On 6 June 2014, ’80s Italo legend Savage is performing for the first time in Southern California. He’ll perform his greatest hits, including “Don’t Cry Tonight,” “Only You,” “A Love Again,” “Fugitive,” “Radio,” and more in an event that will be DJed by BPM and hosted by singer TQ. Advance tickets are available here.
Savage was born Roberto Zanetti was born in Massa, Italy on 28 November, 1956. Zanetti’s musical education began when he was fourteen and he began taking piano lessons. Soon after he began playing keyboards in several bands including L’inchiesta, Fathima e i Pronipoti, I Vicini di Casa, and I Sangrià.
In 1977, Zanetti formed Santarosa with Alberto Feri, Tiziana De Santis, Angelo Tedesco, and Paolo Zilio. In 1979 they had a hit with Souvenir,” which sold over 200,000 copies. The song was produced by singer “Zucchero” Fornaciari (né Adelmo Fornaciari) and in 1980, he and Zanetti began a creative partnership. In 1983, the first fruit of their labor was also their first stab at dance music, “To Miami,” attributed to Taxi and released by Florence-based Harmony Music and credited to Taxi.
After the release of “To Miami,” Zanetti returned with “Angelica” — this time credited to Joey Moon.
Zanetti’s best-known nom de disque, “Savage,” was taken from the hero of 1930s American pulp magazines, Doc Savage. As Savage, Zanetti released his first single, “Don’t Cry Tonight” in December of 1983, on Severo Lombardoni‘s Milan-based Discomagic Records — an Italo-disco powerhouse who’d had by then already had hits with Gary Low, ‘Lectric Workers, Jock Hattle and others.
Unlike most Italo-disco efforts, “Don’t Cry Tonight” was written, arranged, produced, and performed (both live and in videos) by the same person (who assumed another pseudonym, Robyx, for his production work – which included work with G.A.N.G., Kamillo, Claudio Mingardi, Saxophone, Lala, and others). “Don’t Cry Tonight” was a massive success throughout much of Europe and Savage performed it on television programs like Mister Fantasy, Discoring, Pronto Raffaella, Azzuro, Festivalbar, and Tocata.
In 1984 Savage returned with “Only You” b/w “Turn Around,” which were included, along with “Radio,”
“A Love Again,” “Fugitive,” “Tonight,” and his first single on the LP Tonight (1984-Discomagic). In 1985, “Fugitive” appeared as the B-side on a remixed “A Love Again and “Time” was released as a single. A VHS titled Video LP was released which includes the videos for “Don’t Cry Tonight,” “Only You,” and “Turn Around,” as well as a live club performance of “A Love Again,” “Only You,” “Radio,” “Fugitive,” and “Tonight.” Zanetti also collaborated, as Stargo, with Alberto Parodi and Andrea Tenerani, who released “Capsicum.” In 1985, “Only You” was also covered (as “Dans me yeux”) by French actress, Géraldine Danon.
In 1988 Savage released “So Close” and “I’m Loosing You,” both of which were indicative of the late ’80s spread of House music to Europe.
In 1989 Savage released a single, “Good-Bye” and a cover of Sussex rockers Cutting Crew‘s “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” which dispensed with the unnecessary parenthesis and was simply retitled “I Just Died In Your Arms.”
With Savage’s transformation into a Eurohouse direction, his popularity increased in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland and the USSR. In August 1989 he played to thirty-thousand people in the Sopot Festival, held in Katowice, Poland and performed for four consecutive nights in Yerevan, Armenia. “Don’t Leave Me” followed in 1990 on Euroenergy – a subsidiary of Discomagic.
In the early 1990s, after more than a decade, Zanetti mostly retired from the stage, instead, turning his attention on production. He purchased Casablanca Recordings and founded his own label, the Discomagic-distributed DWA – Dance-World Attack Records, which became the home to Alexia, Corona (“Rhythm of the Night”), Double You, and ICE MC.
Zanetti continued to make music, employing a handful of aliases and collaborators. Teaming with Marco Bresciani and calling themselves Mali Carvalho, the duo released “Fuego.” He later teamed with Breciani as Soul Boy and released “Typical.”
As Raimunda Navarro he released “Me Gusta,”” “No Lo Hago Por Dinero” b/w “Te Amo,” “Jungle Fever,” and “James Brown Has Sex.” As Rubix he released “The Party” and “Desiderio Latino.” As Pianonegro he released “Pianonegro.” As Wareband he released “Party Children” and “A Better Day.” As Scattt he released “Vocalize” and “Scat and Bebop.” And finally, as Humantronics, he released “The Sound of Afrika.”
Whilst Zanetti was recording primarily under various other names, he occasionally released music as Savage, as was the case with 1993’s “Something” b/w “Strangelove,” the latter a cover of the hit by Basildon‘s finest, Depeche Mode. In 1994, as Savage, he once again embarked on a short tour, performing in Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, and Brazil. He also released a new single, “Don’t You Want Me?
In 1997, as E.Y.E., he released “Virtual Reality.” In 2005, as Creavibe he released “Wonderful Life.” That year he again returned to the stage for the first time since the birth of his daughter, Mathilde, in 2002. This time playing concerts in the Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, and the USA. In Moscow he performed at three Autoradio Festivals, filmed at Olympic Stadium in front of an audience of more than 20,000. In October 2009 he released a new song, “Twothousandnine” with a video filmed at Southern California’s Salton Sea. In 2010 he released a new album, Ten Years Ago (Klub80 Records).
While Savage has performed in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, his upcoming performance in Orange County will be the first time he’s performed in Little Saigon. Whilst the audience behind the Orange Curtain won’t rival the audience he’s accustomed to behind the Iron Curtain, I think that he’ll be pleasantly surprised by the ferocity and adoration of the largely Vietnamese New Wave crowd.