Salvatore Adamo, the gentle gardener of love
A career spanning nearly fifty-five years and more than 30 albums with some 500 songs and more than 100 million records sold worldwide... Such staggering figures make Salvatore Adamo one of Belgium’s best-selling artists and earn him his place among the world's 100 best record sellers. He is one of 6 French speakers to appear in this list alongside Tino Rossi, Charles Aznavour, Dalida, Mireille Mathieu and Johnny Hallyday.
Salvatore Adamo is unquestionably one of the most appreciated Belgians and one who has succeeded in delighting audiences around the world, particularly by singing in some of the more unusual languages including Turkish and Japanese. Jacques Brel nicknamed him "the gentle gardener of love", perfectly defining the man, articles about whom testify to his interest in humanity as a whole or the individual in its uniqueness.
This Belgian-Italian songwriter and composer, born on 1st November 1943 in the city of Comiso (Province of Ragusa, Sicily), is a sophisticated product of the significant economic immigration from Italy that Belgium was experiencing at the time. Post-war Italy was in desperate straits and whole regions were plunged into unspeakable poverty. In 1947, Salvatore's father decided to go into exile in Belgium, wanting to work in the mines in Borinage.
Living in quite a restrictive environment, Adamo began to escape through his songs. At first, his parents, serious and hard-working immigrants, frowned upon their eldest son's idea of choosing a "good-for-nothing" job.
In 1960, he took part in a Radio Luxembourg competition and won the final in Paris. He enjoyed a first success in 1963 with "Sans toi ma mie". Next came "Tombe la neige, Vous permettez Monsieur, La Nuit (1964), Dolce Paola (in reference to Paola, the Princess of Liège at the time and future Belgian Queen), Les Filles du bord de mer and Mes mains sur tes hanches (1965), Ton nom, Une mèche de cheveux (1966), Une larme aux nuages, Inch'Allah, Notre roman (1967), L'amour te ressemble, F… comme femme, (1968), À demain sur la lune, Petit bonheur (1969), Va mon bateau (1970), J'avais oublié que les roses sont roses (1971), C'est ma vie (1975)".
He also turned to cinema in "Les Arnaud" (1967) with Bourvil and "L'Ardoise" (1970) with Jess Hahn, and coproduced "L'Île au coquelicot" (1970) with Eddy Matalon.
In 1999-2000, he performed his first French tour in ten years, which concluded on stage at Olympia. In 2014, he released a tribute through fifteen songs, under the title "Adamo Chante Bécaud". After this collection of realist songs, Salvatore Adamo revised his musical style in "L'Amour N'a Jamais Tort", released in 2016.
As he celebrates his 75th birthday on the BOZAR stage, the artist is preparing to become a Belgian. Italy, which up until now has not authorised dual nationality for its nationals, has just relaxed its rules in this respect.
Copyright photo: Belga