The year in which Zucchero asked for a little "Respect"

The year in which Zucchero asked for a little “Respect”

Before capturing that success, which still comes to him in enormous quantities today, with the album “Blues” in 1987, Sugar did the dress rehearsals the previous year with “Respect”. The third album by the Emilian musician was published on 28 April 1986 after his participation in the Sanremo festival with “Sad song”. In the year-end charts in our country it was eleventh in terms of sales. The following is the review he wrote for us Ivano Rebustini.

11 September 1986: the winner of the '81 Castrocaro Festival Adelmo Fornaciari – who definitively transformed into Zucchero a year and a half earlier with his breakthrough album, recorded together with the Randy Jackson band – becomes in every sense a man of “Respect”, definitively leaving behind the past made up of New Lights (the first complex, as it was called then) and old shadows. Zucchero, Sugar: this is how they know him in English-speaking countries and this is how (Sugar & Daniel, Sugar & Candies) he decided to be called in the dance halls of Forte dei Marmi, where according to more or less official biographies a free-range R&B (but perhaps even a bit of smooth music) to redeem himself from the unmemorable songs written for others; an atmosphere artificially – but not too much – recreated in '93, together with the former leader of Equipe 84 Maurizio Vandelli and the guitarist of Pooh Dodi Battaglia, in his and our fun of “Walzer d'un blues”, attributed to Adelmo and his Sorapis.

Man of “Respect” and “big respect” to the sumptuous cast of this album, the third ever, made between San Francisco and Milan, Modena and Bologna: the manager-factotum Michele Torpedine joins Zucchero – in the Randy Jackson band, led by monumental bassist (only namesake of the “brother of”) who seems like the governess of American films of the fifties – the guitarist (and producer) Corrado Rustici, this yes younger brother of Danilo of Osanna; drummer Narada Michael Walden, Billy Cobham's successor in John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra (even if the holder of the sticks is the less famous and celebrated Giorgjo Francis Perry) and David Sancious, former keyboard player of Bruce Springsteen's E Street band.

It's not over: on the “fabulous” Hammond C3 sits none other than the revived Brian Auger, on sax there are the Rastafarian Frank Raya and the square session man Eric Daniel and on percussion the overwhelming Rosario Jermano, Neapolitan like Rustici.

After the band's introduction, it is immediately the title track, with the keyboards that echo the strings of the purest Philly sound and Adelmo – whose cover and booklet remind us of being incredibly hairless, thin and with sexy temptations, but perhaps he is a lookalike – to pay homage to his legend par excellence Joe Cocker, next to whom Zucchero (or his lookalike) managed to have himself photographed and to whom in exchange for the favor Fornaciari dedicated “New wonderful friend”: “But tell me yes, you have to give me a hand ” (once it was said “little help”, but there was already one of “Little help” in the previous album…), with undiplomatic incursions into the privacy of the reborn Joe (“It was a really bad life” and again “ They told me you were finished but you weren't”, and in fact '86 is the year of “Nine and a half weeks” and “You can leave your hat on”).

After the ballad “Come il sole all'impresa” – written together with Gino Paoli, who would have sung it with the owner of the house in a single in support of the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association, completed by the extended version of “A reason for live” -, “Tra Uomo e Donna” arrives, a reggae more like Vasco Rossi than Bob Marley, the circumventable “In the house there was” and the aforementioned “Unareason…”, fifty-six seconds quite inspired by voice and orchestra.

“Just sitting on the bench in the port I watch the ships leave…” deserves a separate discussion; the title recalls the kilometric ones of “Amore e non amore”, the “experimental” album by Lucio Battisti (“Sitting under a plane tree…”), while in the text Zucchero bothers not only Mogol, but also Salvatore Quasimodo: “Pierced only by a ray of light” is a clumsy imitation of “Pierced by a ray of sun”, one of the three lines of “And it's immediately evening”. After all – between words, music and gestures – Zucchero had us and would have accustomed us to this and more, from “Donne” aka “No woman, no cry” to “Blu” aka “Era lei” by Michele Pecora, passing through 'injury – let's call it that – of “The impetuous sea at sunset rose to the moon and behind a curtain of stars…”, not very freely inspired by a poem by the immense (he is) Livorno singer-songwriter Piero Ciampi.

“Go home” (does this mean being prejudiced or does the beginning, before turning towards Jamaica, recall Bach's “Bouree” remade by Jethro Tull in “Stand up”?) and the not despicable homage to Cocker precede the “ Sad song” presented the same year in Sanremo and the final, risky “No-no (Don't tell him no)”: “What a beautiful pussy she came to me/Your daughter is now sexier than you/What do you want her to do? let me die/Either I go to heaven or to paranoia”. We all know where Zucchero went instead: “Rispetto” climbs the hit parade, stopping at seventh place, but the apotheosis is only postponed. The following year “Blue's” will be the best-selling album in Italy, giving rise to his brilliant international career. But, as that guy said, not all that glitters is “Gold, incense and beer”.