comme le miel
sur le mur chanter
la vie on routes désertes.
Bonne s'il est,
le train de l'adieu
somme en arc en ciel
le jardin du paradis superbe.
faire le musicien
flux de fer
comme les chemins
de bleu de blanc
je jou le violon comme Einstein.
Oui, de comburant
moi je n'en veux pas
J'ai conseillé le train de l'adieu.
[an attempt at reconstructing the lyrics of "Adieu" by the kind people at BattiatoForum]
During the last few years I took care about the remastering of all the Pop albums and singles produced by Giusto Pio during the '80s, which were mostly created in collaboration with Franco Battiato... In 1978, the Astra project was one of their first exploration of more commercial territories, after their previous Classical and Avantgarde experiments.
Sadly, after a whole life dedicated to music, Pio has recently passed away at the age of 91. As far as I know, he was still suffering the after-effects of a fall which occured to him in late 2015 and produced a hip fracture.
Since a detailed Giusto Pio biography has already been included in the aforementioned posts this time I'll keep it short, but I can't help to mention once again the exceptional quality of Pio's contribution to Italian music.
On a personal note, I would just like to add that I have always felt affection for the kind figure of this renowned composer and his death has particularly sadden me, even more than the many untimely and unexpected departures than happened among musicians in recent times.
To end this short introduction, I decided to offer you the translation of a Giusto Pio quote taken from an interview conducted by Stefano Mereghetti in 2010. It perfectly summarize Pio's optimistic view and attitude towards life:
«There is always hope for a better tomorrow. Also because I usually see a lot of people carrying the world on in silence. Unfortunately, the news are always full of negative events. Instead, there are so many people, often unknown to the public, who do a lot of good and nobody talks about them.»
Giusto Pio and Franco Battiato, circa 1978
Here's the track list for this 7" single:
01. Adieu (3:31)
02. San Marco (3:09)
Both tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in March 2017 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.
Please have a look at the comments section for the download link.
Produced by Luigi Mantovani, "Adieu / San Marco" was released in Italy by Elektra with catalogue number T 12310 in September 1978. During the same year the single was also released in Portugal with catalogue number N-S-57-43.
Both the front and back cover of the single feature the same picture of Giusto Pio's son, Stefano, while the centre labels omit Battiato's real name from the writing credits in favour of Kui, one of his most used aliases that debuted exactly with this release. It's clear to see that Battiato, who at the time was enjoying a respected career as an Avantgarde musician, didn't want to be associated with a Pop product...
This is how Giusto Pio recalled the days of the Astra project in an interview conducted by Marco Rapelli in 2000:
«The first song we did, pretty much at home, had French lyrics and was entitled "Adieu". On the record Battiato sang and I played the violin, but since he didn't want to be credited with his real name, he signed the song under a pseudonym and the name of the singer who appeared on the cover was "Astra". The most curious part of the story is that when we had to promote the single on TV, we sent my son Stefano, who mimed the song and also pretended to play the violin.»
On the first side we find "Adieu", which is dominated by a multitracked violin and a tight / obsessive rhythm section that keep both the melody line played on a keyboard, and the leading singing voice that takes its place, in the background, preventing us to fully decrypt the French lyrics of the song...
Interestingly enough, the same melodic line was revived the following year on "Canterò se canterai", a song performed by Catherine Spaak credited to Kui-Pio, with new lyrics by Michele Pecora. The melody was used again in 1989 in the song "Una storia inventata", written for Milva, whose lyrics also contain some references to the original version.
The flipside offers "San Marco", a slow track where piano and violin create a fin de siècle atmosphere which is definitely softer than the one expressed by "Adieu". Once again Battiato sings in French, and this time his voice is made unclear by using a... megaphone!
Here's the lyrics of "San Marco" as found on Facebook:
Le jeune homme, la peau blanche, l'écharpette brune
le matin d'un dimanche en Piazza San Marco.
C'était le réveil d'un jeudi inconnu
la fantaisie de soirs passés en compagnie.
Le jeune homme, plein de livres comme un philosophe
le corps si pâle à lui qui aurait du aller nu.
C'était le réveil d'un jeudi inconnu
leur souvenir, la donne est-ce tous en c'est tout aller.
La dernière vente c'était un paletot brun.
Bonne chance! Au revoir aux vins et aux voeux!
Franco Battiato and Giusto Pio in the late '70s
The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered single, enjoy!
More information about Giusto Pio and Franco Battiato is available here:
If you have any other useful information about this post or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!