A song in Spanish, a song In Swedish, a song in French, a song in German and today, a song in Italian. If you are Italian and you haven’t heard of Mina, then you have no ears. Between singles and albums, Mina has had 24 number No.1 records in Italy, 61 in the Top 3, 86 in the Top 5, 114 in the Top 10 and 130 in the Top 20 – a total of 71 singles and 79 albums in the Italian charts.
If you are English, the closest you will have got to her is Shirley’s Bassey’s Never, Never, Never, the English version of her original Italian hit, Grande, Grande, Grande, a No.1 single in Italy in 1972. Completist Beatles’ fans might know of her because of her 1993 album, Mina Canta I Beatles, No.3 in the Italian chart.
Mina is a sensation, she was born in Lombardy in North West Italy in 1940. She had her first hit, Tintarella Di Luna (Moon Tan) in 1959, she was the first female Rock and Roll singer to be seen on the television. She has been called The Queen Of The Screamers and The Tiger of Cremorna. She shaved her eyebrows off nurturing her independent persona, standing out from the competition with her look and her three octave voice. Over the years her vocal skills evolved beyond her early recordings and I wonder if Patti Smith ever heard Tintaella Di Luna as I hear some of the vocal affectations on Gloria from Horses (1975) in this song.
It’s hard to know where to start with such a prolific artist. Non Credere (Don’t Believe) No.3 in 1969, is as good a place as any. Mina retired from live performance in 1978 but has continued to make albums, her latest, Selfie (2014) reached No.5 and the previous Piccolino (2011) reached No.6. They are as passionate and assured as anything she has recorded in the past. She has reached her seventies with ease and sophistication, her art intact.