Italian singer Luisa Casali is perhaps best known for having cut an earlier version of Dusty Springfield’s Give me time. Inexplicably, she failed to enjoy a hit with her version. Then, despite their quality, none of her further recordings – including the dancefloor filler Il momento della verità – managed to propel her into the premier league of Italy’s pop princesses either.
She was born Maria Luisa Capocasale in Milan in 1947.
After studying accounting, she began singing in clubs in and around Milan, and spent a season appearing in the town of Grado. She was spotted by the Philips label and offered a recording contract under a new, simplified version of her name, Luisa Casali.
Questo mio amore, a fairly traditional ballad, became her debut disc, in 1964. Arguably, the flip, Primo amore – a song in the Mina mould – proved the more interesting side.
In 1966, Luisa switched to the Fox label, where executives had great plans for the singer.
She was signed up to appear in the Rose festival. The practice was to have two singers perform each song, and Luisa appeared alongside Carmelo Pagano singing L’amore se ne va. The pair won the contest, and Luisa’s release of the song included a cracking version of US singer Bobby Hebb’s Sunny on the flip.
Surprisingly, neither she nor Pagano scored a hit with versions of their winning song – though Dusty Springfield spotted its potential. Translated as Give me time, it became a big hit for the British singer.
La tua immagine, Luisa’s take on Simon and Garfunkel’s The sound of silence, became her first release of 1967. However, it was issued in competition with versions by established star Dino and by Mike Liddell e gli Atomi, and the sales war damaged Luisa’s chances of scoring a significant chart breakthrough. The rather dull B-side, Pensami, did little to boost its appeal.
Later that year she took what many fans consider her finest song, Il momento della verità, to the Cantagiro contest, though she failed to repeat her success at the Rose festival. (Her section of the contest was won by Massimo Ranieri with Pietà per chi ti ama – a song also recorded by British singer Julie Rogers as Let me belong to you, fact fans.)
Luisa’s disappointment was compounded when her appearance at the 1967 Naples festival singing Ma come va also fell flat.
In 1968 she found herself at the Disco per l’estate contest, performing Proprio stasera. Sadly, it failed to win over jurors, and her release of the song included the unusual – and not wholly convincing – choice of the country and western-styled Lungo il fiume on the B-side.
By this time, Fox had lost interest in promoting the singer, and at the end of the decade, she abandoned the music business altogether.
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