Browse all

Sanremo's craziest performances

Irreverence or exaggeration? The public decides

Sanremo's craziest performances  Irreverence or exaggeration? The public decides

Every year, long before Fantasanremo revolutionized the Festival, the Ariston stage sees all kinds of things. Not only Blanco and his outburst against the Sanremo flowers, but the history of the festival is also full of crazy and over-the-top performances, whether it is not particularly successful songs or striking stage gestures, the history of Sanremo is made up of iconic moments that have gone down in history, often, more for their uniqueness than for true artistic merit. In light of Blanco's latest performance, we chose past moments that stunned the audience, amid insults and booing. After all, as Blanco explained to Amadeus last night, «The great thing about music is that you don't always have to follow a pattern, I still had fun.»

Achille Lauro, Me ne frego (2020) 

At the 70th edition of the Festival, Roman artist Achille Lauro performed to the notes of Me ne frego with a stunning look and performance. After appearing on the Ariston stage wrapped in a black cape, Lauro revealed to the public the outfit he was hiding with a blatant gesture. The skin-colored, glitter-covered, and very slimming jumpsuit was chosen by Lauro and the Gucci team to create a metaphor dedicated to the story of Saint Francis when he stripped himself of his clothes to dedicate himself to his religious life. Needless to say, Lauro's first performance was immediately criticized, then remained one of the most memorable moments of the edition.

Maria Pia e i Superzoo, Tre fragole (2003)

Presented on stage by a bewildered Pippo Baudo, who did not fail to make sarcastic comments, and accompanied by her band and conductor Beppe Vessicchio, Maria Pia Pizzolla made it through the Sanremo selection with a more than a strange song, which the artist interpreted with a dizzying strawberry-red hairstyle. From the lyrics, which make a direct reference to drug use, to the unusual way of singing, very similar to the arabesque vocal patterns, Tre fragole has gone down in history as one of the strangest singles presented at Sanremo, even though it was a considerable success.

Elio e le Storie Tese - La terra dei cachi (1996)

It is impossible to talk about oddities at Sanremo without mentioning at least one performance by the band Elio e le Storie Tese. On their first appearance on the Ariston stage, the band took second place with their single La terra dei cachi, a song coloured by an innumerable number of instruments and the sarcasm that has marked Elio's (Stefano Belisari) career to date. Their look was also noteworthy, with a silvery imitation of the Rockets, a 1970s French rock band famous for these 'wacky' outfits.  


Dario Gai - Sorelle d’Italia (1991)


Dario Gai - Dario Gay, but his name had been changed by the record company - managed to circumvent the censorship and get in front of the Sanremo audience bringing a song dedicated to prostitutes to the festival. "Hurray for the ladies of the dark evenings/Regine unquestionably a little bitter", sang Sorelle d'Italia. The lyrics, ironic but respectful of the characters it speaks of, were perhaps a little too modern for the times, and in fact did not make it to the last evening of the festival. Years later, following his coming out and the publication of several of his explicitly queer songs, Dario Gay became an icon of the LGBTQ community. 

Adriano Celentano - 24 Mila Baci (1961)

Adriano Celentano, after receiving a special dispensation from military service from Defence Minister Andreotti, came second at the 1961 kermesse with his 24 Mila Baci. The single, which was unusually rhythmic for the Ariston stage, was very successful and remained at the top of the best-seller charts for weeks, despite the unhinged performance by the molleggiato. Celentano, at the start of the song, made a gesture no one had ever done before: he turned his back on the audience. Of course, it can no longer be called a scandal now, but at the time it was indeed an irreverent act.