Franco Battiato, born Francesco Battiato (Ionia, 23 March 1945 - Milo, 18 May 2021), was an Italian singer-songwriter, composer, writer, director, painter and politician.
One of the most influential musicians of the last 50 years in Italy, appreciated for the variety of musical styles that he has explored and combined with each other, after the initial pop music phase of the second half of the sixties he moved on to progressive and avant-garde rock cultivated in the following decade, with various works considered important also abroad. Subsequently, from the album The era of the white wild boar of 1979, he distanced himself from experimental music and moved on to a personal author pop that began to make him known to the general public (in particular in 1981 with The master's voice, sales peak), with cryptic and quotation lyrics, music with new wave influences and the presence of classical forays into the arrangements.
Throughout his career, in which he has achieved widespread success with audiences and critics, he has enlisted the help of numerous collaborators; in particular two key figures emerge, with whom Battiato has constantly maintained professional contacts and friendships: the composer and violinist Giusto Pio from 1976 to then continue in the phase of greatest success from The era of the white wild boar up to the last appearance in Sanremo 1999. From the collaboration with the latter, in fact, successes such as Permanent center of gravity, The era of the white boar, I want to see you dance, The hot summer wind, Alexander Platz (deriving from a song composed by Battiato and Giusto Pio in the years 70 for Alfredo Cohen with the title Valery and subsequently readapted with a new text for Milva), Cuccurucucù, I Treno di Tozeur (brought to the Eurovision Song Contest by Battiato paired with Alice), Per Elisa (winner of the 31st Sanremo Festival), Radio Warsaw; and again Un'estate al mare (composed for Giuni Russo), Bandiera bianca, No Time No Space, etc. There are over one hundred songs composed by the Battiato-Pio duo, which together with those arranged and produced amounts to over 30 records. The philosopher Manlio Sgalambro: co-author and author of many lyrics of his songs, starting with L'umbrella and the sewing machine from 1995, continuing up to the album Apriti sesame from 2012. Battiato's lyrics reflect his interests, including esotericism, theoretical philosophy, Sufi mysticism (particularly through the influence of G.I. Gurdjieff) and oriental meditation. He also ventured into other artistic fields, such as painting and cinema. He is one of the artists with the highest number of awards from the Tenco Club, with three Plaques and a Tenco Prize.
From November 2012 to April 2013 he carried on a brief experience as councilor for tourism of the Sicilian Region in the center-left council of President Rosario Crocetta, declaring that he did not want to receive any compensation.
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