- Carmelo Pagano was born in Palermo, Sicily on 10th September 1946. His passion for music started when he was a schoolboy. He was nine when he first handed a musical instrument: he started with a small accordion, then a guitar, a piano, all as a self-taught person. These were hard times, and studying at a Conservatory was just an impossible dream!
- During the ‘60s, as a highschool boy, Carmelo started a music band with a group of school friends: three guitars, drums, and his melodious, flexible and high range voice. This was when the Beatles, the Shadows, the Rolling Stones were idols, and interpreting their songs was a great novelty which brought about great success to the newly formed group!
- The group started receiving a myriad of offers to sing at weddings, christenings and other family parties. Carmelo soon became an attraction and received much praise. He sang in the central Piazza Politeama in Palermo, and performed in live variety acts, which were extremely popular back in the ‘60s. His repertoire included a variety of different “attractions”, from music of all genres to imitations, parodies, jokes, all characterized by his outstanding ability to communicate with the public.
- In 1966Carmelo sized the opportunity to participate in the musical show organized by Teddy Reno, named “Festival degli Sconosciuti” “Festival of the Unknown” – which was the great occasion for young singers to “drop the un part of the word”, like the slogan said.
Carmelo passed the regional selections and was then admitted to the finals, which were to be held in Ariccia, just outside Rome. He came second, and thus obtained a contract with R.C.A. recording company, one of the most famous back then, sponsored by Teddy Reno and his wife Rita Pavone, two big names of the Italian music in the ‘60s. Teddy Reno eventually became Carmelo’s personal manager.
- In October 1966 Carmelo participated in the “Festival delle Rose” “Festival of the Roses” held at the “Cavalieri Hilton Hotel” in Rome. He sings a song called “L’amore se ne va” “Love Goes Away”, written Morina, D’Ercole, Melfa<, in tandem with Luisa Casale. The competition featured famous Italian artists such as Don Backy, Gianni Morandi, Little Tony, Lucio Dalla, Gabriella Ferri, Jimmy Fontana, Claudio Villa, the Pooh, Paul Anka, Al Bano, Pino Donaggio, Nicola Di Bari, the Nomadi.
- Carmelo passed the first selections, reached the final night and won the Festival! An almost unknown singer won the festival with a romantic song written by unknown authors. Those interested in music history might want to know that the final of the “Festival delle Rose” was not shown on TV due to the fact that the word “Vietnam” appeared in the song “C'era un ragazzo che come me…” “Once Upon A Time There Was A Boy Like Me…” sung by Gianni Morandi and Mauro Lusini.
- It was a great success!All the major newspapers reported the results of the “Festival delle Rose” as well as the unexpected victory of Carmelo Pagano: “An unknown singer beats Gianni Morandi!”. Not only did he win the Festival, but obtained the “Premio della Critica” “Critics’ Prize” assigned by the journalists’ committee in exequo with Lucio Dalla.
- Carmelo’s way of singing was said to be similar to that of Tony Williams, the solo singer of the Platters. Success brought about photo reportages, interviews, television appearances, and numerous requests to work as a professional singer! Rita Pavone became one of his most affectionate fans, so much so, that she had a T-shirt made saying “I like Carmelo”.
- On 14 April 1967, the famous singer Dusty Springfield impact in English "The love goes" - "Give me time".The song is also known internationally!
- In 1967 Carmelo participated in the “Festival di San Remo”, the most popular music festival in Italy even today. He did the music test with the song “Io, Tu, e Le Rose” – “Me, You, and The Roses” – and was supposed to sing in tandem with Orietta Berti, a very popular Italian singer. But the R.C.A. committee initially rejected his participation.
Domenico Modugno, however, famous Italian singer, insisted that Carmelo should participate in tandem with him. Newspapers reported that Domenico Modugno had rejected the participation of the French singer Christophe because he couldn’t remember the words of the song “Sopra I Tetti Azzurri Del Mio Pazzo Amore” – “On The Blue Roofs of My Crazy Love” – and preferred singing with Carmelo. Carmelo did eventually participate, but to replace the group “The Hollies” singing the song “Devi Avere Fiducia In Me” – “You Have To Trust Me” – in tandem with Roberta Amadei, winner of the “Festival di Castrocaro”. Unfortunately, the song was eliminated early on in the festival.
The participation in the “Festival di San Remo” was characterized by a very sad event: the death of Luigi Tenco, a famous and appreciated Italian singer. Tenco had started a deep friendship with Carmelo, so much so that he had started affectionately calling him “Carmeluzzu”. It was sad loosing him so early!
