March 8: eight women sung by Lucio Battisti

March 8: eight women sung by Lucio Battisti


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

Side A of Battisti's second 45 rpm single (1 July 1967) presents the first female portrait with a proper name by Mogol, to whom Lucio lends the music.

We start with the double Zappa quote from the incipit of “The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet” and “The Son of Suzy Creamcheese” and proceed along the lines: Luisa Rossi is a girl of new times, “who knows well that what does he do”, “he laughs with everyone”, “he gives me a day / he laughs and then goes away”, because “he loves everyone”. She is already almost a hippie, in short she, since “laughing” means “accompanying”, with her somewhat rococo metaphor. We are at the beginning of the Mogol-Battisti collaboration and a profound authorial streak has not yet blossomed in Rapetti. “Luisa Rossi” is a sketch, but an admired one: in the background, implicitly, her male peers make a bad impression, still backward given that she “risks being alone / and she knows it”. For them, a ride with her is fine, but not a story, much less a life, is the underlying message of the text. Yet it is Luisa Rossi, a name like many others, a girl like many in modern times, who wins and appears radiant in this soulful song destined for dance floors.


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

Battisti's third 45 rpm single (29 April 1968) features on the B side (on the A side there was “Prigioniero del mondo”) the song with which Battisti hits the mark and conquers the planet: 100.

000 copies in Italy, but the following year the cover by the Americans Grassroots (“Bella Linda”) was in the English Top Ten and among the top 30 in the USA. Linda, a natural and spontaneous woman, perhaps not so beautiful, is carefree (“you always laugh”), separates feelings and sex (“you never talk about love”), is sincere (“but you never know how to lie”), doesn't promises (“you don't say / that you stay with me”), but it is always present (“but you never abandon me”), it gives itself spontaneously without petty ulterior motives (“you give me what you can / you don't do like her, no , you don't do like her, / you don't get everything you want”), is so pure that her dance seems to be a metaphor for the lightness of living. She is another hippie (as confirmed by the psychedelia of the song) and another positive character, pure even, as her name suggests. Once again the male, who sings, appears a little mean: in the subtly melancholic verses, he regrets another, sweet and beautiful, a traditional stereotype. But how is it done? Absurd. And, in fact, the structure of the song is also reversed: first the chorus, then the verse.


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

Fourth 45 (October 24, 1968), third woman by name called.

Or rather two: Rosa and Maria. The first gives the title to a sunny song that contrasts with the dark B-side, “Io vivrò (without you)”, also in terms of themes: happiness versus pain; polygamy versus monogamy; freedom versus imprisonment. This, which is not one of Battisti's essential pieces, is vaguely Latin-like, at times mariachi (which Battisti must have liked quite a bit, given its reappearance in other moments of his production), but with a spinet insert, just to experiment a bit'. The protagonist, all cheerful and happy, thinks of two women, Maria and Rosa, to whom he toasts by dedicating his own “sweet song” of love, carried by the wind (a Dylan serenade?). In short, not someone who is undecided, but someone who has a good time, so much so that in the aside he states “How many faces, how many faces does love have: / I will hear a song for everyone”. In short: polygamy, sexual freedom, happiness! But more than a liberated man, it seems, thanks to the musical climate, the usual Latin scoundrel. .


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

One of Battisti's most famous songs, B-side of the Sanremo song “Un'avventura” (31 January 1969), composed already in 1966, rejected by Nomadi, should have gone to Roby Matano, but Ricordi preferred Balordi, a zany beat group and minor, who recorded it at the end of 1967.

It went unnoticed. Two years later Battisti tries again, entrusting the arrangement to Gian Piero Reverberi. Mogol delves into the psychology relating to betrayal: the protagonist, having learned that his Francesca is dating someone else, unable to absorb the blow, denies the evidence. As in the blues, the text of the verse alternates real data and personal comment: “You're wrong who you saw isn't, / it's not Francesca. / She's always at home waiting for me: / she's not Francesca. / If there was a man then, / no, it can't be her”. The reason? “Francesca never asked for more / because / she lives for me”. What is called paralogism: incorrect reasoning that is apparently true and rigorous. Which in this case results in the denial of the evidence and signals one of the first appearances of that male type that Mogol himself will call “primitive”, chauvinist and absolutely incapable of thinking that the woman can be independent and dissatisfied with the relationship, as well as capable of building it another. Morricone said that the melody that continually rises and falls “expresses with music the doubt behind the false certainty of the words”. The ending improvised in the studio on a single chord, with a Buffalo Springfield flavour, is spectacular. .


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

With “Anna”, B-side of “Emozioni” (15 October 1970), we are in full auteur mood.

The protagonist, another chauvinist “primitive”, bitterly misses Anna even though he is with another woman who serves him like a pasha. But so much anguish, so much destructive pain, so much tension conducted on two agreements are not justified only by the memory of Anna, however positive it is, even if “together with her / I was a man”, even if “how many and how many yes / she shouted / how many you don't know”. Yet even the woman of today “in the evening / can't say no to me”: so why does Battisti's voice start broken by tears, then gasp, explode proudly only by screaming Anna's name, return to almost cancel itself out and then explode in constant screams crazier after Franz Di Cioccio's legendary “breakkaccione” of 72 drum hits? Because Anna is the metaphor of an absolutely positive state of bliss. The woman of today “can't say no to me”: Anna shouted yes. It is a perfect emotional consonance, the lost paradise of human existence, which instead passes through a series of daily gestures (“a job”, “a house”, “coffee”, “he can't say no to me”) that make no sense. This is why “together with her / I was a man”: because only in a very rare state of complementarity does human existence acquire meaning. Curiosity: the choice of name is a tribute from Mogol to the wife of Gabriele Lorenzi, keyboard player for Formula 3, who had lent him her Duetto Alfa for a week in Rimini. .


