Friday, 7 July 2017

Andrew Lloyd-Webber's 'Try it and see' by Rita Pavone

John Napper writes about 'Try it and see' which was recorded by Rita Pavone in 1969, some time before Andrew Lloyde Webber became a celebrity. 

Hi Carlus,

I don't know if I told you about 'Try it and see', but there is a story attached to that song although I'm not sure of all the details. On Rita's previous website around 12 or 13 years ago (2004) she posted a piece about an Andrew Lloyd-Webber compilation CD box-set which includes this song allegedly sung by her but she said it was someone else. I haven't heard the CD so can't say who I think it might be. 

She also wrote that when she recorded it she thought she was told it was the UK entry for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest but that didn't happen. I can't remember exactly what she wrote but I got the impression that she thought she was going to sing it in the contest. This was never going to happen. 

There have been a number or changes to the selection process over the years, but the way it worked back then was that the BBC selected a singer to represent the UK and then invited anybody to submit songs

Somebody had the job of going through all the entrie and selecting 6 finalists which were then sung live on TV, one per week, on a Saturday evening show with a reprise of all 6 on the 7th week with viewers being asked to vote by postcard with the most popular song being selected as the UK entry

In 1969, the selected singer was Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, better known as Lulu and the songs were performed on her own show 'It's Lulu'. The winning song was 'Boom Bang-A-Bang' which went on to be the joint winner of the Contest itself in a unique 4-way tie.

The second place song in the selection was 'March' which Lulu recorded as the B side of the single and the other 4 have been forgotten, but one of those was 'Try it and see'. 

At some stage a 'demo' would have been recorded to send to the BBC for them to choose the final 6 songs and I suspect that this was Rita's recording although I have no idea why she would have been chosen for this, bearing in mind her obvious Italian accent but I think she did a great job on it.

'Try it and see' was eventually released as a B side that year. Maybe it was decided not to make it the A side since the song missed out on Eurovision selection. I think that may have been a mistake but it's much too late now. 

However, in case you don't know, that wasn't the last of that particular song, or at least not the tune. Around that time, struggling songwriters Andrew Lloyd-WebbeTim Rice were working on their now legendary rock-opera, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' which was issued as an album in 1970 before becoming a stage musical and a film in 1973. The people making the film considered it a little short and requested 2 additional songs, both of which have since been included in stage presentations of the musical. One of these songs, entitled 'Herod's Song' is actually 'Try it and see' which Tim Rice supplied completely new words for.

'Try it and see' was the B-side of 'Till tomorrow' released in the UK and USA.

Doris Castro, the editor of 'Rita Per Noi', a quarterly newsletter about Rita Pavone published in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 1989 to 2005 - presents at RPN no. 46, June 2002, an excerpt of a letter Rita Pavone wrote Andrew Lloyd Webber in March 2001, in which she stated that after listening to the 5-CD-box she realized 'Try it and see' was not her Polydor recording but someone else's.

Rita Pavone posted the letter to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber at her former site which is no longer extant.  

Junho 2002:

Desde janeiro a página NEWS do site:, anuncia o lançamento, em 2001, do box com cinco CDs “Now and Forever”, de Andrew Lloyd Webber. Quatro CDs são de seus musicais como “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Evita”, “Cats”, “The Phantom of the Opera” e outros. O quinto CD, com vários artistas, traz canções semi-inéditas e raras. É o caso de “Try it and see”, gravada por Rita Pavone e incluída em seu álbum “Rita” de 1969 (Dischi Ricordi - SMRL 6067). No box, no entanto, a gravação está na voz de outra cantora, erroneamente identificada com Pavone. Essa gravação é, provavelmente, a 'demo' original enviada para a BBC quando da seleção das 6 finalistas. Em vista deste impasse, Rita enviou a Webber a carta abaixo reproduzida:

“Caro sr. Webber,

Eu fiquei muito feliz e orgulhosa por ter sido escolhida entre tantos e grandes artistas internacionais, para fazer parte de seu recente box “Now and Forever”. Muitíssimo obrigada. Também me agradou a apresentação pessoal da canção “Try it and see” - CD#5 “The Vaults” (Raridades e Canções Inéditas) -, lembrando o fato de que ela foi originalmente composta pelo senhor, para mim, em 1969, e ambos desejando que fosse representando a Inglaterra no “Festival Eurovision da Canção”, daquele ano. Isso não aconteceu e posteriormente a canção teve um outro destino no musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

