A singer songwriter from Piacenza, Alberto Favata
started his career in the late 60's with some singles in a beat style under the
name of Alberto Oro.
At the turn of the seventies, now based and well known in Milan, he took the name of Simon Luca and recorded his first album, Da tremila anni, and some singles on the Victory label. An orchestrated pop album, this went unnoticed despite the help of some name musicians, among which members of Stormy Six and drummer Tullio De Piscopo.
Second album was released with his backing band,
L'Enorme Maria, a sort of supergroup including some of the best musicians from
Milan like Alberto Camerini, Fabio Treves, brothers Ricky (later with Nuova
Idea and New Trolls) and Gigi Belloni, Eugenio
Finardi, Donatella Bardi.
Entitled Per proteggere l'enorme Maria, the album had good sales success and Simon Luca appeared in some open air festivals of the time. The album is slightly more rock-oriented, though not entirely convincing, the singer had an original harsh voice but the arrangements are not particularly effective.
Third and last album, E la mia mente? is
probably his best. Again with help from
L'Enorme Maria (now with Claudio Bazzari
on guitar, Gigi Belloni on bass, Flaviano Cuffari on drums, Ronnie Jackson and
Claudio Ciampini on guitars and singer Flavia Baldassarri), the album has very
good guitar-led parts, though some male-female vocal passages can sound dated at
A rock album rather than a prog one, and including 16 tracks all connected to form two long suites, this can be an interesting listen to many.
Simon Luca ended his career as solo artist after some late singles in the
second half of the 70's. He's remained in the showbiz since then, both in the
advertising world and as composer of TV and movie soundtracks.
His return to a pop-rock style came in 2022 with a new album, Mastico asfalto, credited to Simon Luca & L'Enorme Maria.
|Da tremila anni (Musica della parola)||Victory (VY 10050)||1971||single cover|
|Per proteggere l'enorme Maria||Ariston (AR/LP 12074)||1972||laminated gatefold cover|
|E la mia mente?||Ariston (AR/LP 12102)||1973||laminated gatefold cover|
|Per proteggere l'enorme Maria||Vinyl Magic (VM 052)||1995||reissue of 1972 album|
|E la mia mente?||Vinyl Magic (VM 053)||1995||reissue of 1973 album|
|Mastico asfalto||MP Records (MPRCD 099)||2022||new studio album|
SINGLES (with picture sleeve)
Con la mia chitarra
|Carisch (VCA 26194)||1968||as Alberto Oro|
|Mi sei mancata sai
|Odeon (MSOQ 5370)||1969||as Alberto Oro|
|Tu non mi piaci
Tu te ne vai
|Odeon (MSOQ 5381)||1969||as Alberto Oro|
|Parlo parlo ma penso a
Niente di più facile
|Victory (VY 030)||1971||both tracks from Da tremila anni|
|Piccolo grande immenso
Parlo di lei
|Victory (VY 034)||1971||both tracks from Da tremila anni|
Spegni la luce
|Victory (VY 050)||1971||A side from Da tremila anni|
|Per proteggere l'enorme
Mangia con me il tuo pane
|Ariston (AR 0539)||1972||both tracks from Per proteggere l'enorme Maria|
|Ridammi la mia anima
|Ariston (AR 0556)||1972||both tracks from Per proteggere l'enorme Maria|
|Per proteggere l'enorme
Ridammi la mia anima
|Ariston (AR/EP 1028)||1972||EP - all tracks from Per proteggere l'enorme Maria|
|Io credo in me
Com'è fatto il viso di una donna
|Ariston (AR 0594)||1973|
|Ricordi (SRL 10727)||1974|
|Per favore basta
|Ricordi (SRL 10762)||1975|
|Bang bang (my baby shot me down)
|Ricordi (SRL 10800)||1976|
|E' la luna
L'anima di Giuda
|Spaghetti (ZBSR 7107)||1978|
PROMOTIONAL AND JUKEBOX SINGLES (with blank cover)
Un'ora in città
|Victory/Ariston (VY 035)||1970||only issued in promotional form|
|Spegni la luce||Victory/Ariston (VY 050)||1971||jukebox white label single - backed with Ornella Vanoni/Il tempo di impazzire|
|Spegni la luce||Victory/Transatlantic (VY 050)||1971||different version of the above - backed with Stray/Only what you make it|
|Ridammi la mia anima
Mangia con me il tuo pane
|Ariston (AR 0548)||1972||jukebox white label single - both tracks from Per proteggere l'enorme Maria|
|Per proteggere l'enorme Maria
Ridammi la mia anima
Mangia con me il tuo pane
|Ariston (AR/EP 1028)||1972||promotional 4-track EP with art cover- all the tracks from Per proteggere l'enorme Maria|
|Pazzia||Ricordi (JB 58)||1974||jukebox white label single - backed with Drupi/Sereno è|
First album on Victory is rare though not
particularly sought after, the others on Ariston are
more common to find, both had gatefold covers and black/silver labels.