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

The last 45 released by Ricordi, it is probably an outtake of “Amore e non amore”, recorded at the end of 1970, given that the musicians and themes are the same.

This beautiful rock'n'roll, led by the piano and a guitar riffing on the example of Keith Richard's in “Jumpin' Jack Flash”, is inspired by the nursery floriculturist Pierluigi Ratti and his wife Elena, from whom Mogol and Battisti based they went regularly when they were in Dosso di Coroldo, in Brianza. And the visit was always around half past seven, almost dinner time. And in fact the poor husband of “Elena no”, after having done the shopping and prepared food, is terrified by the idea of ​​having done something wrong: “Elena no, Elena no, / I don't know if I'm a man anymore. / Don't scold me: I do what you want, / I will never rebel. / (.) You know that your sacrosanct rights / are now my duties”. Elena is a “wrong” feminist, who does not understand feminism as equal rights between genders and independence of partners: she understands it as reverse machismo, therefore always domination and dependence, albeit of the opposite gender. It is therefore, like chauvinism, a “pollution” of the natural human condition and does not lead to freedom, but to another slavery. And being truly human, for Mogol, increasingly meant being free.


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

Second track of “Il mio canto libero” (November 1972), it is the portrait of a kind of adult Pippi Longstocking, who, with her uninhibited, not only sexual, habits, turns her country upside down.

Mogol: “The protagonist is another Luisa Rossi. a free girl, completely uninhibited”. She hung her red dress to flutter on the bell tower, she remained completely and proudly naked, to decide on a boyfriend she is trying out all the males in the town and when the butcher's son asks her in marriage, she replies to him that she is not “a steak”. She is an adorable chastisement, greedy for life to the point of excess, with a marked anticlerical propensity: she hoisted her red dress to wave on the bell tower, she tied up the curate who prays for her every day, she danced around him Indian style with pale faces, and she burned the church, like a Barcelona anarchist in 1936. The refrain warns her that “it's not usually done like this!”, but Mogol's sympathy is so evident that he concludes: “I have the impression that if you don't stop you will end up in hell, / but if nothing else you will make that place happier and more humane!”. The exaltation of the rascal is also evident in the sunny connotation of the name; in the vocal arrangement for which the solo voice pronounces “luci” and an almost Verdi-like male choir completes the name with the syllable “ah!”, halfway between the sigh of desire and the moan of pleasure.


Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

The last song by the Battisti-Mogol duo to have a woman's name in the title arrived in March 1977, the fourth track of “Io tu noi tutti”. The ebb is imminent and Mogol has passed the age of 40, so he proclaims that he has reached a “hard-fought and new maturity”. Yet, in what seems like a conversation between friends, it is clear that he is still thinking about his ex, Elisa. The song is autobiographical, as Mogol clarified: “She was a bit of a child and immature. (…) I got angry because whatever mirror flashed she became a bit prey to it. (…) Elisa was an invented name, she existed, but she had another name”. Yet, despite proclaiming that “the anger is gone, / Taking with it / The dramas of life”, he still thinks of his ex, who, if she was a little too prone to “those somewhat childish whims / Useless jewellery”, but it aroused “excitement” and “easy emotions” and guaranteed a “sensual embrace”. So the confidant friend shakes his head: “You still love Elisa”. And the protagonist: “I swear no! / Now I'm calm / like a duck on the lake / now I'm satisfied!”. Self-critical and ironic song.

(Bonus tracks) FOR YOU TOO

Music by Lucio Battisti, words by Mogol

No women's names, but this piano rock ballad that gives you chills and goosebumps, the back of “La canzone del sole” (November 1971), is the best of those “songs written trying to interpret female psychology, born therefore not from direct consciousness but from indirect observation” (Mogol), written in that period. Three women, three moments of the day, three solitudes. At night, a nun (or a widow?) gets dressed without looking in the mirror and enters the church to pray, while she thinks about “the world, now, so far away for you”; almost dawn, a prostitute returns home, she places “the money next to him who is sleeping” (the pimp and companion), with a gesture of love for him who evidently “doesn't know what to do with it”; early in the morning, a single mother, for whom “a mistake (…) cost a lot”, accompanies her son to school and then goes to work, and trembles “when looking at a man” and lives “with regret”, because the conventions patriarchal societies deprive her of the possibility of a new relationship. Three women forced to give up life by a chauvinist society, to whom the solidarity of those who observe them goes (“I would like to die for you too and I don't know how to die / even for you I would give something that I don't have”), but is held back by their own everyday life and the relationship he experiences. Today we will say: there it is, the male complex of the Savior. But, hey, here we are in 1971 and nothing is taken for granted. And this is a masterpiece. Also of sensitivity.

Texts by Renzo Stefanel, author of “But there is something I don't forget”, which can be purchased here and which we have reviewed here.