Mas, caro sr. Lloyd, fiquei decepcionadíssima quando, após ouvi-la, constatei que, embora o meu nome Rita Pavone esteja impresso no box, a voz da cantora não é a minha, mas sim de desconhecida, provavelmente, por engano, cedida ao senhor pela BMG (ex-RCA Victor) de Londres. Tudo isto parece incrivel, mas é verdade. Apenas ouça a minha gravação de “Try it and see” e, comparando com a voz do CD#5, o senhor poderá notar a diferença.

Assim, algo deve ser feito imediatamente. Primeiro parando com as vendas do box para evitar, mais adiante, danos à minha imagem (meus fãs italianos e brasileiros foram os primeiros a informarem-me e estão muito frustrados) e, depois, lança-lo com a minha gravação Polydor de 1969.

Se o senhor tem outras ou melhores sugestões para esta estranha e única questão, por favor, escreva para o meu e-mail:; neste meio de tempo, poderá ver a cópia desta carta em meu site:, apenas clicando em Pavone News.

Antecipadamente agradeço pela sua cooperação e aguardo a sua resposta o mais breve possível, desejando o melhor para o senhor e o seu The Really Useful Group,

Rita Pavone
Ariccia (Roma – Italia), 21 de março de 2002”.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Rita in Rio 1964

'Correio da Manhã' 24 June 1964.

'Correio da Manhã' 20 October 1963; music columnist Claribalte Passos pans Rita Pavone's 1st album released by RCA. He claims Pavone's repertoire is 'not good'. I wonder how he came to this conclusion; 'Correio da Manhã' 14 June 1964 - columnist Sergio Bittencourt comments Rita Pavone's transit at Galeão on his Sunday column.  
'Correio da Manhã' 13 June 1964; while the country was still reeling from a military putsch against democracy, Rita Pavone flew in 'en route' to Buenos Aires. She was spotted by the press while drinking a soft-drink at Galeão's coffee-shop. 
'Correio da Manhã' 21 June 1964. 
'Correio' Thursday, 25 June 1964; 'Correio', Sunday 28 June 1964; 'Correio'  Friday, 24 July 1964 - TV Rio presented Rita Pavone on Thursday 25 June, then repeated the video-tape on Sunday, 28 June; a month later Friday 24 July 1964, TV Rio did it again.  
'Correio da Manhã' 5 July 1964; music columnist Claribalte Passos definitely changes his opinion about Rita Pavone, but he still calls her voice 'pequenina'... I wonder how in the world he came to that conclusion... Pavone's voice may be called everything but 'small'. 

'Correio da Manhã' 2 April 1965; Rita Pavone always had some bad press. Usually people who rejected her voice as 'harsh', high-pitched or unpleasant. Here's Correio da Manhã's 'Agriculture Supplement' being tongue-in-cheek about the diminutive singer's piercing voice and its effects on the killing of ants.

'Correio da Manhã' 1st May 1965; Rita returns to Rio less than a year after...

Friday, 7 April 2017

Lina Wertmüller & Rita Pavone in 1964

Lina: così va il testo: 'In cortile ho organizzato con Geppina e L'Angiolino e col piccolo Pietrino un serraglio che è un bijoux; rimediat la tintura necessaria per giocara comminciamo a pitturare belve rosse e blù, e giù a pitturar e a tinteggiar, guarda che bel serraglio riuscimmo a far. ('Il serraglio' dalla colonna sonora dells sceneggiato musicale televisivo 'Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca' 1964 - scritto da Lina Wertmüller, con musica di Nino Rota

Si dipinge in rosso il cane che chiamavasi Bianchino e così da un barboncino ecco qui un gran bel leon tutto verde, un coccodrillo sul maiale improvvisato ridipinto e insalsicciato in coperton e con poi Messi qua e là, la pecorella in tigre si cambierà'. 

