The blog of author Dennis Cooper

_Black_Acrylic presents … An Italo Tearjerkers Playlist *

* (restored)


Italo disco is a dance music genre that’s never afraid to let its feelings show, and the tearjerking Italo ballad is perhaps the purest expression of the form. I don’t know if maybe this style is the legacy of Italy’s great operatic tradition but anyway, I’ve long had a love for these exquisite songs of heartbreak and pain. The music’s hardly danceable in any conventional sense and the sounds all serve to create a feeling that’s hard for me to define. There’s usually a profound disjuncture between the big emotional force of the lyrics and the limited technological means at the musicians’ disposal. The whole package creates an effect that I find to be both uncanny and psychedelic. I hope this playlist might provide a way in, so see if you can feel it:


Dario Dell’Aere – Eagles In The Night

Dario Dell’Aere is a New Wave musician, producer and singer from Milan, Italy. At the end of the 1970’s Dario performed in a mime show that was influenced by the glam cliches of David Bowie. In 1979, Dario met Victor Life outside a cinema and began a lifelong collaboration of projects: Diamond Dogs, Ice Eyes and Fockewulf 190. Musically, the duo were inspired by the Human League’s “Reproduction” and John Foxx’s “Metamatic” and visually they took cues from New Romantic’s Visage and Ultravox. With the Fockewulf 190 moniker, they created their own dark blend of Italo disco releasing the hit singles “Gitano” and “Body Heat” in 1984.

By the end of 1984 the duo took a break and Dario went into the studio and recorded his debut solo single “Eagles In The Night”. One of the most coveted Italo Disco 12”s, it was released in 1985 on Market Records. The song features unique xylophone-like synthesizer notes that Dario’s deep vocals float over. Lyrically, the song is about a spirit that flies above the heights of the world in search of a true love to share with a partner. Clocking in at over 8-minutes of melancholic, the song’s mid-tempo kitsch comes with backing vocals from Dario’s sister, Nora Dell’Aere. On the B-side is the shorter instrumental version with the occasional “oh wacky co-co” refrains from Dario.

I love this song so much.. His strong, dark voice drives me …going crazy.. Dance with me..


Fockewulf 190 – Body Heat

Victor Life

The story of Fockewulf 190 started when you and Dario (Dell’Aere) met outside a cinema in Milan in 1979. Can you tell us about how the band evolved from there and what those early years were like?

Full of enthusiasm, we had the power of seducing everyone who got in touch with us, especially the dandy guys from the Taxy Club, the historic New Romantic club in Milan where we used to play live. Everything seemed possible for Fockewulf 190… immediately a crew of fans made us like their little stars.

By 1984 it seems as if there had become a greater mystical element in your music, in tracks like ‘Gitano’ and ‘Body Heat’, and of course you enjoyed greater commercial success in other countries during this time too. Can you tell us about the message you were trying to convey in your music, and also how the band were treated by the Italian music industry at this point?

1984 wasn’t crucial only for us, but also for an entire generation brought up in 1977 between the energy of Punk and the electronics of Kraftwerk, the glorious dreams of the The Thin White Duke and the New Romanticism of synth-pop. The last wave before the end, like in the best apocalyptic prophecies, for us could be only linked to the electronic and futuristic mysticism, philosophically esoteric, imperial in its theatrical shape and plasma’d by oriental sounds. The idea was to re-unite the different styles into one centre of gravity, something so strong in spirit, soul and body, to not leave space for anyone else, recreating something mythological like the Ziggy Stardust era.

Not even the great Bowie himself, who wrote the best mythology of the sci-fi rock, managed to have such an extreme vision… the last link, the final chapter of the Diamond Dogs legend. That was our idea and in the scene they were talking a lot about us, but nobody had the guts to seriously invest in our band, not even the ones who considered us the new Rockets. In the end being Italian, as I said before, was a curse that made us live in a cage, not even made of gold… more or less a silver one!

Great melody, synths and Fred Ventura´s performance. Italoclassic! ****


Flexx – Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball

‘Zeit’ was your first song under name Fred Ventura, but earlier you you had project ‘Flexx’ and the song ‘You’ll Never Change (Theme From Flexyball)’. What is ‘Flexyball’? Movie? Could you tell us a little bit more about it?

It was just a fantasy we had in the studio when we were recording the track in october 1983, there is no movie and no soundtrack, just a funny idea….

Fred, who was or were your inspiration(s)?

A lot of different music and artists, not only dance music even if I felt a natural need to make danceable music, but my biggest influences were Joy Division, New Order, Giorgio Moroder, Bobby O, The Human League, Patrick Cowley, Kraftwerk, D.a.f, Etienne Daho…..

You sang the song ‘Bodyheat’ by Fockewulf 190. Did you know this is someone else song? Can you tell more about this please?

Turatti asked me to write a melody and lyrics for the Fokewulf track, they didn’t like the original version, I simply wrote it and sing it in few hours, nothing else, it was very easy to do it and now I love the track more than ever…

This release would fit the genre, and definitely is among the italo freaks, classic italo disco. Nevetheless, it’s just an excellent piece of early 80’s italo disco history.

Electro ballad a like song with strong vocals sung by one of the finest italo disco voices, Fred Ventura, telling the story, told millions of times, and giving a man’s point of view regarding an heartache, will, difference and a need.

I love the arrangement of the song. It’s epic, full journey, like a song mixing from ballad to another synthetic dimension.

That’s exactly what italo is all about. You can always expect surprises and miracles, personal mental explosion.

At the end of the song it just goes wild, Fred Ventura has done his vocal job and has left the building, leaving space for synthesizers to create a spacey atmospheric world of italo disco arpeggiators.

I just love it. It’s excellent.


Flying D.J. – Marilyn

Marzio Benelli

easily my favourite Italo-Disco song of all times. A true gem.


Sensitive – Driving

It is so easy and so difficult at the same time to review a breath taking masterpiece like this one… What can we say about this song except that it is the best possible example of Italo perfection. Well, at least in my personal opinion. It is loaded with a lot of emotions going through some sadness, melancholy and fragility all in a very refined way with a dark and boosted up galloping baseline. The instruments are just perfect and well thought, and the vocals, well, they maybe are even better.. All the ingredients were there to create something that won’t be forgotten in the years that would follow.

Knowing this, it could be remarkable, but this song is bringing you exactly in the mood you want to be and so it doesn’t have to be a sad or melancholic mood. Me for example I just get very happy with it, tons of emotions and goosebumps from the deepest! It was their very first official release as a group and their love for the music is really painted on that song. You’re feeling that devotion till the very last second.
Weird that it never broke glasses into the charts back in the day.. Maybe because of the tons of releases that came out in a very short period of time in that area, but anyway, it’s a real pleasure to see and discover that it finally gets the popularity it deserves!

A truly wonderful production from David Zambelli, but most of the credits goes to the real creators of it: Sergio Bonzanni as the composer & Salvatore Pileggi on the vocals. Gigi Vavassori gets the same credits for his help in creating this wonderful piece of musical history! The song was recorded in 1983 at the Regson Sound Studios in Milan (Italy), the day after Scotch recorded there famous ‘Disco Band’. The instruments used in the song are an Elka Synthex, a Korg Poly 61 and a E-mu Drumulator. The picture on the sleeve is Sergio Bonzanni in the studio together with Salvatore Pileggi.

Definitely my absolute favorite song of all time!! No words could EVER describe this song as it should be…


Decadance – On And On

Franco Rago and Gigi Farina (a.k.a. Atelier Folie, ‘Lectric Workers, Expansives, Decadance, Wanexa, Pleasure Discipline, Message from the Future)

“On And On (Fears Keep On)” is a total masterpiece production in the italo disco genre. The same people behind ‘Lectric Workers and many other infamous italo projects present us with this song under the alius of ‘Decadance’. The song shares male/female vocals – the male has a very heavy Italian accent, while the female vocals are probably the best example of just how amazing an italo song could be. All in all, this is a very dark song and is something like a love song meets electro-synth crossover. I love this song so much and don’t doubt it’s level of demand one bit.


Paul Paul – Burn On The Flames

Fred Ventura

I waited too much
I’ve wasted my time
I’m looking at shadows on the wall of my room
The beat of my heart is so tired to run
The pictures of her make me feel so alone

Burn on the flames! Walk on the flames!

I’ve wasted my youth
I’ve cried too much
Life is so hard and so full of troubles
I make my choice, my mind is still late
I wanna forget from the people I saw.

Burn on the flames! Walk on the flames!
Burn on the flames! My life, my life Burn on the flames! My life, my life Euh-euh-euh.

The night is so clear
My booze is soaked up
I’m looking for something for the bottom of my heart
The silence around sound to me like a theme
And they like it fire alone in the dessert

Burn on the flames! Walk on the flames!

I’ve wasted my youth
I’ve cried too much
Life is so hard and so full of troubles
I make my choice, my mind is still late
I wanna forget from the people I saw.

Burn on the flames! Walk on the flames!
Burn on the flames! My life, my life Burn on the flames!
My life, my life Burn on the flames!
My life, my life Burn on the flames!
My flames, my flames Burn on the flames! My life, my life


Hélicon – You … See

All around, “You… See” is one of the finest Italo Disco songs ever created. This one is very beautiful, VERY beautiful! Male/female vocals, softer beat, instrumentation is just perfect. This is definately top 10 for my favorite Italo Disco songs of all time! This song does it for me everytime, always and forever an Italo gem!


Felli – Diamond In The Night

Gianfranco Felli

“Diamond In The Night” is a true classic and will rank forever among my favourites. I love it how the refrain changes from “Your love doesn’t shine” to “Let your love shine” in the progress of the song.


Savage – Don’t Cry Tonight

Roberto Zanetti aka Savage

Were you inspired by some artists to make Italo disco? For example, High-energy music existed before Italo-disco, one could say that Italo is the child of High-energy in some way (a logical continuation of disco music). You know who Bobby Orlando and Patrick Cowley are. Did they have some influence on you ?

Of course they influenced me. as you state Italo disco is an evolution of High-energy. I think our style is a medley between the High-energy’s sound and the Italian melodies.

The year 1983 is far away from us now. Your first single was Don’t Cry Tonight. How did you compose this song ?

I was in a blue, sad moment of my life. the melody went out from the deep of my soul. It was written in five minutes.

Italo disco is a very nice and strong music. Your song Don’t Cry Tonight in an example of a beautiful, soft song, a very good song for our heart and soul, for our thoughts. Italo disco in general is the most beautiful music in the world, don’t you think so?

Yes, I agree. Many thanks for you compliments.

I Loved, I love you and I will love you forever! I remember with this song!


Mike Rogers – Just A Story

I can listen to a recording day and night, thanks to this amazing recording who created it many thanks


Marc Line – You Can Break My Heart

Marcello Catalano

Probably one of the most coruscating Marcello Catalano’s jewels, as much smooth for the ears as it is not to be found at every street’s corner ! A record seemingly that’s worth the price.


Moskow – Come Back

Angelo Valsiglio

Unlike others, I love this song because it’s beautiful and, for me it doesn’t matter if the record is 10 cent the euro or 3000.

Clear and easy-to-understand vocals (you’re an Italo, I don’t want you to be clear), excellent drums programming (lots double kicks but why that snare ? ok..), wonderful melody and sounds/effects during the song.

** You might like the Instr. version more

Is that record worth the money for a “love” song ? you decide..


G.J. Lunghi – Acapulco Nights

Such an absolutely perfect song. The keyboard hook and lead female vocals are especially outstanding. Owwww!!!


Lame’ – You’ve Got The Night

Thank you for sharing this with me Triggerfs, I have been listening to this song in my room for the last 5 hours having an emotional breakdown. This track breaks my heart two ways, first the percussion through the track.. amazing.. The final destruction to my soul comes at 3:27ish when he starts beckoning to her, and then the final “but if you want it, you got it….” and thats when the tears pour out….


The Hurricanes – Only One Night


If you haven’t heard this Italo classic, then hear it! The intro from 0:17 gives me goosebumps and the voice is wonderful. One of my absolute favorites ever. Produced by Tess (aka Fancy).


93rd Superbowl – Forever And A Day

Great and crazy synth action, wonderful long break in the middle, this song has it all for me. One of my personal favorites that never left my head since the first time I heard it. Pitch it up a little for maximum effectiveness!


Ventura – Another Time

Bruno Tavernese

One that grew on me a lot over the years, with solid production (as always) from the master Bruno Tavernese.
The singer is not out of tune at all, she has a powerful husky voice which I love.
One of few italo 12″ maxis with great (different) songs on both sides, actually the b-side “Another Time” is better for me.
Be sure to watch the incredible and spirited video performance of that one.. what a stage presence!


Jules – I Want To…

Simply amazing.
My Number One in the Top Ten!!.


Ghery M & Ocean D – Love’s Emotions



George Gray – Life

Those many italo songs I have searched, I havent found. Instead of all that I found this thanks to Qlee Italo Disco Radio. and RSDH in Holland. And I am thankful for it. There is very little music like these. Its not about sounds, lyrics and arrangement only, but how it makes me feel due to the all about this itself.

It also seems more than just mainstream italo ( which was made for money).


Lisa G. – Call My Name

Another wonderful 80s italo disco masterpiece! The intro has a Very cutting crew “I just died in your arms” feel imo. Lisa g”s vocals are quite lovely and the over all production Is flawless! 🙂 🙂 🙂

For my friend and DJ colleague Scott Duncan aka Il Discotto who introduced me to so much of this wonderful music.




p.s. Hey. Super happy to have recently rediscovered this _Black_Acrylic gem in my dead blog’s purgatory and to thrust it in your contemporary faces. Please dig around, try stuff, say stuff to _B_A, and generally enjoy. Thanks again, Ben! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi maestro of the moment! Thank you for perking this place up. That ‘FC’ cover is kind of dreamy. I think it’s partly the video. Almost belongs giant-sized on a museum wall. Maybe not even almost. James Lee Byars, yes! Go for it! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Thanks for the Oshima identifier. I’ve not seen that film, and I’ll see if youtube is feeling generous. ** Alex rose, Mr. Rose! *ghrhyxgii* (that was a bear hug). I concur on the too much these days. I’m glad it’s not just me while feeling sorrowful for you that you’re the proof. But you’ll be fine. You’re a cat type. Me too, purportedly. I dream of adopting a thousand teens. I wouldn’t, but you could take your pick if I did. I had a piece of candy from a Gonzalez-Torres floor work carefully placed in a semi-unobtrusive spot on my Los Angeles rug for while. I think a friend’s dog ate it. ‘Mandy’ has yet to grace Paris’s cinemas for reasons unknown, so no. I might go see the new ‘Halloween’ though, which has already opened here because Halloween-ignoramous France doesn’t understand the protocol about Halloween movies needing to open at Halloween. So maybe. What’s cooking right now? Like literally right now. This very second. Love you too, Santa Claus, signed DC. ** Steve Erickson, That song is horrifyingly constructed to imprison one’s auditory senses. It’s like musical herpes. So is ‘Eye of the Tiger’, for instance. Oh, well, although your day has slightly slackened, I nonetheless wish you whatever amount of luck you need to end it with a flourish. ** Keatun, Well, well, well! Hey there, buddy! I’ve missed your stuff. I’m all right, busy, a little lazy, glad summer’s bullshit is in the can, etc. Big changes on your end, good sounding ones. Ooh, hundreds of skeletons! Not only have I read ‘Rimbaud in Abyssinia’, but, and I suddenly think we’re talking about two different books, but, if I’m wrong and you mean the book about Abyssinia written by Rimbaud himself, my Little Caesar Press was the first to publish it in English, and was its only publisher for years because, and this is why I think we’re talking about different books, it’s a very dull book for Rimbaud fanatics only. I only shot a gun once at a shooting range, and it caused pain in my hand and did not suit me. Anyway, welcome back, pal. Halloween post = yes! ** Jamie, Hi, J. I think you must be right. I don’t imagine there could be any other explanation. Interesting. I know a guy who was the gun-for-hire drummer for that one hit wonder 80s band Modern English for about six years, and he said even just having to play the drum signature for ‘Stop the World (and Melt with You)’ almost every night for six years nearly landed him in the looney bin. I was a carrot cake purist, no frosting. Too sweet. Taste the carrots, and all that. No, I haven’t cooked anything in twenty years or more. I’m a 2 minutes tops microwave using kind of guy. Enjoy Brussels if you’ve yet to take off, or I hope you did depending. Quite exciting sounding indeed. Script proceeds, but I really need to really pick up the pace. It feels okay, I think. I think humans are probably at their most beautiful when they say the word ‘wow’ with sincerity, so thank you. May your visit to Brussels cause such an impactful chemical change in the city’s makeup that Manneken Pis magically transforms into a real pissing boy who then runs around pissing on everyone and won’t listen to reason to the point that the police have no choice but to shoot him dead. I think Ethan Hawke is one of those actors like Robert Pattinson who is just incredibly, incredibly lucky considering his smidgen of talent love, Dennis. ** HaveANiceLife, Hey. Things like that are just the most heartbreaking, I don’t know. I get what you’re saying about Wu’s work’s Japanese-ness. He’s coming to Paris in December for a residency, and I’m going to ask him where his work comes from. Have a good one. ** Misanthrope, I just looked up Chris Dakota. Right, and I know who that is. By sight. Don’t think I’ve delved. I don’t know why I’m happy Milk Duds are still around, but I am. They were particular. Their lastingness seems fair. I read that Necco Wafers are newly defunct. That’s sad. I mean I thought they were totally inedible and miserable things, but they looked really good, and they had this nice coin-like deal. Anyway … ** Okay. Why don’t you spend your day clicking ‘Play’ and then either dancing all over the place or imagining you are and breaking your sweat long enough to tell _B_A you did? See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    Italo Disco is Musical Giallo

  2. Steve Erickson

    I have 2 Italodisco compilations, but the field really needs its own NUGGETS, or a series of comprehensive Soul Jazz collections.

    My interview with music video director Zev Deans is finally up, after some snafus earlier this month:

    I haven’t started working on a second draft of my script for SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, but I think it needs to go in a new, less overtly political direction. I must’ve spent 12 hours researching Dave Rubin, but I now believe it’s a bad idea to base my protagonist on him. There are certain points I want to make about the ease with which the Internet allows us to adopt personae and others to invade our privacy, but they’re probably best made without the difficulty of creating a protagonist who keeps expressing politics I disagree with. As I may have mentioned, I want to rewrite the dialogue on the talk show so that he’s now interviewing the director of a film about the victims of a serial killer which follows them up to the moments shortly before they meet the killer.

    • Steve Erickson

      BTW, Grasshopper Films is releasing its first record, a compilation of Bertrand Bonello’s own music for his soundtracks, on the 26th. BREWMASTER, the first film from their production arm, opens in New York tomorrow via another distributor, the Orchard.

  3. _Black_Acrylic

    Super nice to revisit this Playlist so thank you for rescuing it from blog purgatory. Sadly I’m unable to access today’s comments but thanks to anyone who gives it their attention.

    • Kyler

      Ben – I can see some of the comment now. Congrats on your day. I like the guy with the pole coming out of his pants…looks like a pentagram at the end of it? Very cool!

      Dennis – what a day! Started off with my first root canal! Not so bad, but took 2 hours. And then two – yes, two – good publishing news things. The Genius article should be up in a few days – my friend really liked it and his online mag is beautiful – so looking forward to that. AND – got the PDF from my publisher for my novel – it has a copyright of 2018 – so I guess it’ll be out this year. So glad, have gone through Part One so far, making just a few corrections. There’s really nothing better than being published, especially after the very long wait on both of these. It’ll be amazing to have them out there…and you’ll be one of the first to know. Thanks as always for your support bud.

  4. Kenyaton

    D., hey babe! Sounds like your good. Big time director now and all. Cant wait to see that flick. Lol you would burn alive in the FL. Lazy days are good. That Rimbaud book is a book by a French student/writer who traveled to Hirar “looking for Rimbaud”. Kind of hardcore in the line of the French and seeing if he became “a stinking bourgeois.” I remember feeling like John Conner, Little Caesars Press, Little Caesars Pizza? Hehe. The happiest of Halloweens to you. Hope to write you soon from a nice beach somewhere. I’ll see if I can hangout a bit. Hugs


  5. Kai

    Dear Dennis, hisashiburi! It’s been more than two years since my last comment here, I think. Sorry for the long absence. I am still following the blog, although work and family make it hard to keep up with the substantial daily posts. In April our daughter Martha was born, so I am spending more time than ever in Tokyo, while my work is still in Germany – and I have a work-related favor to ask you: I will do a seminar on queer slash feminist approaches to theater, dance and performance in the upcoming winter semester, and I would like to show “Them” to my students. We will read Leo Bersani’s essay “Is the rectum a grave?” about how the US administration and mainstream media did everything to make the HIV crisis worse in the 80s, and “Them” seems like the thing to watch then. I found a 20 minutes excerpt and some shorter clips on Youtube, but is there a video of a full performance that I might use in class? This would be greatly appreciated. My email is All best, Kai

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