Italy has an incredibly rich musical history that continues to inspire the artists of today. Here are 5 cover versions of Italian favorites that prove it.
To view original versions, click the artist’s name.
“La prima cosa bella”
Original: Nicola Di Bari/Ricchi e Poveri
Cover: Malika Ayane
In 2010, Malika Ayane revived this simple yet completely wonderful song that ranked at No. 2 in the 20th edition of Sanremo, presented by Di Bari alongside the group Ricchi e Poveri. Although the original is always a beloved favorite, Ayane used a delicate touch to make the song relevant again for a new generation. Her cover was even featured on the soundtrack for the film of the same name.
“Ma il cielo è sempre più blu”
Original: Rino Gaetano
Cover: Giusy Ferreri
2016 marks the 35th anniversary of singer-songwriter Rino Gaetano’s death. Out of all the many covers of this song, Giusy’s version is a top pick, her vocals matching Gaetano’s signature grit. Find it on her 2009 album Fotografie.
Cover: Pietro Gabriele
Pietro Gabriele is a fantastic young singer-songwriter and musician who comes to us from the small Italian island of Pantelleria. He performed this passionate and moving cover of Mango’s “Mediterraneo” in profound homage to his island–with scenes of its beautiful landscape playing in the background–at his show this past May at the great Teatro Europa di Aprilia. Check out MNGBlog’s interview with Gabriele here and look out for his new single on August 10!
Original: Domenico Modugno
Cover: Il Volo
When many people think of Italy and it’s music, “Volare” is one of the first songs that come to mind. Oh, how we love Il Volo’s version of this definitive Italian song! Featured on their 2015 albums Grande Amore (International Version), L’amore si muove, and Grande Amore (Spanish Version), the award-winning trio remixes the original worldwide hit with a little Latin rhythm.
Original: Renato Carosone
Cover: Gigi D’Alessio
As a Neapolitan classic, “‘O Sarracino” has been covered countless times since its release in 1958. For this remake, D’Alessio, a native of Naples himself, is joined by guitarist Michael Thompson, who lends a Santana-like flare to the track. Find it on D’Alessio’s album Malaterra, which features covers of other Neapolitan classics such as “Guaglione” (featuring Briga) and “‘O surdato ‘nnamurato.”
Gigi will play two more concerts in the U.S. this year as part of his Malaterra international tour. For more information, including tickets, visit gigidalessio.com.