In the 1960s, Rita Pavone achieved stardom, and she was permanently transformed by her brush with Elvis.
One admirer compared her to a mix between Brenda Lee and The Beatles. Rita Pavone, meanwhile, might not be well known to American viewers.
The Italian singer became well-known in her own country in the 1960s before traveling to America, where she made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and amassed a number of successes. Additionally, she received an Elvis Presley-signed picture from him and shared the stage with Paul Anka and Diana Ross.
Although Pavone is a legend in her home Italy, the United States never recognized her as a cult figure. So, how did she originally come to be a celebrity, and what does she do now?
Here is all the information you need to know about Rita Pavone, including the amazing tale of how she met Elvis.
On August 23, 1945, Rita Pavone was born in Turin, Italy. Rita’s mother, Maria, reared Rita and her three brothers, Perio, Carlo, and Cicco, while her father, Giovanni Pavoni, worked at the Fiat factory in the Italian city.
Italian vocalist Rita Pavone is well-known.
Pavone was destined to be a stage performer. She started singing at various student gatherings before moving on to other pubs in Turin.
But in 1962, when pop music gained popularity all over the world, in part because of Elvis Presley, with whom Pavone made friends, and The Beatles, her life underwent a profound upheaval.
The inaugural “Rally of the Unknown” talent contest was scheduled to take place in Rome’s Ariccia district. Although neither Pavone nor her mother were certain at the time that music was the way to go forward, more than 20,000 aspiring musicians would take part.
“It was the last 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.
On the other side, Rita’s father supported her the entire time. He secretly sent Teddy Reno, the man in charge of the talent contest, a letter outlining the reasons why his daughter ought to win. It was successful, and the young, ambitious vocalist received a break.
“I left believing it to be my final 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.
I’m sure you can predict what happened next. Rita triumphed in the contest and shot to fame right after. In only a few short weeks, Rita’s debut album, “La Partita di Pallone” (“The Ball Game”), was recorded. Rita also appeared live and on Italian television programs.
“You can be a woman without dressing like one,” she said.
“I can’t describe it, but I still wonder [what the key to my success was] now. Wherever I traveled, from Brazil to England, from France to Germany, I was able to enter worldwide hit parades with songs that were either produced 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 bit high-pitched, cutting, but really intimate.”
“I think this strong personality was my trump card,” she continued. “Standing out from the crowd means being noticed. Today, however, there is a strong propensity to copy others, which leads to a lot of photocopied goods.
“In my case, I also had red hair and freckles, and a face that was halfway between a girl and a boy.”
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 male 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 records 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.
She also got 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 concerts at New York’s renowned Carnegie Hall and the Ed Sullivan Show.
The most significant and noticeable encounter, nevertheless, did not take place on a stage. Rita Pavone instead had the opportunity to meet Elvis Presley, who is considered to be the biggest celebrity of all time, in a Nashville recording studio.
The King of Rock revolutionized 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 further his career. Classics like King Creole (1958), Viva Las Vegas (1964), and The Trouble with Girls (1969) were among them.
Elvis passed away tragically in August of 1977, causing the world to lament the loss of a real entertainment icon.
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 over 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 realized 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 chills.
“I wanted to meet him, so there was a cold in the air. As a result, I went to Chet Atkins and begged him to tell me when he was at a certain stage, Rita remembered.
“I saw a crowd of people arming themselves, they seemed to be preparing the landing in Normandy, he didn’t want to be disturbed,” they claimed.
I persuaded them after whining like a kid and claiming that it was impossible to waste such a chance, but they still offered many options.
Rita Pavone said, “I waited at the RCA studios until midnight before they came in: first, his lawyer, secretary, sound engineer, and all of his crew.
He appeared later. 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 nice. 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.
Elvis told Rita that he was familiar with her.
The painting has a very special place in Rita Pavone’s heart, and meeting Elvis was of course amazing.
“I already have it! When I pass away, according to my extremely pragmatic and realist son, he will sell it! A man of such 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’ management vehemently opposed him meeting Rita. Finally meeting, Elvis said something amazing.
Colonel Parker, his manager, had forbidden me from meeting her. However, he acknowledged me as he left the studio and remarked, “But I know you!” You attended Ed Sullivan’s show. The only one who recognized me was Elvis. Pavore remembered, “I asked him for a photo, and he handed 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. More 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 great thing at the moment since “Beatlemania” was taking over the nation.
The rocky marriage of Rita Pavone
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 programs and movies after making her television debut in the 1965 program 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? Over the years, their relationship grew and he eventually became her manager. The pair eventually were hitched in 1968, despite the fact that their union was immensely divisive among friends and family.
Teddy was Rita’s senior by over 20 years. Even though they had been dating since the early 1960s, the age difference seemed 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. But 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 “did everything; he didn’t want me to get married, but then he realized everyone has to make their own choices.”
The present Rita Pavone
Pavone had a long career. In 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. Together with her spouse Teddy, she presently resides in Ticino, Switzerland.
Rita Pavone has had a very successful career, and we are happy that she got to know and spend time with Elvis Presley.