How these Italian Rock Ladies shaped Italian Music

Italy has had many great famous female  singers, and we have featured in previous posts Mina, Ornella Manoia and Raffaella Cara. Here the focus is more on the 80's of Rock and Pop, which I listened to when in my late teenage years. All these female artists have talent, success and also an incredible stage presence. Enjoy!

Loredana Berté


Loredana Berté was born in Bagnara Calabra (RC) on September 20, 1950, the third of four daughters, three years after her sister Domenica Bertè (real name of Mia Martini), who passed away on May 12, 1995 at the age of 47. The parents are both teachers. Her father was a professor of Latin and Greek and later a high school principal. In about 1965, after the separation of the parents, she moved with her mother and sisters to Rome. She attended the Art Institute and also took her first steps into the world of entertainment.

1974 is a key year for Loredana Bertè , when after meeting Alfredo Cerruti and Enrico Riccardi, with whom she records her first LP "Streaking", performed on the summer appearance at the Festivalbar 1974, with the single "You wanted a love great". The release of the piece that will change Loredana's life will follow: "Sei bellisima".

Her second great success was in 1978, the historical song written by Ivano Fossati "Dedicato" but it is in 1979 that Loredana shows that she is a true champion when, returning from a trip to Jamaica, she was "struck" by a live performance by a mysterious singer Bob Marley with rasta; she decides that her next album will have to have that sound. This becomes the  first reggae piece ever published in Italy "E la luna bussò". For her future collaborations, Bertè literally pillages all the underground cellars, from which quality music pulsed, to put many semi-unknowns "at her service", and few known, combined with her voice and her creativity.


At the beginning of the 1980s, Loredana between a successful album and the other decided to spend an entire year in New York to study English and carry out her next record work. In 1982 the great success of the song "Non sono una signora" was crowned with the winning of the Festivalbar, where she appeared dressed as a bride.  In 1988 he participated for the second time in the Sanremo Festival with the song "Io, si io". The same year, during a stage of the Festivalbar in Ibiza, she meets again, after several years, the Swedish Bjorn Borg (tennis world champion, still considered the absolute number one): it will be the beginning of a great and stormy history of love. The two get married the following year, after Loredana saves Borg from an attempted suicide.

After divorce in 1993, later that summer, Bertè released a second song from the album. The single, titled "Mi manchi", was an Italian radio hit. Bertè again appeared at Sanremo in 1994 when she performed an emotional song called "Amici non ne ho". The song was a hit and was included in her first live compilation titled Bertex Ingresso Libero. Her 1995 performance was the funky song "Angeli & Angeli", a single from Bertè's Ufficialmente ritrovati, a greatest hits compilation. Other fabulous songs include "Luna", "Strade di fuoco" from her BabyBertè Alburm, and in 2019 "Non ti dico non".

Mia Martini

She is considered, by many experts, the most beautiful and expressive female voice of Italian pop music.

Unfortunately, she died prematurely, she is still one of the Italian singers most fondly remembered. Incredible voice, intense interpretations, she had the image of a fragile and tormented woman but at the same time strong and passionate. When she returned to San Remo after a 7 year pause, her emotional "Almeno tu nell'universo"in 1989 is  memorable. She was the sister of Loredana Bertè. She recorded her first records as Mimì Bertè, but soon decided to change her name to Mia Martini. Loredana's sister, who had started on a successful solo career,  is considered by European critics to be the singer of the year. Her records were released in various countries of the world and she records her songs in French, German and Spanish, obtaining a significant reputation also abroad. In particular, in France, she is  compared to Edith Piaf. She represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest twice: in 1977 with "Libera" (13th out of 18), and in 1992 with "Rapsodia" (4th out of 23). That same year she recorded "Per amarti", written by Bruno Lauzi and Maurizio Fabrizio. She won the World Popular Song Festival Yamaha in Tokyo with "Ritratto di donna" who comes to the first positions in the Japanese charts. In 1982 she participated at the Sanremo Festival. In late 1983, she decided to retire.

In 1989 she returned to the Sanremo Festival with "Almeno tu nell'universo", which won her the Critics Award and new success, the song remains an italian classic (with many cover versions).


In 1992, she was back in the race at the Sanremo Festival with "Gli uomini non cambiano", by Giancarlo Bigazzi and Beppe Dati. She won second place, allowing her to represent Italy at Eurovision again, which that year was held in Sweden, where she closed with in fourth place with "Rapsodia".

