ROME (AP) - His musical roots were in jazz, but his songs ranged from folk to pop to classical to opera, creating a soundtrack beloved by generations of Italians.
Dalla had just given a concert Wednesday evening in the Swiss city known for its music and “was in fine form,” said Pascal Pellegrino, the director of Montreux’s “culture season.” Pellegrino said the performance was warmly applauded and Dalla stayed on to chat with fans.
Dalla wrote all of his own lyrics in a career that spanned decades. He was also a noted musician, playing the clarinet, saxophone and piano.
He toured abroad frequently, including in the United States, sometimes with another famed Italian folksong writer, Francesco De Gregori.
Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano, was among those quickly paying tribute Thursday.
“(Dalla was) a strong and original voice who contributed to renew and promote Italian song in the world. He was an artist beloved by so many Italians,” the president said in a condolence message to Dalla’s family.
Promoted by another Italian singer and songwriter, Gino Paoli, Dalla started performing in the 1960s. In 1977, Dalla’s first album with songs written by himself _ “How Deep is the Sea” _ came out. He produced new albums nearly every year over the next few years, including the popular “Banana Republic.”
Another popular song was his 1990 “Beware of the Wolf” on the album “Cambio,” which sold nearly 1.4 million copies, according to Dalla’s website.
His version of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” was performed in Rome’s Santa Cecilia auditorium in 1997, and he wrote an opera “Tosca. Amore disperato,” inspired by Puccini’s Tosca.
The songwriter had eclectic artistic interests and was the curator of a contemporary art gallery in Bologna for many years.