Gigliola Cinquetti

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Gigliola Cinquetti
Gigliola Cinquetti in 1966
Gigliola Cinquetti in 1966
Background information
Born (1947-12-20) 20 December 1947 (age 72)
OriginVerona, Veneto, Italy
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, journalist, TV presenter
Years active1963–present

Gigliola Cinquetti (Italian pronunciation: [dʒiʎˈʎɔːla tʃiŋˈkwetti]; born 20 December 1947) is an Italian singer and TV presenter.


Cinquetti was born in Verona. At the age of 16 she won the Sanremo Music Festival in 1964 singing "Non ho l'età" ("I'm Not Old Enough"), with music composed by Nicola Salerno and lyrics by Mario Panzeri. Her win enabled her to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 1964 in Copenhagen with the same song, where she claimed her country's first ever victory in the event. Cinquetti became the youngest winner of the contest to date, aged 16 years and 92 days. Only one younger artist has triumphed since; Sandra Kim in 1986.[1]

The song became an international success, even spending 17 weeks in the UK Singles Chart[2] and ending the year as the 88th best-selling single in the U.K. in 1964,[3] something highly unusual for Italian-language material. It sold over three million copies, and was awarded a platinum disc in August 1964.[4] In 1966, she recorded "Dio, come ti amo" ("God, How I Love You"), which became another international hit.[citation needed]

In 1974, Cinquetti took part in the Eurovision Song Contest again, this time held in Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom. Her song was called "Sì" (which translates as 'yes' in English, and which became quite controversial in Italy at the time, with a referendum on the legalisation of divorce in the offing, because of the title),[citation needed] and came second to Swedish foursome ABBA with their song "Waterloo".

Cinquetti scored a bigger UK hit single (in terms of chart placing) than she had ten years earlier, with an English-language version of "Sì" (entitled "Go (Before You Break My Heart)") peaking at No. 8.[5]

Sanremo performances[edit]

In the following occasions, Gigliola Cinquetti performed at the Sanremo Music Festival

  • 1964 "Non ho l'età (Per amarti)" – with Patricia Carli
  • 1965 "Ho bisogno di vederti" – with Connie Francis
  • 1966 "Dio come ti amo" – with Domenico Modugno
  • 1968 "Sera" – with Giuliana Valci
  • 1969 "La pioggia" – with France Gall
  • 1970 "Romantico blues" with Bobby Solo
  • 1971 "Rose nel buio" – with Ray Conniff
  • 1972 "Gira l'amore (Caro bebè)"
  • 1973 "Mistero"
  • 1985 "Chiamalo amore"'
  • 1989 "Ciao"
  • 1995 "Giovane vecchio cuore"

Censored in 1974[edit]

She returned to fame in Eurovision Song Contest 1974, again representing Italy. Performing the song "" ("Yes"), the music and lyrics of which were written by Mario Panzeri, Daniele Pace, Lorenzo Pilat and Carrado Conti, she came second after "Waterloo", sung by Sweden's ABBA.

According to author and historian, John Kennedy O'Connor's, The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History, the live telecast of her song was banned in her home country by the Italian national broadcaster RAI, as the event partially coincided with the campaigning for the 1974 Italian referendum on divorce which was held a month later in May.[6]

RAI censored the song because of concerns that the name and lyrics of the song (which constantly repeated the word 'Sì') could be accused of being a subliminal message and a form of propaganda to influence the Italian voting public to vote 'Yes' in the referendum.[7] The song remained censored on most Italian state TV and radio stations for over a month.

An English-language version of the song, "Go (Before You Break My Heart)", reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1974.[2][8]

Later career[edit]

One of her other songs, "Alle Porte del Sole" (released in 1973), was re-recorded in English (as "Door of the Sun") and Italian by Al Martino, two years after its initial release, and reached No. 17 on Billboard's Hot 100 in the United States. Cinquetti's own English version of the song was released as a single by CBS Records in August 1974, with her original 1973 Italian version on the B-side.

Cinquetti went on to co-host the Eurovision Song Contest 1991 with Toto Cutugno, who had brought the event to Italy with his victory in Zagreb the previous year – the country's first win in the contest since her own twenty-six years earlier.

In the 1990s she became a professional journalist and TV presenter, and she currently hosts the current affairs programme Italia Rai on RAI International.

Selected discography[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official Celebration. Carlton Books, 2015. ISBN 978-1-78097-638-9. Pages 32-33
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 107. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "The 100 Best-Selling Singles of 1964 (in the UK)". Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 173. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2002). British Hit Singles (15th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 145. ISBN 0-85112-187-X.
  6. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History. Carlton Books, UK. 2007 ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  7. ^ "Webmaster's Countdown". Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Gigliola Cinquetti". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 January 2020.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Denmark Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann
with "Dansevise"
Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Luxembourg France Gall
with "Poupée de cire, poupée de son"
Preceded by
Emilio Pericoli
with "Uno per tutte
Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Bobby Solo
with "Se piangi, se ridi"
Preceded by
Massimo Ranieri
with "Chi sarà con te"
Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Wess and Dori Ghezzi
with "Era"
Preceded by
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Helga Vlahović and Oliver Mlakar
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Toto Cutugno)
Succeeded by
Sweden Lydia Cappolicchio and Harald Treutiger