However, American viewers might not be familiar with Rita Pavone. One admirer compared her to a cross between Brenda Lee and The Beatles.
Before moving to America, the Italian singer rose to fame in her native country in the 1960s. There, she made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and achieved a number of successes. She also performed on stage with Paul Anka and Diana Ross, and she got an Elvis Presley-signed painting from him.
Although being a legend in her native Italy, Pavone was never acknowledged as a cult figure in the US. So, how did she first become famous and what does she do now?
You now have all the details you require on Rita Pavone, including the incredible story of how she met Elvis.
Rita Pavone was born in Turin, Italy, on August 23, 1945. Although Rita’s father, Giovanni Pavoni, worked at the Fiat factory in the Italian city, Rita’s mother, Maria, raised Rita and her three brothers, Perio, Carlo, and Cicco.
A theatrical entertainer was what Pavone was intended to be. Before performing in Turin’s bars, she began singing at numerous student events.
But in 1962, when pop music became increasingly famous around the globe, thanks in part to The Beatles and Elvis Presley, with whom Pavone became friends, her life suffered a significant shift.
The first “Rally of the Unknown,” a talent competition, was scheduled to take place in Rome’s Ariccia neighbourhood. More than 20,000 young artists would participate, despite the fact that Pavone and her mother were unsure at the time that music was the best path forward.
“It was the final choice. I was about to give up on everything. Since I was nine years old, I had been singing, but I hadn’t yet broken through and gained more than local renown.
My mother told me to put off my aspirations of greatness, said Pavone.
Rita’s father, on the other hand, stood by her the entire time. He discreetly wrote Teddy Reno, the contest’s organiser, describing the reasons why his daughter should win. As a result of its success, the young and aspirational vocalist got a break.
“I left believing it to be my last opportunity. If I hadn’t gotten this chance, I would have gone back to Turin and, following my mother’s advice, probably gotten married,” Rita said.
You probably already know what occurred next. Rita won the competition, and she immediately gained notoriety. Rita recorded her debut album, “La Partita di Pallone” (The Ball Game), in a matter of weeks while also performing live and on Italian television programmes.
To be a woman, you don’t have to dress like one.
“I can’t explain it, but I still wonder [what the key to my success was] now. Wherever I went, from Brazil to England, from France to Germany, I was able to enter international hit parades with songs that were either made expressly for that market or that were translated into various languages, Rita said.
The first person to notice everyone’s interest in me was me. Maybe I had a distinctive voice—a little high-pitched, cutting, but incredibly intimate.”
She said, “I suppose this powerful personality was my trump card. “Standing out from the crowd means being noticed. Nonetheless, there is a pervasive propensity today to copy others, which leads to a lot of photocopied goods.
“In my instance, I also had red hair and freckles, and a face that was halfway between a girl and a guy.”
When Rita entered the television realm, her beauty and appearance would eventually become a major discussion point. She had the appearance of a “tomboy,” a word for young girls or women who exhibit masculine traits.
Pavone once observed, “You don’t have to dress like a woman to be a woman.
After winning the talent competition, Pavone, 19, shot to popularity and became a huge sensation in Italy. She was given the opportunity to try out for RCA Records in the United States after selling hundreds of thousands of albums in Italy. Rita was seen as the upcoming big thing.
She launched an album, went on a promotional tour throughout America, and made an appearance on the illustrious Ed Sullivan Show.
Elvis Presley’s unforgettable encounter
She also had the chance to interact with some of the finest vocalists in history. Among others, Rita performed onstage alongside Diana Ross and The Supremes, Ella Fitzgerald, and Tom Jones.
She also participated in performances at New York’s renowned Carnegie Hall and the Ed Sullivan Show.
The King of Rock revolutionised the world with his music. Unquestionably, he was one of the most gifted and engaging performers we have ever seen.
Along with being a well-known musician known for songs like Jailhouse Rock, In the Ghetto, Hound Dog, and Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley also starred in a number of movies that helped advance his career. Classics like King Creole (1958), Viva Las Vegas (1964), and The Trouble with Girls were among them (1969).
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Elvis Presley bought Graceland, his mansion outside of Memphis, Tennessee, for $102,500 in 1959, and it quickly rose to prominence as one of the most well-known locations on earth.
Elvis moved into Graceland on June 26, 1957, and stayed there until his terrible death on August 16, 1977, claims the museum.
