn’t know or hasn’t danced to this piece? If someone comes with the question “What is the ultimate Italian song”, this will indeed pop in many people’s minds. It carries the mood of most classic Italian summer songs and belongs not only to Italian pop music but also to the cinema.
LUGLIO, RICCARDO DEL TURCO (1968)
Instead, this may be not so world-widely known but, if you have a thing for Italian ballads, stop wasting your time and give this a deserved listen.
SAPORE DI SALE, GINO PAOLI (1964)
This rings -very much- a bell with its clinky guitars that embody an American summer music flavor. Very recommendable.
TU VUO FA’ L’AMERICANO, RENATO CAROSONE (1956)
This is a song about a guy who wants to live like an American when World War II is over, all while still living on his folks’ allowance and in their home. The song mixes jazz and swing and has been covered and versioned plenty of times.
Not that there is anything worth mentioning in a sheer segment of the 70s, but we need to note that the 80s left an indelible mark upon culture. Here we will begin to notice a shift from Italian summer songs being about summer, regardless of the first theme we will mention.
For instance, from these years we may mention:
VAMOS A LA PLAYA, RIGHEIRA (1983)
It comes from the Righeira duet’s debut album, and it remains a hummable piece, played in parties, clubs, and the beach the song speaks about going to. Also a sample of how electronic music was taken over the music world bit by bit.
GLORIA, UMBERTO TOZZI (1979)
This song was penned by Giorgio Moroder, who won an Oscar with Midnight Cowboy and also wrote The Neverending Story’s soundtrack. Being Moroder’s creation, it heavily relies on electronic instruments. Gloria has a powerful rendition performed in English by the late Laura Branigan; this version belongs to the movie Flashdance. However, the song has also been played in countless other movies and TV shows.
NON SONO UNA SIGNORA, LOREDANA BERTÈ (1982)
Bertè’s heartfelt, soul-charged performance will never be forgotten and, as we previously mentioned, this track was covered in the least suspected places.
UN’ ESTATE ITALIANA, GIANNA NANNINI AND EDOARDO BENNATO (1989)
The song mentions the word estate (summer) but because Italian summers are among the greatest in the world. However, Un’estate italiana was the 1990’s World Cup anthem, very much the tune to sing along with when football matches were over and the time to share at a bonfire with fans from other national selections came.
Then, we move forward closer to our times, in which we clearly observe the presence of Latin rhythms such as reggeaton in the Italian summer songs 2020. Let us mention the one that stayed for a longer time as number one:
ITALIAN SUMMER SONGS 2020
KARAOKE, BOOMDABASH FEAT. ALESSANDRA AMOROSO
It comes with a video in which people dance and celebrate during summer nights as rapping Boomdabash alternates his performances with Amoroso’s more melodic style.
2020 honorable mentions: Guaranà, by Elodie; Ciclone, by Mariah; Il sudore ci appiccica, by Francesco Gabbani.
AS FOR THE ITALIAN SUMMER SONGS 2021, OUR WINNER IS:
PISTOLERO, ELETTRA LAMBORGHINI
A catchy reggaeton accompanied by a steamy, sexy, video. If you appreciate gym-modeled bodies this video (and song) is for you.
2021 honorable mentions: Mohicani, by Boomdabash; I wanna be your slave, by Måneskin (who have just won the San Remo music fest and the Eurovision contest); Ma stasera, by Marco Mengoni.
We hope this short tour across decades of music will help guide you when you take the time to dive into the depths of the varied Italian summer songs, and not only. Enjoy the ride!