Silvana Aliotta (vocals, percussion)
Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone (guitar, vocals)
Gianni Bianco (bass)
Roberto “Johnny” Betti (drums)
Betti replaced by
Franco "Dede" Loprevite (drums, vocals)
One of the few American sounding Italian bands, and so
convincing that even Vernon Joynson, in his 1988 book The Flashback included
them in the US psychedelia section!
Circus 2000, from Turin, were formed in 1970 when singer Silvana Aliotta joined the group Best Genius, and released late that year both their first album and single (containing Italian versions of two songs from the LP) with the new name imposed by their record company.
The album had no line-up references on the cover, and many people at the time thought they were an English or American band. It contains ten songs, with a very short running time, with strong californian psych influence and the beautiful female voice of Silvana Aliotta above all. A mediocre album, not representative of the Italian style, yet it's regarded by many as a very nice one. I am the witch (also on single in the Italian version Io, la strega) is one of the best cuts.
As so many other bands throughout the world had to do, Circus 2000 had to alternate between the most original and inventive material (sung in English) on the LP and more commercial tracks (in Italian) on singles, and they released Regalami un sabato sera in 1971 (backed by a very nice Ho regalato i capelli, Italian version of a song from the first album) used in a popular TV series.
Second album came in 1972, still in English but with a slightly more polished sound and some progressive influences. An escape from a box is again a very short album, around 33 minutes, but the five songs are longer and the opening Hey man (also released as a single) the best track. In the same year the group won, along with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, the second "Festival d'Avanguardia e Nuove Tendenze" held in Rome in June 1972 playing Need.
With the new drummer Louis Atzori, Circus 2000 recorded some songs for a new LP, but their label wanted it to be more rock-inspired and the group decided to split. The only remaining tracks taken from those recordings, Dove va la mia gente and Il mio paese, show a much less aggressive sound than in the past. The RiFi label offered to singer Silvana Aliotta
a solo deal (as Silvana dei Circus 2000)
that made her releases some singles with the Circus 2000 musicians as backing band, but the choice proved to be not
Aliotta, that had already released some singles in the 60's, collaborated as singer and percussionist with many popular Italian artists (among them Mina, Edoardo Bennato, Adriano Celentano), then formed the disco-trio Le Streghe and released a disco music single under the name Ben Norman in 1980; later she dedicated to the singing teacher activity.
Original drummer Johnny Betti founded the small Shirak label and formed Living
Life along with guitarist Quartarone. The latter was also involved in the Il
vangelo secondo Barabba album.
The other drummer of the band, Dede Loprevite, played with Duello Madre, Nova and Kim & the Cadillacs. He passed away in 2014.
|Circus 2000||RiFi (RFL-ST 14049)||1970||single cover with fluorescent writing|
|Akarma (AK 1021)||1999||single cover|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM LP014)||2013||as above|
|An escape from a box||RiFi (RDZ-ST 14215)||1972||gatefold laminated cover|
|Akarma (AK 1022)||1999||gatefold cover|
|Halidon (HALP 04)||2012||as above|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM LP015)||2015||new reissue with gatefold cover - exists with blue or purple vinyl|
|Boxing circus||Akarma (AK 2014)||1999||10" compilation with six singles tracks plus two unreleased cuts|
|Circus 2000||Vinyl Magic (VM 014)||1989||reissue of 1970 album|
|Akarma (AK 1021)||1999||as above with mini LP gatefold cover and 4 bonus tracks|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 014CD)||2010||as above|
|An escape from a box||Vinyl Magic (VM 015)||1989||reissue of 1972 album|
|Akarma (AK 1022)||1999||as above with mini LP gatefold cover and 2 bonus tracks|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 015CD)||2010||as above|
VARIOUS ARTISTS COMPILATIONS
(with Hey man pt.II)
|RiFi (PDZ ST 14216)||1972||compilation also featuring Mack Porter, Iva Zanicchi, I Raccomandati, Alberto Anelli, Leonardo, Laura Carlini, I Gatti di Vicolo Miracoli, Augusto Martelli, Kris Kristofferson, Don Cherry|
SINGLES (with picture sleeves)
|Io, la strega
|RiFi (RFN NP 16424)||1970||both tracks from Circus 2000 but sung in Italian - early copies included a 2-sided promo insert for the first album|
|I can't believe
I am the witch
|RiFi (RFN NP 16443)||1971||both tracks from Circus 2000|
|Regalami un sabato sera
Ho regalato i capelli
|RiFi (RFN NP 16444)||1971||B-side from Circus 2000 but sung in Italian|
|Hey man pt.I
Hey man pt.II
|RiFi (RFN NP 16466)||1972||a track from An escape from a box, divided in two parts|
|Diskotür (DT 6016 - RFN NP 16466) - Turkey||1972||both unreleased tracks but probably not played by Circus 2000 - only released in Turkey|
Little bitty pretty one
|Diskotür (DT 6017 - RIFI 16495) - Turkey||1972||both unreleased tracks but probably not played by Circus 2000 - only released in Turkey|
PROMO-ONLY AND JUKEBOX SINGLES (with blank covers)
|Io, la strega||RiFi (RJB NP 98019)||1970||juke box single - backed with Michele/Ti giuro che ti amo|
|Pioggia sottile||RiFi (RJB NP 98022)||1970||juke box single - backed with Iva Zanicchi/Una storia di mezzanotte|
|I can't believe
I am the witch
|RiFi (RJB NP 98024)||1971||juke box single - both tracks from Circus 2000|
|Need||RiFi (RM 98063)||1972||juke box single - a track from An escape from a box - backed with Xit/I am happy about you|
Both albums by Circus 2000 are now rare and expensive,
probably pressed in small quantities. All their production came on
Circus 2000 has a distinctive single matt black cover with fluorescent red/orange/green design. The same picture that appears on it was also used for the first three singles. Three tracks from this album appeared on singles, but in a different Italian-sung version, these were I am the witch (Io la strega), I can't believe (Pioggia sottile), Must walk forever (Ho regalato i capelli).