Gianna Nannini

Gianna Nannini is an Italian singer and songwriter known primarily for her rock ballads and her signature coarse, sensual voice. She is the first of a very small number of Italian women rock stars, and produced a great number of popular hits through the 1980s and 1990s. Nannini was born in Siena, Tuscany.  After school, she studied piano at the "Luigi Boccherini" University in Lucca. In 1975, she moved to Milan, where she studied composing and philosophy. The following year, she published her first record "Gianna Nannini". Her album "California", released in 1980, was inspired by a trip to the US. One year later, she composed the soundtrack for Luciano Manuzzi's Sconcerto Rock (1982). She became one of Italy's most successful singers in the 1980s, which gave her the opportunity to record the official song for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, "Un' Estate Italiana". In December 1994, she graduated in philosophy from the University of Siena. Her last album "Grazie" was released in February 2006 and became the best selling of her career in her native Italy.

After developing her Italian and international fan base in the early eighties, Nannini definitely became a rock icon between 1984 and 1986 with the release of the albums Puzzle and Fotoromanza. The two works, certainly are the  the product of a more mature musician, included immensely popular hit singles with haunting refrains, and which are still very popular today: “Bello e impossibile”,I Maschi”,Fotoromanza”. Her greatest hits are "Fotoromanza" (1984, #1 Italy), "Bello E Impossibile" (1986), "I Maschi" (1988), "Hey Bionda" (1988) "Un' Estate Italiana" (#1 Italy and Switzerland, #2 Germany), "Extravaganza" (1994) and "Sei Nell'Anima" (2006, #1 Italy).

 Her career is still very active: her latest work, Amore Gigante (2017, 19th studio album!) combines the rhetoric of greatness (“Fenomenale”, "Amore gigante") with minimalism and delicate tones ("Piccoli particolari).In 2012 Nannini collaborated with Tiziano Ferro for the album Inno (Hymn), and released two greatest hits albums in the following years ( Hitalia in 2014 and Hitstory in 2015). Amore Gigante (Giant Love), released in 2017, is her 19th original album.

Giannia Nannini has three brothers, heirs of one of the Sienese's wealthiest families with her father  Danilo Nannini, head of the family and entrepreneur at the head of the historic Conca d’Oro pastry shop.

Patty Pravo

Nicoletta Strambelli aka Patty Pravo, is one of the most successful interpreters of Italian music. She is the Italian singer who sold the most records immediately after Mina: 110 million copies sold worldwide. Only "La bombola" sold 40 million. Not only is she beautiful, sensual, but also with a very unmistakable voice. Patty Pravo went from nightclub singer to one of Italy’s most successful stars in the 1960s. Her 1968 hit La bambola remains one of the biggest-selling hits of all time. 

She was born Nicoletta Strambelli on 9 April 1948 in Venice. While at school she studied music, dance and orchestra conducting, and aged ten, she enrolled in the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory. At 15 she left home for London. After a few months she returned to Italy, and headed for Rome. She was spotted dancing in the city’s famous Piper club and was asked to perform there. As a result, the young blonde was offered a recording contract with the RCA label. Billed as the Piper Girl, she released her first single, Ragazzo triste, a cover of Sonny Bono’s at the end of 1966. The single made number 13 in the Italian charts in January 1967.


She performed Qui e là at the Cantagiro song festival. The song gained a release, but left the infinitely superior Sto con te consigned to the B-side. The third single, Se perdo te, would change the public’s perception of Patty Pravo. Released in 1968, it proved Patty's vocal ability and maturity, and made number 18 in the charts. Her next release made the young singer an international star. Though she didn’t care for La bambola when she recorded it, it topped the charts in Italy and sold well throughout Europe and beyond, selling about nine milion copies. The A-side had the song Sentimento, which went to number two of that year. In the early spring 1969, she won the Festivalbar song contest with Il paradiso. In autumn, she returned to the Canzonissimo contest with the beautiful José Feliciano composition Rain, which she performed as Nel giardino dell’amore, and which gave her a further top 20 hit.

 Her success continued throughout the 1970s, but by the 1980s she had tired of Italy’s music scene and quit the country for the United States.

In 1994 she recorded an album in China, before returning to Italy in 1995. Within 18 months she had marked her return with an appearance at the San Remo song festival, and released a hugely successful album Notte, guai e libertà.

The great live  convert of Patty Pravo at the Fenice of Venice and the Roman Theater of Verona during the 2018 tour.

