29 settembre

Lyrics by Mogol; Music by Lucio Battisti, 1967 (Equipe 84 version), 1969 (Lucio Battisti version)

Seduto in quel caffè
io non pensavo a te
guardavo il mondo che
girava intorno a me
poi d’improvviso lei sorrise
e ancora prima di capire
mi trovai sottobraccio a lei
stretto come se non ci fosse che lei.

Vedevo solo lei
e non pensavo a te
e tutta la città
correva incontro a noi
il buio ci trovò vicini
un ristorante e poi
di corsa a ballar sottobraccio a lei
stretto verso casa abbracciato a lei
quasi come se non ci fosse che
quasi come se non ci fosse che lei
quasi come se non ci fosse che
quasi come se non ci fosse che lei.

Mi son svegliato e
e sto pensando a te
ricordo solo che
che ieri non eri con me
il sole ha cancellato tutto
di colpo volo giù dal letto
e corro lì al telefono
parlo, rido e tu, tu non sai perché.

T’amo, t’amo e tu, tu non sai perché
parlo, rido e tu, tu non sai perché
t’amo t’amo e tu, tu non sai perché
parlo, rido e tu, tu non sai perché
t’amo, t’amo e tu, tu non sai perché…

September 29

Translated by: Francesco Ciabattoni

Sitting in that coffee place
I wasn’t thinking of you
I looked at the world,
spinning around me
suddenly, she smiled
and before I even realized it
I found myself arm in arm with her
tight as if there were nothing other than her.

I only saw her
and did not think of you
and the entire city
ran towards us
darkness found us together
in a restaurant and then
so fast, dancing arm in arm with her,
hugging tightly as we head home together
almost as if there were nothing other than her
almost as if there were nothing other than her
almost as if there were nothing other than her
almost as if there were nothing other than her.

I woke up and
I’m thinking of you
all I remember is
that yesterday you weren’t with me
the sun has erased everything
suddenly I leap off the bed
and run to the phone

I talk and laugh and you, you don’t know why.
I love you, love you and you don’t know why
I talk and laugh and you, you don’t know why
I love you, love you and you don’t know why
I talk and laugh and you, you don’t know why
I love you, love you and you don’t know why…

By Francesco Ciabattoni (Georgetown University)
A married man meets a woman in a cafè, has an affair with her, completely oblivious of his wife and deeply enthralled by the new sexual adventure. The next morning he wakes up and calls his wife, a regular conversation takes place, but an awkward feeling is perceptible in their exchanges. “29 settembre” is a perfect example of a song whose focus is on an individual’s private life, with no concern for political or collective issues, and yet the language and the pop sound are far removed from the mannerism of the Sanremo melodic tradition, Battisti’s voice sounds rough and authentically singer-songwritery. What makes “29 settembre” something more than just another escapist song, is its historical context and obvious calendrical recurrence in the title.

Written by Battist and Mogol, “29 settembre” was first recorded by Equipe 84 in 1967. In this version, a background voice from an unspecified radio news program mentions the recurrence of an important anniversary, September 29th. Although the radio voice fades out before it can give further information, the reference is easy to understand: on September 29, 1944 the Nazi killed at least 770 civilians in the town of Marzabotto, south of Bologna. According to Ezio Guaitamacchi (1000 canzoni che ci hanno cambiato la vita, Rizzoli, 2009, p. 253), the radio news was an idea of Ricordi’s production manager Paolo Ruggeri, however Equipe ’84 must have approved the feature. The insertion of a voice over about a Nazi war crime seems to confirm the Modenese pop band’s interest in human rights and collective memory, since one in 1966 the band had recorded Francesco Guccini‘s “Auschwitz“. In Lucio Battisti’s 1969 recording, however, the radio voice over was eliminated, but the song’s title reminds us of the ever-present historical and collective memory that lingers over our individual and private lives. No matter how hard we try to leave history behind, it somehow resurfaces in our minds. One wonders, however, whether the song should be read as the assertion of a self-centered adulterous affair overwriting collective memory and the remembrance of WWII wounds, as an indictment of such attitude, or as pure entertainment.

It is unclear whose decision it was to include the radio news in the background: apparently Maurizio Vandelli (Equipe 84 lead singer), Mogol (lyricist) and Paolo Ruggero (producer) all claimed credit for it (Guaitamacchi, 1000 canzoni che ci hanno cambiato la vita, 2009). The song was also recorded by English pop band The Bevis Frond.