E la mia mente? was also released in France by Columbia (no. 2C064-95300) in 1974 with a different laminated single cover.
No counterfeits exist.
The 1970 promotional single Senti dottore/Un'ora in città was also issued with the same catalogue number under the name Adalberto, one of the nicknames used by the artist. The version credited to Simon Luca was only pressed in a very limited promotional quantity and is very hard to find.
Da tremila anni - LP
Per proteggere l'enorme Maria - LP
E la mia mente? - LP
E la mia mente? - French issue LP
Mastico asfalto - CD
Ridammi la mia anima - 7" single
|Senti dottore - 7" promotional single|
An interview with Simon Luca, by Augusto Croce, September 2004
1-How did you start as a singer?
always played an important role in my family. My grandmother, my father, some of
my uncles were all into music. Our home, in Piacenza, was always frequented by
artists, musicians, opera singers (one of them, tenor Gianni Poggi was my
godfather), directors, etc. For this reason music always represented to me joy
of living and enthusiasm.
When we moved to Milan, at the age of 13, I formed one of the first student bands, I Semplici, with which I started singing.
My first records as solo singer were released under the name of Alberto Oro, that was chosen for me by my record company, that considered my real name to be little “artistic”. Unsatisfied with it, I decided to change, suggesting the third and fourth of my Christian names, Simon Luca.
2-There are big differences between your debut album and the two following, how come?
In Da Tremila anni, I had to fight against the
dictates of the record company to include a song, Spegni la luce, that
forestalled my musical tastes, which were already into the rock blues and
progressive style, with various influences typically Italian and mitteleuropean.
From what I’m saying you can understand that the relations between the artists and the record companies were very difficult back then, in the years of student protest. The contracts were tying, the fees ridiculously low, and the press offices, accustomed to dealing with “yesmen” artists, couldn’t stand doing what they liked with everyone. As a law student, in that time of student protest, I rebelled against their bullying. And this especially happened with Per proteggere l’enorme Maria.
3-"L'Enorme Maria" has often been described as a supergroup. Can you tell us something about them and your collaboration? And where did the title "Per proteggere l'Enorme Maria" come from?
Your question lets me understand that
“L’Enorme Maria" is considered as an independent group, but it was in
fact my own group, “Simon Luca & L’Enorme Maria” was my own name and
I formed that group with the aim to have an open line-up, a thing that was totally new in Italy, for two reasons: the first was to carry out my idea of an ensemble of many interchangeable musicians for an instrument. The second was to create, through a practice ground like “L’Enorme Maria”, new room for young artists and musicians believing in true music and not in the exhibition of themselves through music. The album title came from my desire to defend the idea behind my group from the continuous pressure coming from my record company that wanted it to be split to reduce the costs of the promotional tours.
I resisted as much as my finances allowed me to do this, but at last I had to renounce. Some critics wanted to see in "L’Enorme Maria" the strong presence of marijuana, but beyond the absolute freedom of thought and personal choices which our togetherness was based on, the bonding agent of that musical experience was certainly not marijuana, but just the music, and the love of music.
