"Complessi beat" - Italian groups 1960 -1970




Following the "British invasion" in the first years of the sixties and the global success of Beatles and Rolling Stones and many others bands, also in Italy during the decade has started a process of imitation . Two elements were back to the phenomenon: the hegemony in the music sector of the Anglo-Saxons models, after the II World War, and the strong request of new music coming from Italy, at that time a fast growing country, with many young people, one of the main music market in the western world.

Everywhere in the peninsula, almost in every town, thousand of young people, mostly boys, but also girls, decided to create a musical group, the name used at that time was "complesso" (complex), based on the model coming from UK: a lead guitar, a second guitar, an electric bass, drums; afterwards, following the new directions in the music, keyboards and wind instruments were sometimes added.


The Main Ones:

Camaleonti / Corvi / Dik Dik / Equipe 84 / Kings / New Dada / Nomadi / Rokes


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In our directories more than 1400 groups are listed, and for sure they were even more. Most of them had only a concert based activity, without the opportunity to publish their works on a disc. Many others have published one or more 45 rpm singles. The great majority of these discs were "covers" of international songs (mostly from UK) with the same arrangement of the original (more or less) and the lyrics adapted to the Italian language, very often in a freely way, and sometimes totally unrelated. Actually, the Italian beat groups were sometimes only covers bands, but with many models to follow. In our directory more than 700 covers of that period are listed.

The main groups have performed also songs written by Italian music professionals (Pace, Panzeri, Del Prete, Pallavicini, Guccini, Mogol, Battisti, Vecchioni ...), that have created new materials following the new directions in the music. Only few "complessi" have proposed Italian versions with lyrics written by the group themselves or using new arrangements (Equipe 84, Jaguars, Giganti, Kings, Delfini, Pooh) and even less have proposed songs written by the group members. Maybe only one with some success: The Rokes.

Other Interesting Groups:

Aldo e i Falisci / Ancients / Angeli / Anonima Sound / Apostoli / Astrali / Balordi / Barabba / Bisce / Bisonti / Blacks / Blande Figure  / Chetro & Co. / Chewing Gum /Chiodi / Cuccioli / Evy / Fantom's / Ferry, Franco, Renč, Danny & Gaby / Frenetici / Fuggiaschi / Generali / Gene Guglielmi / Gens  Pipers / Pops / Planets / Ragazzi del Sole / Rokketti / Rogers / Scooters / Le Stelle di Mario Schifano / Uragani


The Rokes were anyway a group coming from UK, as many others in this period (the Italian music market was very rich of opportunities) and became famous almost only in Italy, the number 1 of the period, together with the Equipe 84.

Only very few groups of the sixties were still in activity during the following decade, less than a dozen or two; several groups have reformed themselves or have evolved towards the new progressive rock genre (New Trolls, Orme, Califfi, Franchi-Giorgetti-Talamo, Area, Osanna, Balletto di Bronzo, PFM, Campo di Marte ...).

Between these thousands of bands, only two groups coming from the sixties are still in activity, not having stopped ever their presence in the music: I Nomadi and I Pooh.


 © Music Graffiti 2008 - 2012



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