Ornella Vanoni Bookmark and Share


22 September 1934

She started her artistic career in 1960 as a theatrical actress of Bertolt Brecht works under the direction of Giorgio Strehler. At the same time, she started singing, recording for a high-class public. The folklore and popular songs she reinvented in her recordings of this period, especially ones connected with organized crime, gave her the nickname of cantante della mala (literally translated as 'the singer of the underworld')

Soon after her popularity rose, thanks to the songs 'Senza fine' and 'Che cosa c'è' (1963) written for her by Gino Paoli. In 1964 she won the Napoli Festival with 'Tu si na cosa grande'. She subsequently took part in a series of Sanremo festivals, which resulted in great successes with the songs; 'Abbracciami forte' (1965), 'Io ti darò di più' (1966), 'La musica è finita' (1967), 'Casa bianca' (1968), and 'Eternità' (1970). 'Casa Bianca', which came second, was the subject of the dispute between its author Don Backy and the Clan of Adriano Celentano because of copyright problems. During the same period she released the songs 'Una ragione di più', 'Un'ora sola ti vorrei', 'L'appuntamento' and 'Non Dirmi Niente', which, as 'Don't Make Me Over', was a hit in Great Britain for the Swinging Blue Jeans.

In 1976 she met Vinicius de Moraes and Toquinho, and she released the songs 'La voglia, la pazzia, l'incoscienza e l'allegria'. During the 1980s she also released 'Ricetta di donna' (1980), 'Uomini' (1983) and 'Ti lascio una canzone' (1985, a duet sung with Gino Paoli). In 1989 she returned to Sanremo with the song 'Io come farò'. She lost the contest in favour of Ana Oxa, who performed in a very  revealing dress. Vanoni was furious for losing with a ‘fantastic song in favour of Ana’s butt”.

In 1999 she recorded 'Alberi', a duet sung with Enzo Gragnaniello. She was mostly active in live concerts and as a guest singer in recordings. In 2004 she released a duo album with Gino Paoli as a way of celebrating her 70th birthday. In addition to her singing career, Ornella Vanoni was active in many other performing arts. Apart from the aforementioned theatre career, she also took part in movies, posed nude for the Italian version of Playboy Italy and also participated in television programmes such as a parody of a velina of Striscia la notizia.

The inclusion of her hit 'L'Appuntamento' (1970) on the Ocean's Twelve soundtrack sparked a renewal of interest in Vanoni's work. In 2013 Ornella annouced her retirement from the recording studio with her last ever album 'Meticci'.

On the web:

- Ornella's website: http://www.ornellavanoni.it

What do we think:

PR: La Vanoni has been around on the Italian pop music scene since its birth. She recorded her first songs at the end of the fifties and has not stopped recording ever since. Apart from all her qualities as a singer, interpretor and sometimes lyricist, it is a big achievement that she never recorded a really bad album. Even during the eighties, when so many (female) singers recorded albums full of synthesizer crap, she just stick with what she does best: traditional Italian pop songs with small, jazzy arrangements. It might be somewhat easy listening at times, but she does it so greatly... Fot all you people who appreciate Dionne Warwick and Karen Carpenter: try one of Ornella's records. You will not be disappointed!

DB: Amazing how a person can sing so soft and intimate and yet so powerfull. Vanoni has a soft jazzy voice that lures you to your speakers. One of the three founding mothers of Italian pop Vanoni made an enourmous bulk of music. Instead of Milva and Mina however Vanoni stayed true to her personal style without taking big sidesteps to musical popular styles. And even if she did it would turn out suprisingly... well suprisingly as herself. The upside is that can pratctically buy any album of her, the downside is that after 30 albums you don't know which song is on which album. In the recommended list therefore are the most notable albums.

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Nicole Croisille (France)

Mari Trini (Spain)

Dimitra Galani (Greece)


♪♪♪ - Ornella Vanoni 1 - 1961

♪♪♪♪ - Ornalla Vanoni - 1967

♪♪♪♪ - La voglia di sognare - 1974

♪♪♪♪ - Uomo mio, bambino mio - 1975

♪♪♪♪ - La voglia la pazzia l'incoscienza l'allegria - 1976

♪♪♪♪♪ - Più - 1976

♪♪♪♪♪ - Duemilatrecentouno parole - 1981

♪♪♪♪♪ - Uomini - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - Ornella &... - 1986

♪♪♪♪ - Sheherazade - 1995

♪♪♪♪♪ - Un panino una birra e poi... - 2001

♪♪♪♪ - Una bellissima ragazza - 2007

♪♪♪ - Più di me - 2008

♪♪♪ - Più di te - 2009

♪♪♪ - Al Blue Note - 2010

♪♪♪♪ - Meticci - 2013

Further listening:

Caldo - 1965; Ornella - 1966; Ai miei amici cantautori - 1968; Ai miei amici cantautori - 1969; Ah! L'amore l'amore quante cose fa fare l'amore - 1971; Rileggendo vecchie lettere d'amore - 1971; Un gioco senza età - 1972; Dettagli - 1973; Ornella Vanoni e altre storie - 1973; A un certo punto - 1974; Quei giorni insieme a te - 1974; Io dentro - 1977; Io dentro - io fuori - 1977; Vanoni - 1978; Oggi le canto così, vol.1 - 1979; Oggi le canto così, vol.2 - 1980; Ricetta di donna - 1980; Oggi le canto così, vol.3 - 1982; Oggi le canto così, vol.4 - 1982; Insieme - 1985; O - 1987; Il giro del mio mondo - 1989; Quante storie - 1990; Stella nascente - 1992; Io sono come sono... - 1995; Argilla - 1997; Adesso - live - 1999; E poi...la tua bocca da baciare - 2001; Sogni proibiti - 2002; Noi, le donne noi - 2003; Ti ricordi? No non mi ricordo - with Gino Paoli - 2004; Vanoni & Paoli Live - 2005

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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