By Francesco Ciabattoni.

Is Pino Daniele’s “Je so pazz” an Italian-style blues, a Neapolitan rock or a jazz song one of Italy’s best sounding dialects? Be that as it may, Daniele’s unique pastiche of styles, languages and themes cannot fail to cause us to fall in love with his characters and stories, as if we were watching a show of Commedia dell’arte right under Mount Vesuvius. But who is the character singing this song? Many websites post claim it is the last speech of Masaniello, the leader of the Neapolitan revolution against the Spanish rulers of 1647. Many websites even post the alleged “ultimo discorso di Masaniello” to which Daniele’s lyrics seem akin. Unfortunately, not a single website bothers citing the source of the speech they report and attribute to Masaniello. However, a text attributed to Masaniello does indeed exist and resonates with Daniele’s obsessive refrain “I am crazy”:

“Amice miei, popolo mio, gente: vuie ve credite ca io sò pazzo e forse avite raggione vuie: io sò pazzo overamente… facite come a Masaniello: ascite pazzi”

(My friends, my people: you believe I am crazy and maybe you are right: I am really crazy… do like Masaniello: go crazy).

This speech, in Neapolitan dialect just like Daniele’s song, is found in Luciano De Crescenzo’s ‘Così parlò Bellavista,’ published just two years prior to Pino Daniele’s hit […]. If, then, Pino Daniele received an inspiration from that text, it was an inspiration from Luciano De Crescenzo’s pen, not Masaniello, a distinction of which the songwriter was probably more aware than can be said of many of his internet fans!