Sunday, 10 October 1971
Born: July 17th, 1927, Milan (Italy)
Died: February 22nd, 2015, Capriate San Gervasio (Italy)
In due course, the short impression below will be replaced with a more extensive career overview
Ezio Leoni studied chemistry, until he found his new passion in music and formed the group Menestrelli del Jazz, in which he played the accordion; other members of this jazz ensemble were Gianfranco Intra (piano) and Fausto Papetti (saxophone). The group earned itself a record deal with a Swiss company, the Walter Guertler-led Music. As a result of the recordings he experienced in the Swiss studios, Leoni became interested in composing and conducting; it was not long before he was engaged as an arranger and conductor – often working under the pseudonym Len Mercer – for several record labels in Switzerland. As such, he worked with the young and coming rock-and-roll artist Adriano Celentano, for whom he composed ‘Blue Jeans Rock’, ‘Si è spento il sole’, and several other songs.
In the 1960s, Ezio Leoni became the producer of Iva Zanicchi; he conducted most of her San Remo Festival entries, amongst which the winners ‘Non pensare a me’ (1967) and ‘Zingara’ (1969). Other artists who worked with Ezio Leoni, include Fausto Leali, Chet Baker, and Luigi Tenco. In 1977, Leoni returned to the San Remo Festival for a last time, conducting the orchestra for the winning group Homo Sapiens during their rendition of ‘Bella da morire’. Having ended his career as a musician, Leoni became board member of SIAE, which protects the rights of Italian musicians, composers, and music editors.
EUROVISION SONG CONTEST
After Iva Zanicchi’s victory in the San Remo Festival of 1969, she was invited by RAI to be the Italian representative in the Eurovision Song Contest of that same year, held in Madrid. There, she performed the song ‘Due grosse lacrime bianche’, penned by Piero Soffici and Carlo Daiano. Leoni wrote the orchestration and conducted the Spanish orchestra. The song scored a meagre five points and landed a 13th spot.
EUROVISION INVOLVEMENT YEAR BY YEAR
Country – Italy
Song title – "Due grosse lacrime bianche"
Rendition – Iva Zanicchi
Lyrics – Carlo Daiano
Composition – Piero Soffici
Studio arrangement – Ezio Leoni
Live orchestration – Ezio Leoni
Conductor – Ezio Leoni
Score – 13th place (5 votes)