Many of those musicians who shared
that experience did it with enthusiasm and creative generosity. And from that
experience, that some of those people still remember with nostalgia, many of
those musicians started their successful personal paths, to my great and
intimate satisfaction, a thing that proved that my initial idea was good.
I want to mention, among these, Fabio Treves, Gigi and Ricky Belloni, Ezio Malgrati, Pepè Gagliardi, Paolo Donnarumma, Claudio Bazzari, Marco Ferradini, Alberto Camerini, Flaviano Cuffari, Alberto Mompellio, Ronnie Jackson, Claudio Ciampini, Flavia Baldassarri, Donatella Bardi, Massimo Villa, Eugenio Finardi, Lucio Fabbri, Walter Calloni, Roberto Colombo,Lalla Francia, Lella Esposito, Franco Orlandini.
4-After "E la mia mente?" you just produced many singles but no more albums. What was the reason of this break and the following end of your solo career?
was one of so many people to which the liability of military service took away
two essential years. Since when I left, I noticed that the propitious
circumstances that I had created around me were slowly dying. Two years of break
in a time when the musical taste was quickly changing and disco music was
rushing in, produced a total damage.
When I came back, my record company only proposed things that I didn’t accept, and working methods that were far away from my choices. At last I decided that the time to stop singing had come, and I only dedicated to composing.
5-Which have been the most significant experiences you had after "Simon Luca"?
is no post-Simon Luca, as I only decided to stop singing, not composing. The
chance of writing music for such big artists as Mina, Ornella Vanoni, Milva,
Bruno Lauzi, Astor Piazzolla, Marco Ferradini [popular Italian artists of last
decades], warms your heart and lets you think you’re lucky.
The world of advertising, the cinema, the television, the documentaries, are today the other sides of my personal way of meaning music. I’m afraid to notice that the Italian specialised press gives really little attention to the irreplaceable role of the composers.
Unfortunately, as everyone knows, we’re living in a world of people wanting to become visible, and he who is not visible, doesn’t exist.
But I do exist, and these are some of the things I did in the latest years, and the results I obtained:
recorded by other artists
MINA - Colpa mia, Tradirò, Bambola gonfiabile, Chi sarà, Qualcosa in più, Voglio stare bene, Colori , Tra Napoli e un bicchiere
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA - Oblivion (J’oublie), ‘Che’ tango ‘che’, Años de soledad, Finale
MILVA - Occhi saraceni
ORNELLA VANONI - Variante, Un gioco senza età (orchestral arrangement)
IVA ZANICCHI - Canterò, Care colleghe (orchestral arrangement)
DIK DIK - E’ questione d’amore, Auguri, Ai bambini fa male, Gente strana
MARCO FERRADINI - Quando Teresa verrà. Karkadè, Gatto, San Martino
MAL - Una malattia
BRUNO LAUZI - Pensa per te, Cantico
ROSANNA FRATELLO - Io canto per amore
PAOLO MENGOLI - Ora ridi con me
I GENS - Stamattina
and also ANNA IDENTICI, NICOLA DI BARI, DONATELLA MORETTI, LE STREGHE, LIANELLA VIRGILI, I DALTON, LIANA ORFEI, FRANCA MAZZOLA and others.
I composed the soundtracks for movies and TV films and
variety series, for Rai and RTI Mediaset.
Along with these I worked in the publicity field, with works for the likes of Gatorade, Citterio, Mentos, Roccobarocco, Fidogatto, Gioia, Zenith and many others.
Also in the video and DVD documentaries field, for the likes of De Agostini, Pirelli, Heineken, and the Ministries of Tourism of Thailand and Jordan.
Some of these spots, works and products also received Italian and international awards, among which a Bronze Lion at 36th Cannes Film Festival, an US Mobius TV Award, an Eurobest award and many others.
Many thanks to Simon Luca for his friendly help, the interview
and all the information on his past and present career.
Also thanks to Marzio Barbieri, Luciano Fassa and Giancarlo Calì for information.