Gianna Nannini (1979)

Cercherò mi sono sempre detta cercherò
troverai mi hanno sempre detto troverai
per oggi sto con me mi basto
nessuno mi vede
e allora accarezzo la mia solitudine
ed ognuno ha il suo corpo
a cui sa cosa chiedere
chiedere chiedere chiedere

Fammi sognare
lei si morde la bocca e si sente l’America
fammi volare
lui allunga la mano e si tocca l’America
fammi l’amore
forte sempre più forte come fosse l’America
fammi l’amore
forte sempre più forte ed io sono l’America

Cercherai mi hanno sempre detto cercherai
e troverò ora che ti accarezzo troverò
ma quanta fantasia ci vuole per sentirsi in due
quando ognuno è da sempre nella sua solitudine
e regala il suo corpo ma non sa cosa chiedere chiedere chiedere chiedere

Fammi volare
lei le mani sui fianchi come fosse l’America
fammi sognare
lui che scende e che sale e si sente l’America
fammi l’Amore
lei che pensa ad un altro e si inventa l’America
fammi l’amore
forte sempre più forte ed io sono l’America


Translated by: Bridget Pupillo

I’ll keep looking, I’ve always told myself I’ll keep looking
you will find it, they’ve always told me you will find it
but for today I’ll stay by myself, I’m all I need
nobody sees me
and so I caress my loneliness
and everyone has their own body
and knows what to ask of it
ask ask ask

Make me dream,
she bites her lip and feels America
make me fly,
he reaches out his hand and touches America
make love to me
hard, harder, as if I were America
make love to me
hard, harder, and I am America

You’ll keep looking, they’ve always told me you’ll keep looking
and I will find it, now that I’m caressing you I will find it
but how much imagination it takes to feel like two people
when everyone has always been alone
and gives up his body but doesn’t know what to ask
ask ask ask

Make me fly,
she with her hands on her hips as if she were America
make me dream,
he who goes down and up and feels America
make love to me,
she thinks of another and invents America
make love to me
hard, harder, and I am America

Gianna Nannini: America (1979)

(By Sabrina Ovan, Scripps College)

“America” is the hit that sparked the success of songwriter Gianna Nannini in Italy, and the first of her singles to reach third place in the Italian top 10 (the “hit parade”). The controversial lyrics, a suggestive celebration of male and female masturbation, contributed greatly to the single’s success. To add to the provocation, the single cover, designed by famed illustrator Mauro Convertino, showed a picture of the Statue of Liberty holding a stars-and-stripes dildo in her hand. The single embodied the “Sex, drugs and Rock and roll” philosophy, but the fact that the hit was sung by a woman (Italy’s first female rock singer) stirred a scandal. In the changing, but still conservatively traditional Italy of the late 1970s, scandal greatly helped the album skyrocket to the top of the charts.

The song was written in collaboration with singer and writer Roberto Vecchioni, who was called by the recording team behind Nannini (the Italian label Ricordi) after the singer’s first two albums Gianna Nannini (1976) and Una Radura (1977) flopped. Gianna started changing her style to embrace simpler rock arrangements and lyrics that could better fit her particular voice. America stood out thanks to the provocative originality of the lyrics: the scandalous “anthem of autoeroticism” is actually a very poetic composition, that, while retaining its full suggestive power, is never vulgar and it’s stylistically well organized.

Like America The songs in this album, California are also perfectly adapted to the singer’s personality and her singular voice: husky and raucous and with a specific erotic character. In an extensive 1980 interview with the feminist publication Effe (where she claims she was one of the first subscribers) Nannini explains how she reached intimate and intense style in the album: a style that breaks stereotypes of gender and sexuality. The singer insists on show she was working on new sounds but mostly on language. California is her third album, but the first that works in terms of language, while in the first two albums the language was not expressive enough. What she aims to do, she claims, is “to talk about stereotypes, but more importantly about the hidden sides of our sexuality that go against the ruling ideology, and are difficult to accept for everybody”.
America was reinterpreted in many versions. Among the best known are the 1994 cover by Fratelli di Soledad, included in their album Salviamo il Salvabile. The singer Dolcenera included a version of “America” in her album Il popolo dei sogni (2006), while another singer, Annalisa, performed a version of Nannini’s “America” during the 2016 edition of Festival di Sanremo.