Liberal Arts Blog — “Volare”

Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is Joy of Music Day

Today’s Topic: Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People IX: “Volare” (Modugno/Migliacci) — Chagall-inspired

Who hasn’t dreamed of flying? Well, in 1957, song-writer Franco Migliacci, inspired by Chagall and several glasses of wine, had a dream of doing just that in a bright blue sky with himself painted blue. His buddy, the singer Domenico Modugno, helped him polish the lyrics and melody, and the song would become the winner of both the first Grammy for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year in 1959. It would go on to be covered by countless artists including Paul McCartney, Dean Martin, and David Bowie, and become the biggest foreign-language hit in US history. The appeal is global. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

LYRICS — PRELUDE — do not, under any circumstances, not click on the original performance below

”Penso che un sogno cosi non ritorni mai piu” (I thought that such a dream would never return)

“Mi dipinchevo le mani e la faccia di blu” (I painted my hands and face with blue)

“Poi d’improviso venivo dal vento rapito (Then suddenly a strong wind came)

“E incomenciavo a volare nel cielo infinito” (And I began to fly in the infinite sky)


“Volare, oh, oh, Cantare, oh oh oh oh” (Fly, oh, oh Sing, oh, oh, oh, oh)

“Nel blu dipinto di blu, Felice di stare lassu” (In the blue, painted blue, happy to be there”

“E volavo, volavo, felice piu in alto, del sole e ancora piu in su” (and I was flying, flying, happy, higher than the sun, and higher)

“Mientro il mondo pian piano spariva lontano la giu” (while the world slowly slips away)

“Una musica dolce suonava soltanto per me” (sweet music sounded only for me)

LYRICS — CLIMAX AND CONCLUSION — and check out the Bowie and McCartney versions

“Ma tutti sogni nel alba svaniscon perche” (but all dreams disappear at dawn because)

“Cuando tramonta la luna li porta con se” (when the moon sets, he takes them with him)

“Ma io continuo a sognare nel occhi tuo belli, che sono blu come il cielo dipunto di stelle”

(but I still dream in. your beautiful eyes, as blue as the sky full of stars)

“Volare, o, o, Cantare o, o, o, o “ (Flying, o, o, Singing, oh, oh, oh ,oh)

“Net blu, degli occhi tuoi blu” (In the blue, the blue of your eyes)

“Felilce di stare quaggiu” (happy to be there)

“E continuo a volare felice piu in alto del sole ed ancora piu in su” (And I continue to fly, happy, higher than the sun, and even higher)

“Mientra il mondo pian pian scompare nel occhi tuoi blu” (while the world slowly, slowly disappears in your eyes)

“La tua voce e una musica dolce que suona per me” (Your voice is sweet music that sings to me)

“Volare, o, o, Cantare, o, o, o, o” (Singing, oh, oh, Flying, oh, oh, oh, oh)

“Con te” (with you)

Original performance:

Domenico Modugno — Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)

Later version:

David Bowie version:

Paul McCartney version

Paul McCartney — Volare

Post script: The “Keys to the Hearts” list needed an Italian song. Volare’s rival for inclusion

was “O Sole Mio.” I’m not exactly sure why I made the choice I did. Perhaps because

“O Sole Mio” is too operatic. “Volare” is more fun and accessible. What would your

pick have been?


Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week

related to music.

Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music.

Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips

for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight

into the history of music….Or just something

random about music… like a joke about drummers.

jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter

in your musical autobiography.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day.

And perhaps to cement in your memory something

important you would otherwise forget. Or to think

more deeply than you otherwise would about

something that matters to you.