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Italo disco legend Pino D'Angiò dies aged 71

Widely known for his larger-than-life persona, the Italian singer-songwriter rose to fame with 'Ma quale idea' in 1980.

  • 9 July 2024
Italo disco legend Pino D'Angiò dies aged 71

Italo disco legend Pino D'Angiò has died aged 71.

According to Agenzia ANSA, the Italian singer-songwriter and producer, who is best known for his 1980 Italo Disco hit 'Ma quale idea', passed away on Saturday (July 6).

"Unfortunately today Dad left us, struck by a serious illness that took him away in a few weeks," D'Angiò's son Francesco told ANSA. "He has endured so much, as he always has."

Born in Pompeii, D'Angiò - real name Giuseppe Chierchia - spent much of his early years in North America before moving back to his native Italy at age 11.

In an interview with Italy Segreta D'Angiò described his entrance into music as "an accident," having started performing as a hobby while studying medicine at the University of Siena where he was discovered by pioneering Italian producer Ezio Leoni.

From there he recorded his first single 'È libero, scusi?' in 1979, but it was just a year later that D'Angiò would release his biggest hit 'Ma quale idea' — an iconic Italo disco track that would go on to sell two million copies, earn chart success across Europe and go on to be sampled in another legendary dance track: Madison Avenue's 'Don't Call Me Baby' in 1999.

From there he released several hit pop and Italo records, including 1981's '...Balla', 1983's 'Una Notte Maledetta' and 1988's 'Gente Si & Gente No' — though in 1990, he joined forces with producer Bruno Sanchioni to form the duo The Age of Love, releasing a single of the same name that is credited as being an early example of trance.

Much of the intrigue around D'Angiò revolved around his characteristically nonchalant on-stage presence, often seen brandishing a half-smoked cigarette between pinched fingers in one hand and waving a microphone in the other.

Influenced by the over-the-top, mobster-inspired guise of Italian pop star Fred Buscaglione, D'Angiò's persona saw him become a national treasure in Italy and an enduring symbol of cool.

In recent years, D'Angiò found a new audience, following a viral TikTok of him performing his most famous hit with his signature cigarette, donning Nike shoes and a dinner suit.

In 2024, he composed an alternative version of 'Mas quale idea' with Italian pop punk collective Bnkr44, which went platinum in Italy.

While his family has not yet confirmed the nature of his recent illness, D'Angiò has suffered several health problems across the last decade — including a battle with lung cancer, throat cancer and a stroke.

A funeral for D'Angiò will be held today (July 9) in his hometown of Pompeii.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter.

This article originally featured on Mixmag Global.

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