The composers' names on the labels are Vermar (nickname of Marinco Rigaldi) and Bob Michaels, an English musician who came to Italy with The Dave Anthony's Moods, but it's likely that they weren't the real composers and that their names were used because the band members were not registered to SIAE.
Second album An escape from a box came in a gatefold laminated sleeve.
The record company clearly relied on the the promotion of this album and released a very low number of copies enclosed in a cardboard box with no titles printed and with a part of the original drawing on the cover; the box also included a b&w picture of the band. These boxes are extremely rare.
A 20-page booklet was also printed, containing the scores and lyrics of the album and some of these booklets were found in promotional copies.
Even in this case, as with the first LP, the authors of the five tracks were not band members, they were Visir (Alessandro Colombini) and Vermar (Marinco Rigaldi).
Counterfeits exist for both albums, pressed in late 80's, but
these are easily recognised due to the very bootleg-looking white labels with black text (originals
have the black RiFi label with rainbow coloured rim). The covers of these reissues are made of smooth cardboard, the first album doesn't have fluorescent colours, the second is non-laminated.
They have also been reissued by Akarma, with the CD versions containing extra tracks: the first album contains the four italian-sung songs issued on single at the time, while the reissue of An escape from a box has been enriched with two unreleased tracks, Dove va la mia gente and L'ultimo paese (recorded by the last line-up with drummer Louis Atzori), both also on the Boxing circus mini-LP. Even the 2010 CD reissues by BTF contain the same bonus tracks.
An escape from a box has been reissued again on vinyl in 2012 by the Halidon label. Circus 2000 was also reissued on LP in 2013 by BTF, that also reissued the second album in 2015 on both blue and purple vinyl.
Circus 2000 played the soundtrack to the film Una vita lunga un giorno (1973, directed by Ferdinando Baldi) composed by Pinuccio Pirazzoli.
Some of their records were released abroad at the time: in
Spain a single was released in 1972 on
(MO 1291), with Hey man pt.I & II, housed in a nice picture cover.
In Holland a single with I am the witch and The lord he has no hands was issued on the Explosion label (DEX 01), probably in 1971.
Oddly some of their records were also issued in Turkey: the debut album was
released in 1972 on Diskotür (DTLP 20002) with a different cover,
then two mysterious singles appeared on the same label, both with picture covers, but singer Silvana Aliotta, in an interview published in the BEATi voi! magazine in 2011 categorically denied that they had been played by Circus 2000.
Both singles have, along with the Diskotür catalogue number, a RiFi number on the label and on vinyl, that in the first single corresponds to another official release, Hey man, as if they had been also released in Italy.
Circus 2000 - LP
Circus 2000 - LP label
An escape from a box - gatefold cover
|An escape from a box - original label (left) and 80's counterfeit (right)|
|An escape from a box - promotional box and photo|
|An escape from a box - score and lyric booklet|
|Io la strega - 7" single||I am the witch - 7" single|
|Regalami un sabato sera - 7" single||Hey man - 7" single|
Boxing circus - 10" LP
Circus 2000 - LP (Turkey)
|Exotic nights - 7" single (Turkey)||Mañana - 7" single (Turkey)|
|I am the witch - 7" single (Holland)|
|Hey man - 7" single (Spain)|
Many thanks to Miguel Rodriguez, Laura Albergante, Giuliano Semprucci, Pierre Tassone, Luiz Claudio Cals Brugger, Salvatore Di Ronza, Chris Furse, Marco Bonacchi, for scans and information.