Laura Pausini

Laura Pausini, is without doubt one of the highest selling Italian singer with great international success. She has sold about 70 million copies of CDs and DVDs worldwide, singing songs in English, Spanish and Portuguese and winning prestigious awards such as the Grammy Award. She is well known not just in Italy but also in South America. She made her debut in Sanremo with "La solitudine" in 1993, but no one could imagine what success she would have achieved 20 years later.

Laura Pausini was born in Faenza on May 16, 1974 (Toro) and grew up in Solarolo, a small provincial town in the Romagna countryside. From an early age, between the church choir and the pianobar concerts of Emilia Romagna, the future "Divina" refined her technique and her love for singing. The following year, she wins 3rd place with "Strani amori".  Like the biggest names in the Italian music scene, such as Ramazzotti, Paoli and Zucchero, Pausini also conquers the foreign record market, which takes her away from Italy for about two years.

The time has come for Laura to face the millions of fans who follow her, and so her first world tour starts from Switzerland: the World Wide Tour '97. Each concert is fully booked, from Paris to Lisbon, from Rotterdam to Madrid, from Brussels to Montecarlo. There are 80 platinum discs, countless small and large awards.On September 15, 2000, the album comes out which takes its name from the song Biagio Antonacci wrote for her: "Tra te e il mare".

On October 12, 2001, his first official Italian "Best of" came out: "Laura Pausini- The best of  italiano ufficiale... E ritorno da te".

In 2004 the new album comes out which takes its name from the single "Resta in ascolta". After the album "Io Canto" (2006) composed entirely of covers of Italian songs and a live San Siro 2007 "(2007).

Considered one of the biggest Italian stars in the world, at 34 she sold over 40 million records, winning 160 platinum records. In 2009 Laura Pausini supported the people affected by the earthquake in Abruzzo by participating in the song "Tomorrow 21 / 04.09"; then organizes the concert "Friends for Abruzzo" from which the following year a DVD is made. In the middle of September 2012, she announces that she is pregnant and expecting a baby girl: her father is her partner Paolo Carta.

Fiorella Mannoia

Fiorella was born in Rome, and she made her musical debut at the 1968 Castrocaro Festival. The debut album "MANNOIA FORESI & CO" dates back to 1972.  Her first opportunity to perform at the Sanremo Festival  is in 1981 where Fiorella presents "Cafe Nero Bollente". But the real turning point for Fiorella's career came with the Sanremo Festival in 1984: the interpretation of "Come si cambia" marks for her a real awareness of her interpretative skills. In 1985 she published "Momento delicato" and in 1986 "FIORELLA MANNOIA". In 1987, "Quello che le donne non dicono", a piece expressly written for her by Enrico Ruggeri who will prove to be the first among the great songwriters to believe in her . This song still represents one of the songs with which the public most identifies her. She keeps releasing new successful albums nearly every year, with hits such as "La sera dei miracoli" and "Felicità”.  


Alice won Sanremo in 1981 with the hit Per Elisa. In his career Franco Battiato has helped the growth of many great artists and many great female voices. One of these is that of Alice, one of the most elegant singers in Italy. Sophisticated, sober, charismatic and dreamy, she has been able to cover a range of music styles.

Carla Bissi, this is Alice's real name, was born in Forlì on September 26, 1954. Passionate about music from an early age, she began her career at a very young age by taking part in the International Children's Festival of 1965.Her first success was the victory of the 1971 Castrocaro Festival. In 1981, she won Sanremo with Per Elisa; reaching the top of the chart rankings.Thanks to this song and the album Alice, Bissi reaches the top of the charts also in Europe, becoming very well-known in Germany, with other hits such as "Una Notte Special" and "Zu nah am Feuer" a duet with Stefan Waggershausen.

Throughout the 1980s, Alice's career continued on track  in Italy and Europe, also coming to perform at the Eurofestival in Luxembourg in tandem with Battiato with the song I treni di Tozeur.  Among her most important records of this decade, Gioeielli Rubati from 1985 stand out, but also Park Hotel from 1986, the album of Alice's artistic turning point, which begins to collaborate with Francesco Messina.  After a long record break, she returns in 2012 with the album Samsara, which also includes the single Nata Ieri, written by Tiziano Ferro. He says about her  "Alice is an emblem of style and integrity, an example of how one should behave when making music: following instinct and passion, following one's own times and sensitivities". She recently participated as Ron's guest on the evening of the duets at the Sanremo Festival 2018. Who knows if a new album is coming soon.

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