Caterina Valente

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Caterina Valente
Valente in 1966
Valente in 1966
Background information
Born (1931-01-14) 14 January 1931 (age 92)
Paris, France
  • Singer
  • musician
  • dancer
  • Acoustic guitar
  • vocals
Years active1953–2003

Caterina Valente (born 14 January 1931) is a born Italian, naturalized French multilingual singer, guitarist and dancer. She speaks six languages and sings in eleven. While she is best known as a performer in Europe, Valente spent part of her career in the United States, where she performed alongside Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Perry Como, and Ella Fitzgerald, among others.


She was born in Paris to Italian parents Giuseppe and Maria Valente.[1] In 1955, she was featured on The Colgate Comedy Hour with Gordon MacRae. In 1958, she filmed the musical comedy Hier bin ich – hier bleib ich (Here I Am, Here I Stay) which featured a guest appearance by Bill Haley & His Comets. During Haley's segment, Valente sang a duet with Haley on a newly recorded version of his song "Vive la Rock and Roll".[2]

Her brother—Italian musician, singer and film actor Silvio Francesco [de] (1927–2000)—performed with her, sang many duets, danced, and played the clarinet in the shadow of his famous sister.

In Germany, she was a major performer of Schlager music. There, she recorded Cole Porter's I Love Paris under the German title Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe, which sold more than 900,000 copies from its release in November 1954 to December 1958, according to Der Spiegel's report of January 1959.[3] By a report from 1978, Valente's single The Breeze and I has sold more than 1,000,000 copies,[4] making it her best-selling record. Both songs were published by the German Polydor label; their success made Valente a star. At the end of 1958, this collaboration was terminated and she changed to Teldec Telefunken-Decca Schallplatten GmbH.[5]

In the same year, 1959, she was nominated for a Grammy Award.[6]

In the mid-1960s, Valente worked with Claus Ogerman and recorded material in both Italian and English that he arranged/conducted and/or composed on the Decca[7] and London labels.[8] Valente was a favorite of singer Perry Como, making eight guest appearances on his NBC Kraft Music Hall television program from 1961 to 1966. In 1964–65, she was co-host (with Carol Burnett and initially Bob Newhart) of The Entertainers , a CBS variety show for which she was awarded the recognition of best female vocalist on American TV .[1] . She was a frequent guest on The Dean Martin Show.[9] Valente also made three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Over the years, she has recorded or performed with many international stars, including Count Basie, [10] Louis Armstrong,[11] Chet Baker,[12] Perry Como,[13] Ella Fitzgerald,[11] Benny Goodman,[14] Woody Herman,[15] Claus Ogerman,[7] Tommy Dorsey Orchestra,[15] [16] Sy Oliver,[17] Buddy Rich[15] and Edmundo Ros[18]

In 1970 she appeared in the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium singing Before the Parade Passes By and The Breeze and I.[19]

A briglia sciolta, the Italian jazz CD recorded in 1989 and re-released in later years under the titles Fantastica and Platinum deluxe, was her best-selling CD worldwide. In 2001, she released a new album, Girltalk, with harpist Catherine Michel.[20] She retired in 2003.

In 2019 her hit song from 1959, Bongo cha cha cha was included in the soundtrack of Spider-Man: Far from Home, directed by Jon Watts, becoming viral and risen to new popularity.[21][22][23][24]

In 2021 the song went viral on social media platform TikTok, thanks to its use for a trend that has collected over 250 million views, started from Latin countries and South America, and then popularized also in Italy and Germany.[21][22][23][24]

Selected album discography[edit]

United States[edit]

  • The Hi-Fi Nightingale, 1956 (Decca DL 8203)
  • Olé Caterina, 1957 (Decca DL-8436)
  • Plenty Valente!, 1957 (Decca DL 8440)
  • A Toast to the Girls (Decca DL 8755)
  • Schlagerparade (Decca DL 8852)
  • More Schlagerparade (Decca DL 4035)
  • À la Carte – Caterina Valente Sings in French (Decca DL 4050)
  • Arriba!, 1959 (Decca DL 4051)
  • The Greatest... in Any Language! (Decca DL 4052)
  • Golden Favorites (Decca DL-4504)
  • Rendezvous with Caterina (Decca)
  • Fire & Frenzy – Caterina Valente & Edmundo Ros Orchestra, 1960 (London SW 99019)
  • Classics with a Chaser, 1960 (RCA Victor LPM-2119)
  • Super-Fonics (RCA LSP-2241)
  • Great Continental Hits, 1962. Decca
  • South of the Border, 1963. London
  • Valente in Swingtime, 1963. Teldec
  • Songs I've Sung on the Perry Como Show, 1963. London
  • Caterina Valente's Greatest Hits, 1965. Decca
  • The Intimate Valente, 1966. Decca
  • Strictly U.S.A. (London LL 3307)
  • I Happen to Like New York (London LL 3362)
  • Valente & Violins, 1964 (London 3363)
  • Sweet Beat (London PS 536)
  • Silk 'N' Latin – Caterina Valente with Edmundo Ros & His Orchestra, 1969
  • Love, 1972. (London Phase 4), Stereo


