Its cheerful, blue-flower refrains cross generations. Salvatore Adamo, huge star of the 1960s, celebrates his 80th birthday on November 1st. The singer, who recently had to cancel concerts for health reasons, is a popular figure with titles like Falling snow, My hands on your hips, You allow sir or Girls from the seaside. In 2001, the artist spoke at length about his life in Tout le monde en parole, the cult show by Thierry Ardisson, available on the INA Arditube channel.
A life of glory and suffering. Suffering first. Difficult and uprooted childhood when his Sicilian parents went into exile, when he was four years old, in Belgium for economic reasons. At seven years old, he suffered from meningitis of the spinal cord. Then suffered from deafness in the right ear and paralysis on the same side. “I can sing in stereo,” he laughs. Because very quickly the music appeared like an enchanted parenthesis. His father saves to pay for music lessons for him. He won a singing competition (and two kilos of chocolate) by performing Love is a Bouquet of Violets by Luis Mariano. “After winning a telecrochet, the little notoriety faded in a few months. I wanted to return to my studies, but my father encouraged me to persist.”
Success eventually comes. Adamo multiplied his hits in the 1960s. To the point of placing himself behind the Beatles in terms of sales in 1966. He bought his parents a house and an Alfa Romeo. The career of variety artists is a matter of fashion and reputation. Salvatore Adamo is no longer fashionable: too nice, too blue, too bland. “There was May-68. The outlook of a certain public had changed. They considered that I was not capable of evolving, but I had done so, he defends himself at Thierry Ardisson. Every time I tried to surprise, we brought out the song that most closely reflected my old image.”
Adamo faded from France, but had a good international career, notably in Japan before experiencing a backlash in the 2000s. Race results: 90 million albums sold. Without making any noise. Discreet and popular. With the image of an eternal romantic and lover of peace. A popular singer never controls his career. “It’s my life, I can’t do anything about it, it’s her who chose me.”
An extract to discover: