Flying too high can be dangerous, one bad move leads to another, and that move is usually worse than the one before. Committing yourself too early can lead to disaster, but once you go, you go.
This song is zooming and whizzing and runs the course, it gets up to speed and barges into the sun, ricochets off the stars, smokes pipe dreams and blasts into cloud cuckoo land. It’s a whimsical song and stays aloft.
You get the mental picture, Utopia, and it’s painted blue. Oil paint, cosmetics and greasepaint, frescoes with blue slapped on, and you’re singing like a canary. You’re tickled pink and walking on air, and there’s no end to space. You’re the Bobbsey Twins, two minds thinking as one, and it’s marvellous and awesome.
You get high and you’re having a ball, everybody’s getting a charge out of it, come on let’s live a little. It’s just a hop skip and jump to cloud nine.
You’re jetting out and maxing manoeuvres and winging it like an aviator. Mirrored in your own dreams and experiencing a sense of wonder. Flying up through the veil, light as a feather, lingering awhile on the puffy vapours, far above the maddening crowd, the connois seurs, the judges and cliques. All the organisations, everything that wants to grab at your feet and bring you down to earth.
Around the globe you skyrocket, through the labyrinth. No wonder your happy heart sings. Sings the melodies with all the tonality and vibrations of the senses. Ragtime, bebop, operatic and symphonic. The sounds of violins, it’s buzzing in your ears, and it’s all in tune, in tune with your mercurial self. You’re barnstorming through dimensions. You’re on the rim of the universe in the bright lights of the great millennium, nowhere to go but up.
You’re fairly certain you have become some kind of biological mutation, you are no longer a mere mortal. You could tear your own body to pieces and throw the bits everywhere. Bending the throttle, climbing high and out of control where everything becomes a nebu lous blur, nothing up here but your imagination. You’re fluttering and floating, nothing you can’t discover, even the hidden things, the deeper you go, the more you can grasp. You try to talk to yourself, but after the first few words the conversation is over. You’re blazing like a comet, hightailing it to the stars. Maybe you’re crazy but you’re no imbecile.
This could have been one of the first hallucinogenic songs, predating Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit by at least 10 years. A more catchy melody you’ll never hear or experience. Even if you don’t hear it, you hear it. This is a song that just creeps its way into the air. A song that must be played at weddings, bar mitzvahs and maybe funerals.
It’s a perfect example of when you can’t think of any words to go with a melody and you just sing, “Oh, oh, oh, oh.” Supposedly it’s about a man who wants to paint himself blue and then fly away. Volare, it means, “Let’s fly away into the cielo infinito.” Obviously, the endless sky. The entire world can disappear but I’m in my own head.
There is something very freeing about hearing a song sung in a language that you don’t understand. Go and see an opera and the drama leaps off the stage even if you don’t understand a word. Listen to fado music and the sadness drips from it even if you don’t speak a lick of Por tuguese. Sometimes you can hear a song so full of emotion that you feel your heart ready to burst and when you ask someone to translate it the lyrics are as mundane as “I cannot find my hat”.
For some reason, certain languages sing better than others. Sure, German is fine for a certain type of beer-fest oompah polka but give me Italian with its chewy caramel vowels and melodious polysyl labic vocabulary.
Originally, Volare was sung by an Italian singer named Domenico Modugno –just the sound of his name creates its own song. A song that could hit you anytime, day or night. It’s always the same. You are always just flying away, higher than the sun.
Bobby Rydell also had a big hit with it. He was a Philadelphia singer from the late 1950s –giving rise to the Philly sound. Rydell was either a Sinatra wannabe or a Bobby Darin wannabe. Darin and Rydell more or less both being a high-energy version of Sinatra. (You won’t hear much Dino influence in either of these guys, unlike Elvis.) Phil Spector in Be My Baby took the “whoa, whoa, whoa”s from this song.
The song is a seduction in Italian beginning with a dreamy little piano vamp followed by Domenico’s vocal swathed in organ before the familiar swoop of the title’s hook comes in.
The sound of the record is sumptuous, full of disparate elements but never cluttered; a drummer who deftly switches from swinging brushes to the added impact of sticks, dancing pizzicato strings, space-age echoey organ. The vocal is all about dynamics –one moment soft whispers of intimacy, the next joyous exultation, an interlude of recitation followed by wistfulness that translates without language.