Italian singer Marisa Sannia enjoyed a string of hits after established star Sergio Endrigo became her svengali in 1966. Her easiness on the eye and a sackful of high-quality songs ensured her popularity for the rest of the decade.
She was born on 15 February 1947 in Iglesias in Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. As a child she loved both sport and music – but it was music that won out in the end.
Her first public appearance came at a local contest for new singers in 1965, where she finished in second place having performed Perduto amore, a hit for Adamo a year earlier. The following year she won a contest organised jointly by the RAI television station and the Fonit Cetra record label – and was offered a recording contract as a result.
She was taken under the wing of established star Sergio Endrigo and composer and orchestra leader Luis Enriquez Bacalov. Endrigo helped compose her debut single, Tutto o niente, which was issued in the autumn of 1966 and made the top 40. It was followed quickly by the somewhat schmaltzy Christmas release Una cartolina.
In 1967 she took part in the Festivalbar contest with the classy Sara fiero di me, which finished third in the young singers’ section but was the critics’ first choice. The song had been written by Bacalov and seasoned writers Franco Migliacci and Bruno Zambrini, who between them had penned hits for the likes of Mina, Rita Pavone and Peggy March.
The follow up, Sono innamorata (ma non tanto), is largely overlooked by fans in favour of its flip, the US girl group-esque Non è questo l’addio.
Her popularity led to two film appearances that year, in Stasera mi butto and I ragazzi di bandiera gialla.
In February 1968 she appeared at the prestigious San Remo song festival with Casa bianca. The practice at the time was to have two singers perform each song, and Marisa shared singing duties with Ornella Vanoni. The song finished second and gave Marisa her biggest hit, reaching the top three in April that year and spending nine weeks in the top ten altogether. Her success prompted the release of her first album.
Sadly, neither Colpo di vento nor the subsequent Io ti sento, from the film Straziami ma di baci saziami, could repeat the feat.
Later that year, Marisa appeared on the televised Canzonissima contest singing the classy Una donna sola.
E se qualcuno si innamoratà di me, also known as La playa, was a cover of Marie Laforêt’s French hit and proved her final release for Fonit Cetra before she switched to the CGD label.
The hummable La compagnia proved a disappointing start for the new label in 1969 but she quickly redeemed herself with a return to the charts with Una lacrima. Later that year she took Una finestra illuminata to the semi-final of the 1969 Canzonissima.
1970 found her back in the San Remo contest with L’amore è un colomba and in the Canzonissima with La primavera, and saw the release of her second album, a collection of songs penned by Sergio Endrigo.
Further, erm, interesting moves in the early 1970s included the release of a version of the international country ‘n’ western hit Snowbird and an album of Disney songs.
She retired from the music business in 1977 but turned up in various films and TV series in the 1980s before making a return to the San Remo stage in 1984 with Amore amore. In 1993 she issued the first of several albums of songs sung in the Sardinian language.
Sadly, she died in April 2008.