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The lyrics are in Italian. The title translates to "The Blue (Sky), Painted in Blue" ("Volare": to fly). Modugno co-wrote it with Franco Migliacci after Modugno described a man's dream of flying through the air with his hands painted blue.
Domenico Modugno was one of the first Italian Pop music stars to gain international fame. This was his only US hit: it was #1 for 5 weeks in 1958.
This was the first foreign-language single to top the singles charts in the rock era. Billboard magazine declared it #1 for the year 1958.
Dean Martin (#12 in 1958), Bobby Rydell (#4 in 1960), and Al Martino (#33 in 1975) hit the charts with versions with English lyrics written by Michael Parish.
Domenico Modugno died of a heart attack in 1994; Dean Martin passed away on Christmas Day, 1995. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
Modugno performed this for the first time at the Sanremo Song Festival in Italy, where he won first prize. (thanks, Orlando - Treviso, Italy)
This song won the first Grammy Award for Record Of The Year in 1959. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
In an era where most hits were either penned by outside songwriters or covers of previously recorded songs, this was the first Hot 100 #1 to be written or co-written by its singer.
Mike Love of The Beach Boys
The lead singer/lyricist of The Beach Boys talks about coming up with the words for "Good Vibrations," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Kokomo" and other classic songs.
Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.