Franco Battiato, the musical genius who became a household name in the late seventies and early eighties, died on Tuesday at 76 years of age, at his house, a castle located in the small hamlet of Milo in Sicily.
Born on March 23, 1945, he burst on the Italian music scene with songs like Bandiera Bianca, Centro di Gravità Permanente and Voglio Vederti Danzare, and composing Per Elisa for his friend, the singer Alice, which won the 1981 San Remo music festival.
He also collaborated with the late Giuni Russo which resulted in the huge success of the 1981 summer anthem, Un Estate al Mare.
A staunch vegetarian, Battiato was a very proficient artist, equally comfortable in exploring classical and experimental musical forms as well as indulging his love for the popular Italian music scene with instant classics that were the soundtrack of Italian life during the late seventies and early eighties.
During the nineties, he collaborated with Sicilian philosopher, Manlio Sgalambro, to write the poignant masterpiece La Cura.
This artistic collaboration also resulted in the production of what many consider as Battiato’s most eloquent work, his 1998 album, Gommalacca, which found the artist at the height of his creative powers and in which he collaborated with some of the foremost protagonists of the Italian alternative scene, among which were Morgan and Marco Pancaldi of the band Bluvertigo, Ginevra Di Marco (C.S.I.), and Madaski and Ru Catania of the band Africa Unite.
Battiato’s artistic versatility wasn’t restricted to music only. In 2003, he released Perduto Amor, his first feature film for which he also composed the soundtrack.
His later cinematic work didn't prove as successful as his debut work in the medium.
This versatility is also demonstrated in his work as a visual artist and as a poet.
The lyrics of his songs are indeed evidence of his exceptional abilities in poetry.
Battiato's last concert was held in Catania in 2017, having spent the previous year touring with Alice.
At the end of 2019, he officially retired from the music scene and most activity.
Battiato lost his uphill battle with Alzheimer’s and Italy has lost one of its most iconic personages across many boards.
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