The Night Domenico Modugno Belted Out a Eurovision Classic

Italy’s 1958 entry Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu is an immediate hit (even if most people think it’s called Volare)

Allen Therisa
2 min readOct 2


Domenico Modugno.
This wonderful performance can’t lose, right?

What about the contest?

From the olden days, when Eurovision was more of an event than an actual television programme; contestants walked up to the microphone, sang their song and the audience then applauded in a gentile, dignified fashion. Actually quite enjoyable, in a stiff-backed, bow-tied, black-and-white sort of way — though then again it would be: only nine countries entered in 1958.

The evening literally flew by.

And the group (or artiste)?

Domenico Modugno was tall and brawny and used his large hands to great gesturing effect. “Come into my great big arms and sing along with me,” Modugno seemed to be encouraging the audience.

On the night, he had a little moustache and slicked-back hair and the kind of booming vocal needed to project a song like this all the way to row 52, as well as the far reaches of Europe (which at this point meant Sweden).

What about the song?

One of the great popular music standards of the modern era rather unbelievably, came from Eurovision, and this is it. Sing a couple of lines from the chorus to most people, anywhere, and someone will, in all probability, sing the rest of the chorus back to you.

The song’s title Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu will, however, have most viewers and listeners scratching their heads (though that’s only because they think this song is called Volare — whoo, ah, ah, oh).

Any good?

It is a work of considerable charm and genius.

And it came where?

Third, with 13 points.

Who was the real winner?

French charmer André Claveau with romantic lullaby Dors, Mon Amour.

So, in summary:

We (i.e. Italy) and associated music lovers everywhere were robbed.

Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu

Domenico Modugno, Italy


13 points (third)



Allen Therisa

Author and writer, etc. fascinated with culture, politics and history. Check out my new novel Adventures About To Begin at all good book stores & online.