Lucio Dalla, Beloved Italian Singer-Songwriter, Dies at 68

| Fri, 03/02/2012 - 04:09
lucio dalla

Ed. March 4, 2023: We're re-sharing this archival article memorializing Lucio Dalla on what would have been his 80th birthday. 

Lucio Dalla, internationally renowned musician, died on Thursday in Montreux during a European tour. Aged 68, Dalla reportedly died of a heart attack in his hotel after having breakfast. He had given a concert on Wednesday in the Swiss city and appeared to be in good health.

Originally from Bologna — whose Piazza Grande he immortalized with his song of the same name — Dalla found success outside of Italy, selling millions of records worldwide. His musical genres spanned from folk to jazz to classical. His song “Caruso,” performed with famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti at a 1992 concert in Modena, sold 9 million copies. Another of his most popular songs was “Attenti al lupo,” which sold 1.4 million copies.

President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano quickly expressed his condolences, stating: "Dalla was a strong and original voice who contributed to renew and promote Italian songs in the world. He was an artist beloved by so many Italians across generations."

Dalla became famous in 1971 after he performed his popular song “4 marzo 1943” at the Sanremo Music Festival, where he made many subsequent appearances during his career. He had recently returned to the festival performing his song “Nanì” with Pierdavide Carone.

In addition to his own albums, Dalla also composed songs for famous Italian film directors such as Mario Monicelli, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pupi Avati, Carlo Verdone and Michele Placido. He also wrote an opera inspired by Puccini’s Tosca. Interested in all forms of art, Dalla was also the curator of a contemporary art gallery in Bologna.

His love of the sea was an inspiration for many of his songs. He owned a home on the Tremiti Islands located off Italy’s south-eastern coast.

The Italian singer Claudio Baglioni described Dalla, saying, “He lived his whole life with the desire to amaze and be amazed.”