De André, Songwriter of Italian Protest Movement, 58
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
ROME -- Fabrizio De André, one of Italy's most popular singers and
songwriters, died on Jan. 11 in a hospital in Milan where he was admitted
in December. He was 58.
The cause was cancer, according to Italian news reports.
Known in Italy as the "poet of music," De André became popular during
the mid-1960's when his songs of rebellion and social justice struck a
note with Italian youth.
His popularity rocketed after his songs were adopted as the anthems of
the protest movement that swept Italy in 1968.
Like Leonard Cohen, De André was recognized foremost as a poet who
put his own words to music. In Italy he developed the idea of the concept
album with songs revolving around one theme.
Among his most popular works were "The Good News," based upon the Apocrypha,
and a 1971 album based on "Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters.
He was one of the first Italian performers to integrate his songs with
musical influences from different ethnic backgrounds, including those of
Fabrizio De André was born in Genoa in 1940. His first musical hit
came in 1965 when Mina, a popular Italian singer, recorded a best-selling
version of his "Canzone di Marinella." Best-selling albums followed, weaving
De André's compelling lyrics and his multifaceted musical vision
that gave voice to the angst of his generation.
Eclectic in his choice of subjects, from big-hearted prostitutes to disaffected
civil servants, his music reflected a wide range of influences.
De André lived for many years in Sardinia, even after he was kidnapped
by political extremists and held hostage with his wife, Dori Ghezzi, for
more than three months in 1979.
He is survived by his wife, a son, Cristiano, and a daughter, Luvi.