Tu Vuò Fà L'Americano
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Carosone wrote the song in 1956 together with Nicola "Nisa" Salerno. Combining swing and jazz, it became one of his best known songs. Commissioned by Ricordi director Rapetti for a radio contest, the music was composed by Carosone in a very short time after reading Nisa's lyrics; he immediately believed the song would become a great success. The song was featured in the 1960 Melville Shavelson film It Started in Naples, in which it was sung by Sofia Loren and Clark Gable. It was also performed by Rosario Fiorello in the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley and was covered by The Puppini Sisters.
The lyrics are about an Italian who imitates the contemporary American lifestyle and acts like a Yankee, drinking "whisky and soda", dancing to Rock 'n Roll, playing Baseball and smoking Camel cigarettes, but still depends on his parents for money. The song is generally considered a satire on the process of Americanisation that occurred in the early post-war years, when Italy was still a rural, traditional society.
Carosone himself wrote that his songs "were deeply based on the American dream, interpreting jazz and its derivatives as a symbol of an America, lively land of progress and well-being, but always Neapolitan-style, folding that symbol in a sly parody of its customs". According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, "Tu vuò fa l'americano" is the symbol of Carosone's artistic parabola, as he retired from music in 1960, just four years after releasing the song.
Covers and sampling
- French rapper Akhenaton, whose parents come from Naples, covered this song under the same name but in French. He describes the story of his fascination with America as a child, and his disappointment upon discovering America as an adult.
- The Brian Setzer Orchestra covered this song with their song, "Americano." This song appeared on their album "VaVoom."
- The song was sampled in 2010 by the Australian band Yolanda Be Cool and producer DCUP in their song "We No Speak Americano" that became an international hit.