Artist

FRANCO BATTIATO

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, as in the long suite Sequenze e frequenze, but Aria e 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 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. In the 2000's Battiato is still one of the leading figures in Italian music.

 

 

 

LP (productions up to 1981)
Fetus Bla Bla (BBXL 10001) 1972 gatefold laminated cover - cutout lyric inner - blue vinyl promo copies exist, including a management presentation folder
  Sony (88697 577671) 2009 reissue with gatefold cover
Pollution Bla Bla (BBXL 10002) 1973 gatefold laminated cover - lyric inner
  Sony (88697 608991) 2009 reissue with gatefold cover
Sulle corde di Aries Bla Bla (BBXL 10003) 1973 gatefold cover
  Sony (88697 615161) 2010 reissue with gatefold cover
Clic Bla Bla (BBXL 10006) 1974 gatefold cover - 8-page booklet
  Sony (88697 615201) 2010 reissue with gatefold cover
M.lle le gladiator Bla Bla (BBXL 10008) 1975 single cover
  Ricordi/Orizzonte (ORL 8536) 80's as above
Feedback Bla Bla (BBXL 210010) 1976 2LP - gatefold cover - compilation of tracks from first 4 LP's - reissued by Ricordi in late 70's as two separate LP's called 1972 and 1974.
Battiato Ricordi (SMRL 6201) 1977 single cover
  Ricordi/Orizzonte (ORL 8377) 80's as above
Juke box Ricordi (SMRL 6218) 1978 single cover
  Ricordi/Orizzonte (ORL 8467) 80's as above
L'Egitto prima delle sabbie Ricordi (SMRL 6220) 1978 single cover
  Ricordi/Orizzonte (ORL 8659) 80's as above
L'era del cinghiale bianco EMI (3C064 -18285) 1979 single cover - inner
Patriots EMI (3C 064-18521) 1980 single cover - inner
La voce del padrone EMI (3C 064-18558) 1981 single cover - inner
Foetus BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM LP 065) 2013 English version of Fetus - single cover


CD 
L'era del cinghiale bianco EMI (7467962) 90's reissue of 1979 album
Patriots EMI (7467972) 90's reissue of 1980 album
La voce del padrone EMI (7463572) 90's reissue of 1981 album
Fetus Artis (ARCD 025) 1991 reissue of 1972 album
  BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58552-2) 2000 as above
  Water (WATER 168CD) 2006 as above
Pollution Artis (ARCD 026) 1991 reissue of 1972 album
  BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58554-2) 2000 as above
  Water (WATER 174CD) 2006 as above
Sulle corde di Aries Artis (ARCD 036) 1992 reissue of 1973 album
  BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58555-2) 2000 as above
Clic Artis (ARCD 037) 1992 reissue of 1974 album
  BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58551-2) 2000 as above
M.lle le gladiator Artis (ARCD 041) 1993 reissue of 1975 album
  BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58553-2) 2000 as above
Za Artis (ARCD 046) 1994 reissue of Battiato 1977 album
Juke box Artis (ARCD 048) 1994 reissue of 1978 album
  BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58558-2) 2000 as above
L'Egitto prima delle sabbie Artis (ARCD 049) 1994 reissue of 1978 album
  BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58557-2) 2000 as above
Battiato BMG/Indimenticabili (74321-58556-2) 1998 reissue of 1977 album
Foetus VM2000 (VMCD065) 1999 English version of Fetus


VARIOUS ARTISTS COMPILATION ALBUMS
La convenzione
(with La convenzione, Paranoia, Stranizza d'ammuri, La convenzione 1997)
D'Autore/Azzurra Music (DA 1008) 2002 CD compilation dedicated to Bla Bla, also includes tracks by Juri Camisasca and Osage Tribe


SINGLES
(up to 1981 - with picture covers)
L'amore partito
Net (N 526) 1965 as Francesco Battiato
bonus with Net magazine - backed with Dani Andress - la fine
E pi ti amo
Net (N 531) 1965 as Francesco Battiato
bonus with Net magazine - backed with Ezio De Gradi - Prima o poi
La torre
Le reazioni
Jolly (J-20410) 1967  
Il mondo va cos
Triste come me
Jolly (J-20425) 1967  
l'amore
Fumo di una sigaretta
Philips (363 728 PF) 1968  
Bella ragazza
Occhi d'or
RT Club (RT 1563) 1969  
Sembrava una serata come tante
Gente
Philips (363 752 PF) 1969  
Vento caldo
Marciapiede
Philips (6025 031) 1971 never officially released
Energia
Una cellula
Bla Bla (BBR 1330) 1972 both tracks from Fetus
La convenzione
Paranoia
Bla Bla (BBR 1333) 1972 gatefold cover - both unreleased tracks - released in two versions, with orange and green labels, with different recordings
L'era del cinghiale bianco
Luna indiana
EMI (3C006-18465) 1979 both tracks from L'era del cinghiale bianco
Bandiera bianca
Summer on a solitary beach
EMI (3C006-18562) 1981 both tracks from La voce del padrone