It was until a few years later, in 1982, that his ex-wife Priscilla and two executors decided to turn it into a museum in order to preserve the estate and Elvis’ legacy.
I “began crying like a baby.”
Graceland is 17,552 square feet in size and features 23 rooms. Attracting about 600,000 tourists a year, it is currently one of the most well-liked vacation spots in the country.
In the United States, it is reportedly the second-most visited home, only after the White House. Since opening in 1982, the museum has had more than 22 million visitors.
The Presley family is believed to spend about $500,000 a year maintaining the mansion.
Rita Pavone and her producer Chet Atkins were at “Music City” recording when they first met. The Italian overheard Brenda Lee, her “muse,” chatting about Elvis at the time and realised she didn’t comprehend English. Rita, however, was puzzled as to why.
Elvis was slated to stop by the same recording facility. When Pavone learned the news through her interpreter, she experienced goosebumps.
“I wanted to meet him, so there was a chill in the air. As a result, I went to Chet Atkins and begged him to tell me when he was at a certain point, Rita remembered.
He didn’t want to be disturbed, so they claimed they spotted a group of people arming themselves as they appeared to be getting ready for the Normandy landing.
I persuaded them after whining like a child and claiming that it was impossible to waste such a chance, but they still offered many options.
Rita Pavone said, “I waited in the RCA studios until midnight before they came in: first, his lawyer, secretary, sound engineer, and all of his crew.
He appeared afterwards. He had amazing sideburns, and I had never seen yellow Ray-Bans before. He entered and welcomed us before coming up to me.
“I asked him if I may take a picture of him, and he said I could have even more. He was really accommodating. He made a call to his secretary, who then gave me a canvas that said, “Best wishes to Rita,” kissed me good-bye, and left.
The canvas has a very special place in Rita Pavone’s heart, and meeting Elvis was of course amazing.
“I already have it! After I pass away, according to my very pragmatic and realist son, he will sell it! A man of that prominence and height who was so approachable astounded me, she remarked.
Millions of Elvis Presley admirers wanted to meet him personally. Rita’s request was fulfilled, but she would never have gotten the chance if Elvis’ management had his way.
According to reports, Elvis’ manager vehemently opposed him meeting Rita. Finally meeting, Elvis said something amazing.
Colonel Parker, his manager, did not want me to meet her. Nonetheless, he acknowledged me as he left the studio and remarked, “But I know you!” You attended Ed Sullivan’s show. The only person who recognised me was Elvis. Pavore remembered, “I asked him for a photo, and he gave me one of his paintings instead.
Life for the Italian singer couldn’t have been more perfect. Datemi un Martello, Viva La Pappa Col Pomodoro, and Cuore were three of her songs that reached the UK charts in 1966. Other hits followed, all of which reached the top 10 in nations including Brazil and Germany.
As was previously said, there was a problem trying to enter the United States. It was extremely challenging to become the next big thing at the moment since “Beatlemania” was taking over the nation.
After five years, Rita made the decision to move back to Italy because she had little success in the United States. There, she became a well-known television personality. The singer starred in a number of programmes and movies after making her television debut in the 1965 programme Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca.
Rita returned to Italy and met the love of her life. Recall Teddy Reno, who granted her entry into the talent contest the first time around all those years ago? Throughout the years, their relationship grew and he eventually became her manager. Even though their union was immensely divisive among friends and family, the pair wed in 1968.
Teddy was Rita’s senior by over 20 years. Even though they had been dating since the early 1960s, the age difference was scandalous. Rita’s father was angry that she and Teddy were getting married when she returned to Italy after meeting Elvis.
The groom’s father, Pavone, vehemently opposed the marriage and even threatened to destroy it in any way he could. Yet as time went on, he came to understand that he had been wrong to distrust his daughter.
“He visited our home in Switzerland one day and acknowledged his error. Rita noted that her father “tried everything; he didn’t want me to get married, but eventually he recognised everyone has to make their own choices.”
Pavone had a long career. At the middle of the 2000s, she made her stage retirement public. Seven years later, she returned and participated in the 2016 season of Dancing with the Stars in Italy.
She will sing in a Christmas special the following year as well as the renowned Sanremo Festival in 2020. Along with her spouse Teddy, she currently resides in Ticino, Switzerland.
Rita Pavone has had an incredibly successful career, and we are happy that she got to know and spend time with Elvis Presley.
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