Italian singer Anna Identici relied almost exclusively on appearances in song contests for chart success. She enjoyed just one top ten hit, with the San Remo runner up Quando m’innamoro, in 1968. However, it is her Non mi cambieri – issued as a B-side later that year – that has fans of Italian girl pop in raptures.
She was born on 30 July 1947 in Castelleone, northern Italy.
Her first contest was 1962’s Crema carnival. It led to her appearance in 1964’s Castrocaro festival, where she reached the final with Lo stile adatto a me.
She was more successful a year later, winning the Zurich festival with Un bene grande così, and a stint as presenter Mike Bongiorno’s sidekick on the television programme La fiera dei sogni helped boost her visibility further with the record-buying public. (Anna Marchetti also performed a similar role on the show.)
In 1966 she took part in the San Remo song festival, competing against established stars such as Milva and Gigliola Cinquetti and newcomer Caterina Caselli. Anna’s song, Una rosa da Vienna, was also performed by The New Christy Minstrels, and she hid her disappointment as the American group took it into the final, finishing 13th. Both she and the group scored top 30 hits with the song.
An attempt to represent neighbouring Switzerland at the Eurovision song contest with the decidedly middle-of-the-road Uno ha bisogna dell’altro failed – she lost out to Madeleine Pascal singing Ne vois-tu pas at the national final.
Anna went on to take part in that year’s Un disco per l'estate contest performing the Simon and Garfunkel-esque Una lettera al giorno.
Two further 45s, Bentornato a casa and the Christmas-themed Tu scendi dalle stelle, and an album rounded off the year.
She found herself back at the Disco per l’estate in 1967, this time performing Tanto, tanto caro, and took part in the Rose festival with Al bar del corso. Neither proved the big hit she had hoped for.
Her final single of the year, Non passa più, fared no better.
1968 began well, however. Looking sugar sweet, Anna returned to the San Remo festival, singing the big ballad Quando m’innamoro. Californian group The Sandpipers also performed the song, and with a feeling of déjà vu, she watched as their version was voted into the final rather than hers, and finished second overall. However, hers was the bigger hit, reaching the top ten in March 1968.
In the UK, easy listening star Engelbert Humperdinck recorded the song as A man without love, and took it to number two in the charts.
Anna reached the final of that year’s Disco per l’estate contest with Non calpestate i fiori, though fans to prefer to flip the resultant single over for Non mi cambierai, her version of a song which, with lyrics by soul singer Barry White, was issued in the US by Felice Taylor as I feel love comin’ on.
Subsequent releases that year, Sorri sorri sorridi and Più importante dell’amore, failed to repeat her earlier success.
She was signed up to appear at the San Remo festival again in 1969.
However, she attempted to commit suicide shortly before the event and was replaced at the last minute by Rosanna Fratello, who sang Il treno. Anna made a full recovery and both singers enjoyed small hits with the song. (The B-side of Anna’s 45, La gente vola, is catchier and has become more popular among fans.)
The single Bambino no no no and a second album were also issued later that year.
She appeared again at 1970 San Remo, this time in full ball gown, singing Taxi. To her surprise and relief, she made it through to the final, and finished eighth. However, her relative success did not translate into record sales, and the song made just number 34 in the Italian charts.
She also took part in the Canzonissima that autumn with La lunga stagione dell’amore and finished third in the Naples festival with the song Distrattamente.
Within a year she turned her back on pop music, opting for a more traditional folk style with the album Alle mia gente and subsequent releases.