The Panini company was founded in Modena, Italy, in 1961 by two brothers, Benito and Giuseppe Panini, who had a knack for selling cute collectibles directed at the children’s market. Panini was essentially the Italian version of Topps, which dominated the market for baseball cards for the entire postwar era.
Panini mostly did sports stickers and cards but in 1968 they decided to put out a large set of cards dedicated to “Cantanti,” which is to say, the singers. The set numbered well over 200, and many of the acts were U.S. and U.K. acts who had been dominating the international charts for years: the Beatles, the Stones, James Brown, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, and so on.
What grabbed my attention, however, were the large number of Italian acts, working away in the “beat” genre, that I’d never heard of before and whose pictures struck me as quite comical and charming. My guess would be that many of these acts are not much more remembered in Italy than they are here, although surely a few were standouts. (One of them, it should be said, I did recognize, that being Adriano Celentano, whose marvelous parody of U.S. rock singing styles, “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” has been featured on DM before.)
Regardless of the often English-sounding names (“The Patrick Samson Set,” “The Rokes”), all of these acts did exist and were Italian, with back catalog lovingly corroborated by Discogs. The two exceptions are “Barbara e Dick,” who were from Argentina, and “Dino, Daisy, and Billy,” which featured the sons of Dean Martin and Desi Arnaz, and were obviously from the U.S.
Can anyone out there translate “I Dik Dik”?
Barbara e Dick
I Ragazzi Della Via Gluck
The Patrick Samson Set
I Dik Dik
Dino, Daisy, and Billy
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Adriano Celentano’s viral video ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’ with English subtitles