Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Matia Bazar "Play Boy" b/w "Tu simplicita" - Italy 1978

Antonella Ruggiero began recording as "Matia" in 1974 and formed the band Matia Bazar (meaning simply "Matia Bazaar" in English) a couple of years later, in Genoa.  The band represented Italy in the 1979 Eurovision song contest, and had one #1 hit in Italy and Belgium (this is not it).  I don't think anyone in the US knows them.

Here is an extensive and quite cool official band site, here is their Wikipedia entry and here is a Russian-language fan site.  The official site also has a Russian option, so they must have a following there as well.

I had never heard of them until stumbling across this single in a second-hand store in Paris a couple of years ago, where I picked it up for 1 or 2 euro.  I bought a handful of other European discs with more obvious appeal (glam and surf) there that day, and a few will more will be posted here.  My copy is a French pressing although the lyric on both sides is in Italian.

The five-people-taking-a-bubble-bath cover led me to the purchase, and frankly at the price asked I didn't care much what the record sounded like.  As a bonus the music is quite good, the A-side despite the high-pitched female vocal reminds me of a later period George Martin-arranged Beatles song in a number of ways, down to a very George Harrison-style brief guitar solo.  The "kazoo" backing vocals especially make this sound like a song that would fit in with the early '70s "toytown" pop compilations that have been popular with psych fans in recent years, and I'm surprised that people were still turning out that kind of music several years later.

The B-side is a bit more sedate but also a nice pop tune that I would have guessed was recorded at least 5 years earlier.  Quality stuff.

Give it a listen!

1 comment:

  1. the lady in the frount is antonella ruggiero and she left them in 1989 but still sings today she's one of the worlds greatest singers