- The very same year Bruno Canfora, an appreciated music writer, was composing the music for the film “Spia Spione” – “Spy” – and contacted Carmelo asking him to interpret and register the film’s sound track “Il Giorno Tutto Giusto” – “The Perfect Day”. The film was a parody of Sean Connery’s 007 movies starring Lando Buzzanca, a Sicilian actor. A single was issued that year featuring the sound track of the film.
- In the summer of 1967 Carmelo participated with great success in the “Cantagiro”, an itinerant music festival, interpreting the song “Va” – “Go” – originally sung in English by Petula Clark.
strong>The late sixties Carmelo went to Rome to receive the “XIII Premio Campidoglio per la Musica Leggera”, a prize for Italian Pop Music.
- By the end of the ‘60s Carmelo had left R.C.A. to sign a new contract with another recording company in Milan, the “Ariston”. In Milan he had the chance to record a beautiful song called “Mi Hai Dato Un’Anima” – “You Gave Me A Soul” – written by Umberto Bindi, an appreciated author and singer whom Carmelo was fortunate to work with, and also recorded an LP called “Melodie Eterne” – “Eternal Melodies” – a collection of famous covers.
- In the early ‘70s Carmelo passed the test as composer at the S.I.A.E., the Italian Society of Authors and Editors, and thus became a member of it under the pen name of “Victor Pagano” apparently somebody else had used his name already.
A new professional collaboration started with lyricist Pino Cassia, acclaimed writer of successful songs,( "Su nel cielo" - Nico Fidenco, "Tutti quelli che hanno un cuore" - Petula Clark, "Bisogna saper perdere" - The Rokes)who convinced Carmelo to abandon “Ariston” to sign a contract with “Beat Records” that would record his music through the recording company named “Picci”.
- Together, they composed songs for Rita Pavone, like “Magari poco ma ti amo” – “Maybe Just A Little, But I Do Love You” – as well as for other singers. RAI, the Italian National Television, commissioned some music and Carmelo also found time to record new songs that he had composed, such as “Io non vivro’” – “I Won’t Live” – “Tu sei lì’ che mi aspetti” – “There You Are Waiting For Me” – with lyrics by Pino Cassia.
- In January 1973 Carmelo prematurely lost his father, with whom he had a special bonding. Now he had to decide what to do with his future, considering that his mother and brothers relied on him entirely. It was not easy, especially because at that time the Italian music was being challenged by a wave of “xenomania”, and even famous and acclaimed Italian singers suffered a tremendous crisis. For the young and newly arrived artists things were even worse. Tough years followed Carmelo accepted a variety of different jobs, until he found the right one, thus disclosing unexpected qualities and skills. Year after year, he enriched his knowledge in his working field and learned how to master his abilities. His constancy and professional nature allowed him to achieve many goals; so much so, that he was able to obtain a very gratifying position top management.
- During these years elapsed Carmelo has never stopped cultivating his passion for music. He continued composing and performing, sometimes for charity, and sometimes for fun with his friends thus keeping contact with his beloved music. He discovered with pleasure that some of his songs, together with the songs of some other Italian artists (Rita Pavone - D. Modugno - G. Morandi - E. Vianello - R. Cocciante - C. Baglioni - G. Paoli - Teddy Reno), were being included in compilations released in foreign countries like Brazil and Spain.
- In 2008 Carmelo’s voice has matured pleasantly; it can still count on an almost intact high range and is therefore highly appreciated whenever he interprets songs of various genres. As a matter of fact, when you hear Carmelo sing today you can easily see how he still feels and makes his listeners feel strong emotions.
- For this reason Carmelo decided to take on one more challenge and submit his music to the public once again with the CD single “Ricomincio da…prima” “Groundhog first…”which contains : "L'amore se ne va" - “Love Goes Away" (a new recording and interpretation) two of his unpublished compositions "Il fine settimana" - "Questo amore" and the only cover in masculine "Bugiarda e incosciente" - "Dishonest and irresponsible" of the famous Italian singer Mina.
- So begins to sing and implements his plan: to concerts reinterpreting 50 years of Italian music in "Pop & Swing". Very catchy and pleasing the arrangements taken care of by himself..
In December 2011 returned to television program ..."I Migliori Anni" by Carlo Conti .
As a friend of his, I hope he makes it, and wish him luck!!!
Biography by Fabio Gervasi
(Translation by Sara Lacchei)