An internationally known artist, Franco Battiato has been everything in his long career, from beat singer to avantgarde performer, producer, contemporary music composer. His beginnings lay in the mid 60's, with many singles released with no particular success, the first two under his real name of Francesco. He had left the native Sicily (he was born in Jonia, near Catania in 1945) moving to Milan around 1965. In 1970 after his collaboration with Osage Tribe (that he quit before their only album Arrowhead) he had a record deal with Bla Bla, releasing his first solo album in 1972. "Fetus", housed in a outrageous cover (reproducing a foetus) was definitely a prog album, but a very original one, with a minimalist sound mainly based on the use of a VCS3 synth, unusual lyrics, complex arrangements. Two tracks, "Energia" and "Una Cellula" were also released as single. Second album "Pollution" followed the same route, but the sound was a bit richer with a larger use of traditional rock instruments. A good concert activity led to Battiato being very popular as an alternative artist and Pollution even reached the Top Ten italian chart. These two albums are considered their best (and most musically accessible) from prog fans. With third album, Sulle corde di "Aries", the sound shifted toward a more avantgarde style, but the long "Aria Di Rivoluzione" remains one of his best tracks from the first period. Fourth album "Clic" was mainly instrumental, with just a single vocal track, "No U Turn", and it also had an english release on the prestigious Island label, though this album contains different versions of tracks originally included in "Sulle Corde Di Aries" and the italian issue of "Clic". His first solo album had also been recorded in an english version, entitled "Foetus", but this was never released at the time and only appeared on CD recently. With 1975's "M.lle Le Gladiator" we're in full avantgarde music, the album even contains a long church organ solo performance and is a very difficult listen. After the Bla Bla's demise the following releases up to 1978 were all in the same direction, with long instrumental piano or synth performances closer to contemporary music than to progressive. 1979 saw the first radical turn, with the new wave-inspired album "L'Era Del Cinghiale Bianco" that began a fruitful collaboration with violinist Giusto Pio. The album was a big hit and later works followed the same style, with very good arrangements and highly inspired and original lyrics. From late 1980's until today Battiato is still one of the leading figures in italian music.
Francesco (Franco) Battiato (born 23 March 1945 in Riposto, Sicily) is an Italian singer-songwriter, composer, filmmaker and, under the pseudonym Süphan Barzani, also a painter. Battiato's songs contain esoteric, philosophical and religious themes. He is and has been for decades one of the most popular pop singer-songwriters in Italy. His unique sound, song-crafting and especially his lyrics, often containing philosophical, religious, and culturally exotic references, as wells as tackling or painting universal themes about the human condition - unusual subjects for pop songs - earned him a unique spot on Italy's music scene, and the nickname of "Il Maestro" ('The Master', or 'The Teacher'). Especially, but not only, at the beginning of his career, in the 70s and early 80s, his work was standing out sharply against the rest of Italian pop scene with sarcastic, provocative, and dark attitude and lyrics attacking ignorance, lack of professionalism, and the common expectations of popular audiences, including his own public. His work includes songwriting and joint production efforts with several Italian and international musicians and pop singers, including the long-lasting professional relationship with Italian singer Alice. His collaborations from 1994 onward with the nihilistic-cynical philosopher Manlio Sgalambro have added lyrical references to Emil Cioran, Friedrich Nietzsche and other anarchistic thinkers. Together with Alice, Franco Battiato represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 1984 with the song "I treni di Tozeur".