Caruso (song)

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"Caruso" is a song written by Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla in 1986. It is dedicated to Enrico Caruso, an Italian tenor. Following Lucio Dalla's death, the song entered the Italian Singles Chart, peaking at number two for two consecutive weeks.[1] The single was also certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.[2]

Meaning of the song[edit]

The song simply tells about the pain and longings of a man who is about to die while he is looking into the eyes of a girl who was very dear to him. The lyrics contain various subtle references to people and places in Caruso's life.

Lucio Dalla told the origin and the meaning of the song in an interview to one of the main Italian newspapers, Il Corriere della Sera. He stopped by the coastal town of Sorrento and stayed in the Excelsior Vittoria Hotel, coincidentally in the very same room where many years earlier the tenor Enrico Caruso spent some time shortly before dying. Dalla was inspired to write the song after the owners told him about the last days of Caruso and in particular the latter's passion for one of his young female students.[3]

Caruso was an acclaimed Italian operatic singer who was one of the greatest and most sought-after singers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Unfortunately he lived a very difficult and rather unhappy life, having had many challenges and problems with Italian opera houses, but gained more fame and success in the United States.

Caruso was born to a poor family in Naples. He was often involved with women, and had several love affairs with prominent married women in the performing arts, which often ended badly. His longest and most passionate love affair was with the married Ada Giachetti, with whom he had two sons. It ended when she left him for their chauffeur. A few years before he died, he met and wed a woman 20 years his junior, Dorothy Park Benjamin, whom Lucio Dalla describes in this song "Caruso". With her he had a daughter named Gloria.

Guardò negli occhi la ragazza quegli occhi verdi come il mare
He looked into the eyes of the girl, those eyes as green as the sea
Poi all'improvviso uscì una lacrima e lui credette di affogare
But then, a tear fell, and he believed he was drowning

Sorrento is referred to as "Surriento", which is the name in the Neapolitan language. It refers to Caruso's frequent visits to the seaside town and its Excelsior Vittoria Hotel.

Te voglio bene assaje
I love you very much
ma tanto tanto bene sai
very, very much, you know
è una catena ormai
It is a chain by now
che scioglie il sangue dint'e vene sai...
that heats the blood inside of our veins, you know ...

The music and words of the above refrain are based on a Napolitan song, titled "Dicitencello vuje", published in 1930 by Rodolfo Falvo (music) and Enzo Fusco (text) written according to the best tradition of Napolitan "romances" with a strong operatic style.

The phrase "Ti voglio bene", although literally meaning "I want good for you," is generally not used in a romantic context—particularly towards one's love interest. The exact words of the song are: "Te voglio bene assaje, ma tanto tanto bene sai" and are, in Neapolitan dialect, meaning: I love you very much. Very, very much, you know." Followed by the lines: "We've formed a (chain) bond by now, that thaws the blood in my veins, you know". ”Ti voglio bene” is used as a phrase for family members or good friends, not romance. "Ti amo" is reserved for romantic love, but there is no equivalent of "ti amo" in Neapolitan dialect. Lucio Dalla's official video of the song[4] was filmed in the 'Caruso Suite' at the Excelsior Vittoria Hotel.[5] Enrico Caruso died at the Vesuvio Hotel in Naples.

