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Le Orme was founded in 1966 in Venice by Aldo Tagliapietra and three student friends. Originally intending to name themselves Le Ombre, a literal translation of The Shadows, they ultimately decided on the similar sounding Le Orme, which means ‘The Footprints’. The band's early work evoked a feel somewhere between beat and psychedelic rock, similar to what was coming out of the United Kingdom at the time. One of their first major performances was June 2, 1966, when they and other local bands accompanied a British beat group, The Rokes, at the Teatre Corso in Mestre. In 1967 the band released two singles ‘Fiori e Colori’ and ‘Senti l'estate che torna’ before a reshuffle of bandmembers occured. Michi Dei Rossi joined on drums (replacing Rebeschini) and Tony Pagliuca (formerly of Hopopi and Delfini) joined on keyboards. In 1969 their debut album was released without much succes.
A trip to London by Pagliuca with journalist photographer Armando Gallo makes him realize that beat music was over and a new sound was about to happen. Inspired by shows by Quatermass, the Nice and Yes he convinced Tagliapietra and Dei Ross ito change their musical style to this new sound. This results in the 1971 album, ‘Collage’. Thanks to its promotion through the RAI radio program ‘Per voi giovani’, the album was quickly successful, earning a top 10 placing in the Italian charts. But it was the single ‘Gioco di bimba’ from the third album that gained the band a small hit in 1972. At the end of the year they toured Italy with Peter Hammill (Van der Graaf Generator).  Hammill also translated the lyrics for an English version of their following album ‘Felona e Sorona’. That album received wide critical acclaim in Italy and established the band as one of the leading prog-rock combo’s. From the following tour (in Italy and supporting Genesis and Hammill in the UK) a live-album was released.

The 1974 album ‘Contrappunti’ was again successful but failed to surpass the previous album. The band showed the ambition to conquer the US market and headed to Los Angeles to record their next album. With new guitarist Tolo Marton ‘Smogmagica’  the sound became much more MOR-rock. This did not go well with the fans and eventually Marton was sacked for another guitarist, Germano Serafin. The two album that followed showed some return to form but by then progressive rock lost it’s popularity. In 1979 the band started exploring new directions. The result was 1979's 'Florian' in which the band members traded in their electric instruments for classical ones, emerging with a sound more akin to chamber music than rock.  When this did not work they return to the mainstream pop with ‘Venerdì’ in 1982. This album was also unsuccessful, and the band eventually they split.

Le Orme would reform in 1986, intending to play concerts only. They were soon persuaded to enter a single, ‘Dimmi che cos'è’, at the 37th annual Sanremo Music Festival. Slowly they started working on a new silf-titled album that was released in 1990. Another pop effort, the disc went largely unnoticed. In 1992, Pagliuca ended more than two decades with the band. Their live performances stayed popular however and when their anthology album ‘1970-1980’ turned out to sell well they hit the studio again. The resulting product, ‘Il fiume’, was made in the classic prog-rock style they played in the seventies. The concept of album, the "becoming" of the human being, was turned into a trilogy with ‘Elementi’ in 2001 and ‘L'infinito’ in 2004. At the end of 2009 founder Aldo Tagliapietra left the band. Le Orme continues with Dei Rossi and Pagliuca. With a new team the band released a new album in 2011 called ‘La via della seta’.

On the web:

- Fansite about Le Orme: http://www.le-orme.com/

What do we think:

DB: Italian progrock holds a special place within the European rockscene with it's melodic and 'soft' approach. It's like La Dolce Vita on symphonic rock. In that segment Le Orme is the mainstream for Italian rocklovers. They were musical without getting over experimental and were prog without going over the top epic. Outside Italy Le Orme is something for the prog-connaisseur but to Italians they are almost mainstream classic rock.

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

SBB - Poland

Triana - Spain


- Ad gloriam 1969

L'aurora delle Orme -1970

- Collage - 1971

- Uomo di pezza -1972

♪♪♪♪♪ - Felona e Sorona – 1973

♪♪♪ - Contrappunti - 1974

♪♪♪ - Smogmagica - 1975

- Verità nascoste - 1976

♪♪♪ - Storia o leggenda - 1977

♪♪ - Florian - 1979

- Piccola rapsodia dell'ape – 1980

- Venerdì 1982

- Orme - 1990

- Il fiume - 1996

- Elementi - 2001

- L'infinito 2004

- La via della seta - 2011


♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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