  • Serenata d'Amore
  • A Poliglota da Canção
  • Caterina - A Cosmopolita, Polydor 46065
  • Caterina Valente com Edmundo Ros


  • Caterina Cherie, Polydor 46310


  • Una Cita Con Caterina Valente (A Date With Caterina Valente), Polydor 24011, 10 inch LP
  • Olé, Caterina! (Polydor 25019)
  • Un Brindis para las Muchachas (Polydor 25048)
  • Bueno... Clásico... y Popular! (Classics with a Chaser) (RCA Victor LPM-2119)
  • Classics with a Chaser (RCA Victor LPM-2119)


  • Cosmopolitan Lady (Polydor 46065)
  • A Toast To The Girls (Polydor 46074)

United Kingdom[edit]

  • Great Continental Hits, 1962. Decca LK 4508
  • Valente In Swingtime, 1963. Decca SKL 4537
  • I Happen to Like New York, 1964. Decca LK 4630
  • Caterina Valente's Greatest Hits, 1965. Decca LK 4737
  • Nothing But Aces – Caterina Valente & Edmundo Ros, 1969. Decca PFS.4157
  • The World of Caterina Valente, 1971. Decca SPA 192


  • I Happen to Like New York, World Record Club S/4384, 196?
  • Great Continental Hits, World Record Club, 1967
  • The Best of Caterina Valente, SUMMIT Karussell SRA 250–548 (on the cover)/2430 032 (on the label)


  • Plenty Valente!, 1957. Polydor LPHM 43.037
  • A Date With Caterina Valente, Polydor 45 517
  • Olé Caterina!, Polydor 46 029 LPHM
  • Weltschlager mit Caterina Valente, 1959. Polydor Sonderauflage Bertelsmann J 53503, 10 inch LP
  • Ihre großen Erfolge
  • Konzert für Frack und Petticoat – Classics with a Chaser, RCA LSP-2119
  • Super-Fonics, RCA LSP-2241
  • Caterina Valente & Edmundo Ros: Latein Amerikanische Rhythmen, DECCA BLK 16184-P
  • Caterina in Italia, Decca BLK 16211-P
  • Caterina on Tour, Decca BLK 16213-P
  • Caterina Valente & Silvio Francesco: Deutsche Evergreens, Decca SLK 16 189 P
  • Pariser Chic, Pariser Charme, Decca SLK 16266 P
  • I Happen to Like New York, Decca SLK 16 290
  • Wenn es Nacht wird in den Städten, 1965. Decca SLK 16 345
  • Portrait in Music, Decca SLK 16 420-P
  • Happy Caterina, Decca SLK 16485-P
  • Die großen Erfolge (Decca ND 103, Stereo)
  • Schlager, Lieder & Chansons, Decca ND 182
  • Schlager, Lieder & Chansons 2, Decca ND 557
  • Caterina Valente & Edmundo Ros: Olé Mambo, 1969. Decca 79 505
  • Caterina Valente & Edmundo Ros: Latin together, Decca SLK 16849-P
  • Ich wär so gern bei Dir, Decca 6.22003
  • The Best Of Caterina Valente, Polydor 184047
  • Tanz mit Catrin, HÖR ZU TELDEC HZT 514
  • Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe - Caterina Valente singt ihre Welterfolge, 1970.
  • Bonjour Kathrin – Caterina Valente präsentiert ihre größten Erfolge, 1965
  • Bonjour Kathrin, Karussell 635 106


  • Cosmopolitan Lady, 10 inch LP
  • Caterina Latin Album, 1963
  • De Luxe Latin Album, 1966

South Africa[edit]

  • Latein Amerikanische Rhythmen, 1960
  • Du bist Musik, 1956 (45106 LPH – Polydor Sternchen)

Selected filmography[edit]


(Incomplete list)