PROMO-ONLY AND JUKEBOX SINGLES
(with blank covers)
l'amore
Philips (1002 ASC) 1969 white label 4-track promo EP coupled with Georges Moustaki/Lo straniero and others
Bella ragazza RT Club/Polydor (AS 051) 1969 white label juke box single, backed with Bee Gees/First of May
Sembrava una serata come tante
Philips (AS 066) 1969 white label juke box single, backed with Johnny Halliday/Quanto ti amo
Una cellula Bla Bla / Polaris (JB-PO BL 2) 1972 white label juke box single, backed with I Romans/Any way
La convenzione
Paranoia
Bla Bla (BBR 1333) 1972 as the corresponding standard single, but in white label jukebox version

All the Bla Bla albums are much collectible and have become increasingly more expensive during the years, but they're still not impossible to find.

The first two albums had laminated cover, Sulle corde di Aries had a standard gatefold cover, but some copies were made with a rather glossy cardboard that almost gives the effect of a laminated cover. Clic included a black & white lyric booklet.
Some copies of Fetus (like some Bla Bla
singles) had a yellow Billboard sticker. Some sources mention promotional copies on blue vinyl and with an infornation folder.
Different versions of the Fetus, cover exist, the only difference being a small writing "Reparto Tipolitografico CBS-SUGAR" on back, just under the Messaggerie Musicali distribution credit. The cover containing this writing exists on both laminated cardboard and thick, non-laminated cardboard.

According to many sources Pollution was issued at the end of 1972, but the record has on the label the year 1973 and on the vinyl, on the run-off groove of side 1, the date 16-1-73.

Clic was also the first Battiato album to gain an international release, with an uncommon English issue on Island (ILPS 9323) that included three tracks from the Italian version of the same album and one (Aria e rivoluzione, renamed Revolution in the air) from Sulle corde di Aries, all are remixed recordings. The English version had a similar gatefold cover as the Italian one, but didn't include the booklet.
The same album was also released in Spain in 1975, again on Island (88.649-I).
Also some of the 80's releases had international issues, for example in Spain with translated lyrics.
The English version of Fetus was unissued until its release on CD in 1999 (and later on vinyl in 2013).

Since the late 70's Ricordi reissued the Bla Bla albums in the Orizzonte mid-price series; the first four albums, already included in the Feedback double album, were split in two separate compilations, mixing Fetus and Pollution excerpts in the first one (called 1972, on Ricordi/Orizzonte ORL 8127) and Sulle corde di Aries and Clic in the second one (re-titled 1974, on Ricordi/Orizzonte ORL 8128). Both the compilations had rather unoriginal plain coloured single covers and green/white Ricordi labels and are still easy to find.

No counterfeits exist nor foreign issues of Bla Bla production.

The 1972 single with the unreleased tracks La convenzione and Paranoia was issued in two versions, the common one has a green label, another one is on orange label, both have a gatefold cover. The recordings of La convenzione are different, while Paranoia is over one minute longer on the orange label single.
These alternative recordings from the orange label single can be found on the La convenzione CD compilation which also contains tracks by Osage Tribe and Juri Camisasca.

        

Fetus - gatefold cover, front has the Billboard sticker

Pollution - front cover

Sulle corde di Aries - front cover

Clic - front cover

Clic - booklet

Clic - UK issue label

Clic - Spain issue label

M.lle Le Gladiator - front cover

Jukebox - front cover

1972 (Fetus/Pollution reissue) - front cover

Battiato - front cover

Juke box - front cover

L'Egitto prima delle sabbie - front cover

L'era del cinghiale bianco - front cover

Energia - 7" single cover

Energia - inner gatefold

La convenzione - 7" single cover

La convenzione - inner gatefold

Foetus (English version) CD

 

You can find Franco Battiato's official website at http://www.battiato.it 
A very nice fan site dedicated to Battiato is at http://www.battiatovirtual.it/main.htm 

 

Thanks to Fabio Carboni from Soundohm, Valerio D'Angelo, Alessio Annino, Federico Bordo, Luciano Fassa, Stefano Ferrario for information and pictures