In 2015, on the occasion of the third anniversary of Dalla's passing, GoldenGate Edizioni published the biographical novel by Raffaele Lauro,[6] "Caruso The Song – Lucio Dalla and Sorrento",[7] which through unpublished testimonies reconstructs the almost fifty-year-long bond (from 1964 to 2012) of the great artist with Sorrento ("Sorrento is the true corner of my soul"), and the authentic inspiration for his masterpiece, "Caruso". The documentary film by the same author, "Lucio Dalla and Sorrento – Places of the Soul",[8] was presented in the national première on 7 August 2015 at the Social World Film Festival 2015 in Vico Equense.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Anna Oxa covered the song on her album Fantastica (1988).
  • Mireille Mathieu covered the song in French in her album Embrujo (1989).
  • Greek singer Maria Farantouri, featuring music composed by Leo Brouwer, covered the song in 1990, on her album Maria Farantouri – 17 Songs.
  • El Cigala covered the song in his album Dos Lagrimas singing the chorus in Italian while translating the rest of the song to Spanish.
  • Estela Raval covered the Spanish version of the song in her album "UNA" recorded in Chile in 1990.
  • Andrea Bocelli covered the song on his debut album Il mare calmo della sera (1994) and later in his best-selling album Romanza.
  • Italian singer Milva, featuring music composed by James Last, covered the song in 1994, on her album Milva & James Last: Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz, recorded in collaboration with James Last. A live rendition of the song performed in Osaka, Japan in 1996 was included on her limited edition album Live and More (Milva Collectors Club), issued in 1998.
  • Luciano Pavarotti recorded the song in 1986. ("The best version so far" is included in the Tutto Pavarotti double album). He sang it in many of his concerts, most notably in his 1993 "Pavarotti and Friends" album with Lucio Dalla, the composer, and in The Three Tenors, which is included in the Paris 1998 album.
  • Lara Fabian, a multi-national singer who sings in Quebec, Canada, as well as in Belgium and the US, included this song on her En Toute Intimité album (2003). She also gave a virtuoso performance of it as part of her 2003 Tour.
  • Julio Iglesias covered this song in his album Crazy (1994).
  • Russian singer Vitas covered this song in 2002 (later released as a digital download on the Vitas' official site – as well as the Radio Vitas Online – in 2011).[9]
  • Josh Groban covered this song in his second studio album Closer (2003).
  • A slowed down version was featured on Il Divo's Siempre album released in November 2006, which includes several key changes and an arrangement of the song for four voices.
  • Sergio Franchi covered the song in 1989 on his last album, Encore.
  • Fatih Erkoç covered the song Turkish "Ağlama" with the name in 1996 on his album, "Kardelen".
  • Florent Pagny covered the song in 1996. Released as a single, his version peaked at No. 2 in France and No. 3 in Belgium (Wallonia).
  • It was covered by Antonio Forcione with Sabina Scubbia on vocals in his 1997 album Meet Me in London.r.
  • Italian pop music icon Mina covered this song as part of the Ti conosco mascherina double LP, originally released in 1990.
  • Zizi Possi recorded the song on the album "Per Amore" (1997).
  • Mercedes Sosa covered the song on her album Sino (1993).
  • Russell Watson covered the song on his album "The Voice" (2000).
  • Ricardo Montaner covered the song on his album Ricardo Montaner Gold of 2001
  • Catherine Jenkins in Second Nature (Catherine Jenkins album) of 2004
  • In 2005 the song was covered by British tenor Jon Christos on his debut album Northern Light.
  • In 2006, Mario Frangoulis included this song on his CD/DVD Music of the Night (Sony Classical) of his live performance at the Herod Atticus Theatre in Athens, Greece, 2005.
  • The Chilean singer Bárbara Muñoz, recorded a pop version of the song in her album "Amanecer" in 2006. This song was performed before when she participated in the TV program "Rojo Fama Contrafama"
  • Trumpeter Chris Botti covered the song from 2007 album "Italia."[10][11]
  • In 2007 the song was covered by Paul Potts on his first album One chance.
  • In 2008, Ainhoa Arteta and Miguel Nandez in concert,




Chart (1990–2012) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[12] 43
France (SNEP)[13] 38
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 61
Italy (FIMI)[15] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[16] 68
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[17] 30
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[18] 16


  1. ^ "Italian Charts – Lucio Dalla – Caruso (song)". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Italian single certifications" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  3. ^ "Dalla: "Scrissi la canzone su Caruso nell' albergo dove morì"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  4. ^ "YouTube Lucia Dalla Caruso official video".
  5. ^ "Excelsior Vittoria Hotel/Caruso Suite Images".
  6. ^ Mauro Siniscalchi. "Raffaele Lauro". Archived from the original on 24 June 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Caruso The Song | Caruso The Song – Lucio Dalla e Sorrento". Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  8. ^ Mauro Siniscalchi. "Lucio Dalla e Sorrento – I luoghi dell'anima". Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Italia overview". AllMusic.
  11. ^ "Chris Botti" Check |archiveurl= value (help). Archived from the original on 5 January 2011.
  12. ^ " – Lucio Dalla – Caruso" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  13. ^ " – Lucio Dalla – Caruso" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. ^ " – Lucio Dalla Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  15. ^ " – Lucio Dalla – Caruso". Top Digital Download.
  16. ^ " – Lucio Dalla – Caruso" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  17. ^ " – Lucio Dalla – Caruso" Canciones Top 50.
  18. ^ " – Lucio Dalla – Caruso". Swiss Singles Chart.

External links[edit]