There’s nothing quite like a broadcasting ban to boost record sales, as Italian singer Donatella Moretti found to her benefit. Quando vedrete il mio caro amore became her biggest hit as a result of its banned B-side. The singer is also known for having recorded Ti vedo uscire, the original of Cilla Black’s Don’t answer me.
Donatella Moretti was born in Perugia, in central Italy, in 1942.
At school she studied languages but also took classes in singing and in piano. Her break came when she answered an advert to take part in a new music festival – and gained a place in the very first Cantagiro contest, held in 1962. Singing L’abbraccio, she won in the category for new singers and finished third overall. Released on RCA, the song became her first top 30 hit.
Ennio Morricone was then assigned as Donatella’s arranger. Their first collaboration was on the dramatic Attento a te, which was issued as a single later that year.
In 1963, she returned to the Cantagiro, this time performing Cosa fai dei miei vent’anni.
She maintained a somewhat wholesome image at this time – but all that was about to change. Her next single, Quando vedrete il mio caro amore, came with Matrimonio d'interesse on its flip, and the latter was banned by RAI over what the broadcaster considered to be its racy language. Needless to say, the combination of beautiful ballad and banned B-side proved irresistible to record buyers, ensuring that the 45 became Donatella’s biggest chart hit.
Both sides of the release were included on her first LP, the critically acclaimed Diario di una sedicenne. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Donatella performed very few cover versions of international hits, and all the songs on the album had been penned by unknown Italian song writer Loredana Ognibene (who disappeared from the music scene as quickly as she arrived).
Mille gocce piccoline and Ti chiedo scusa were both lifted as singles from the album later that year.
Donatella maintained her chart momentum in 1964, enjoying top 40 successes with a further Cantagiro entry, La legge dell’amore, and with Ogni felicità.
By 1965, her participation in the Cantagiro was as much an annual event as the contest itself. Her entry that year has gone on to become one of the songs for which she is best known, Ti vedo uscire. It scored respectably enough at the contest – but it became a huge success for Britain’s Cilla Black as Don’t answer me, and was recorded by French singer Céline too. The A-side, Non m’importa più, gave Donatella another chart hit and has also become a fan favourite.
1966’s sweeping Chiaro di luna sul mare became Donatella’s last Cantagiro entry and her last single for RCA. (Again, the B-side, Era più di un anno, has its fair share of admirers.)
That year, she landed a deal with the Parade label, and promptly issued Se un ragazzo pensa a te, a version of Petula Clark’s I couldn’t live without your love, though the song stalled outside the charts.
She kicked off 1967 by taking part in the prestigious San Remo song festival. The practice at the time was to have two singers – one Italian and one international – perform each entry. Both Donatella and US star Bobby Goldsboro performed the ballad Una ragazza, but the song failed to make it through to the final.
Qualcosa di più became Donatella’s only other release that year. Indeed the three years she spent with Parade marked a much slower period for the singer, with just one or two 45s issued a year: Nella mia stanza in 1968, and Il mio amore and Labbra d’amore in 1969. The singer’s lower profile coupled with the label’s lack of promotional resources meant that these 45s died upon release.
Things were no better at Ellebi records – the label she joined in 1970 – so within a year she moved to King, where she issued her second album, the critical success Storia di storie. Two further albums followed on the King label.
By the late 1970s, Donatella found herself schlepping her wares from one record label to the next on an annual basis.
She continued to record throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. More recently, she has also released albums of medieval music.
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