  • 1961: Bravo Otto, "Female singers" Gold (also 1960, 1962 and 1963 in Silver)
  • 1964: "Europremio" European TV Award, Venice, Italy
  • 1965: "O Globo" Award for Best Foreign Singer of Latin American music, Brazil
  • 1965: "FAME Award", USA
  • 1968: Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse ("1st Class Cross of Merit"), Germany
  • 1972: "Officier de l'éducation artistique" Officer of Artistic Education, Paris, France
  • 1986: "Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" Grand Cross of Merit, Germany
  • 1966: Goldene Kamera, Germany
  • 1990: Bambi, Germany
  • 1991: Goldene Europa "Lifetime-Award", Saarbrücken, Germany
  • 1995: Bambi "Lifetime-Award", Germany
  • 1998: Platin Romy Lifetime Award, Austria
  • 2002: Echo, "Lifetime-Award" Germany
  • 2004: "Premio GABARDI", Lifetime Milano, Italy
  • 2005: Honorary Bambi, Germany
  • 2022: Dancers over 40 Legacy Award, USA


  1. ^ "Caterina Valente official website". 3 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Bill Haley & the Comets - Vive le Rock'n Roll - YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2016-05-15. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  3. ^ "Good bye, Caterina". Der Spiegel (in German). No. 3/1959. Hamburg: SPIEGEL-Verlag Rudolf Augstein GmbH & Co. KG. 1959-01-13. Retrieved 2023-04-24. Die Valente zählte unbestritten zu den Spitzenstars des Polydor-Repertoires, obgleich bislang kein Valente-Titel die legendäre Auflage von einer Million überschreiten konnte - den Verkaufsrekord hält die Nummer "Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe" mit einer Auflage von über 900 000 Platten.
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs: The Records That Sold a Million (2 ed.). London: Limp Edition. p. 77. ISBN 0214205126.
  5. ^ Der Spiegel Nr. 3/1959: „Noch am gleichen Tage (Dezember 29, 1958) verlautbarte der Sekretär der Sängerin, Günter Arendt, die Valente habe »nach streng geheimen Verhandlungen in den Weihnachtstagen« bereits mit der »Teldec Telefunken -Decca Schallplatten GmbH« den »bedeutendsten Schallplattenvertrag« geschlossen, »der einem deutschen Gesangsstar nach 1945 angeboten wurde«.“
  6. ^ "Caterina Valente". Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  7. ^ a b "The Work of Claus Ogerman, Decca Label". Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  8. ^ "The Work of Claus Ogerman, London Label". 16 November 1965. Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  9. ^ "The Dean Martin Show – An 'Uncut' 3-DVD Set with guests". Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Caterina Valente '86 & The Count Basie Orchestra, 1986, Global Records And Tapes – 43 838 2 (Vinyl, LP, Album)
  11. ^ a b bei der Kellen, Ralf (2021-01-14). ""Meine erste Liebe: Jazz!"" ["My first love: Jazz!"]. (in German). Deutschlandfunk. Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  12. ^ Caterina Valente + Chet Baker (1956). "I'll Remember April (Song)". (in German). Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  13. ^ Caterina Valente (1964). "Songs I've Sung On The Perry Como Show (Album)". (in German). Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  14. ^ Caterina Valente + Benny Goodman (1965). Benny Goodman, Caterina Valente--Poor Butterfly, Hi Ya Sophia 1965 TV (Youtube Video). Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  15. ^ a b c Bondt, René (March 2012). "Caterina Valente und der Jazz" [Caterina Valente and the Jazz] (PDF) (in German). swissjazzorama Jazzletter. Retrieved 2023-04-24. Billie Holiday hat mich beeinflusst - Billie Holliday influenced me
  16. ^ "Caterina Valente + Tommy Dorsey Orchestra". Premier Concerts. 1975-05-27. Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  17. ^ Caterina Valente With Sy Oliver And His Orchestra: In New York (Album), 2002, Polydor 065 104-1
  18. ^ Caterina Valente + Edmundo Ros (1960). "Saudades da Bahia (Song)". (in German). Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  19. ^ Radio Times 15 November 1970
  20. ^ Nathan, Dave (2001-05-01). "Caterina Valente/Catherine Michel: "Girltalk"". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  21. ^ a b "Bongo cha cha cha, il trend virale su TikTok: Tutte le curiosità sulla canzone". 5 April 2021.
  22. ^ a b "TikTok, "Bongo cha cha cha" e "Miraculous" sono le nuove tendenze della settimana - Radio Zeta".
  23. ^ a b "Tutte le curiosità su Bongo Cha Cha Cha, la hit di Caterina Valente virale su TikTok". 8 April 2021.
  24. ^ a b "Testo di Bongo Cha Cha Cha, canzone virale su TikTok". 6 April 2021.

External links[edit]