'Rifacemmo anche la zebra dipingendo sul ciuchino strisce bianche ed in turchino che faceva un figuron. Ad un rammo sospendemmo per finire anche Pietrino e il frignante Frugolino era un scimmion'. 

Ma ecco correr per il campo, contadina e contadino, babbo e mamma di Pietrino, tutti in gran disperazion. Si strappavano i capeeli  'Il mio poro maialino. Il bambino, il mè Pietrino..!' Che esagerazion!

Ma per evitar contrarietà, saltai su ciuco e tela a gran velocità...    'Il serraglio' (Wertmüller-Rota) 

'Quelle piccole stazioni dove i treni non si fermano, sono quelle che mi piacciono, non so perchè.
Hanno tutte un giardinetto con l'aiuola di campanule, la fontana piccolissima, lo zampillo che non c`é.

C'è un orologio, la sala d'aspetto e con il fischietto il capo stazion.
Addormentato sul suo carrettino c'è un vecchio facchino con i baffon.
Vendo ancora un grembiulino, due treccine biondo pallide una bimba sotto un albero che mi guarda e mi fa ciao.

Il treno passa, con fischio saluta la piccola e quieta, tranquilla stazion.
Al suo saluto risponde corretto, col proprio fischietto il capostazion.
Passa il treno e s'allontana la stazione si riappisola
vedo ancora per un attimo la manina che fa ciao
la manina che fa ciao, ciao... ciao... ciao...       'Le piccole stazioni' (Wertmüller-Rota)

'Staser c'è qualcosa che non va nell'anima mia... Stasera c'è qualcosa che mi dà nostalgia...

Chissà com'è, chissà perch`voglio restar solo con me.

Rimango qua senza poter trovar un pò d'allegria... forse chissà vorrei tornare ancora a casa mia... casa mia, casa mia...       'Nostalgia di casa'  (Lina Wertmüller-Nino Rota)

'Ma questo Salgari, che scrittore! con i tigrotti di Mompracem e con la tigre della Malesia, il coraggioso Sandokan. E con Janez Kamamuri tutta l'India misteriosa, le odalische, le pagode e i Rajha ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah!

Ma questo Salgari, che scrittore! È proprio il mago delle avventure e ti soddisfa per ore ed ore
Quegli indiani strangolatori detti Thugs, uh uh uh. uh uh uh

Che avventure, che emozione, che passion, che passion, che scrittor!   'I tigrotti di Mompracem

on the set of 'Non stuzzicate la zanzara' in 1966. 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Saturday, 9 July 2016

'Rita, a filha americana' 1965

Differently from Brazil where Rita Pavone's first featured movie 'Rita la figlia americana' (1965) was utterly ignored by movie distributors - Portugal not only released the film but paid a lot of attention to it. 'Coleção Cinema', a Portuguese weekly movie-magazine published a detailed synopsis of 'Rita, a filha americana' in its issue no. 6 on 20 July 1967.  

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

1990s Fan Club activities

Rita Pavone Fan Club Brazil meet in 1992... from left to right: N.I. female, Roland, Tadeu Caso, Selma Saraiva, Renato Amorim, Sergio Gonzaga, Wilton Belintani, Soninha Oliveira, Rafael Soares (wearing suspenders). The ones crouching from left to right are: Claudinei (from Piracicaba). Lenita, Lucelia Brassoloto, Marta Mendes & Mauricio Cardim.
Fans meet on 21st August 1999. From left to right: sitting: Ariovaldo Skrapec, Dimitri Amorim (Renato's son), Selma, Rosa (Adilson's guest), Mauricio Ignacio, Sandra Meneguetti. Standing from left to right: Luis Fabio Miranda, Marta Mendes, Miguel Carqueija, Nancy, Wilton, Dina Flores, Luiz Amorim, Renato Amorim (no relation), Non-Identified female, N.I. young male, Doris Castro, Adilson & Langio.
R.P. fans meet at Galeria Trianon, Sao Paulo in September 2003. From left to right: Rosa, Walter Tstui, Jorge Nova, Luiz Amorim (in the back), Emilia Fantinati (centre), Ariovaldo Skrapec (front row), Marta Mendes (back), Malu Pelaes (centre), Wilson Belintani (front), Doris Castro & Adilson.