EntertainmentJourney through the lost tapes: Luigi Tenco, San Remo

Journey through the lost tapes: Luigi Tenco, San Remo

Luigi Tenco
Luigi Tenco
Images source: © Getty Images | 1967 Keystone-France

3:58 AM EST, January 28, 2024

Born in Cassine in 1938, Luigi Tenco was an established Italian singer, guitarist, and lyricist. He gained most of his popularity during the 60s and was a significant representative of the "cantautori" movement, characterized by singers who wrote their songs.

Tenco's music was a combination of folk, blues, and ballads. His lyrics often portrayed social and personal issues, drawing attention from many listeners.

His most famous song, "Ciao Amore, Ciao," which he performed last before his audience during the 17th edition of the festival in San Remo, remains well-known. The song, presented alongside his partner, the renowned singer Dalida, ranked 12th and unfortunately didn't make it to the final.

Absorbed in disappointment, the artist retreated to his room at the "Savoy" hotel, where he was later found lifeless. A farewell letter left behind expressed his disapproval of the jury's verdict.

After Tenco's tragic death, the tape containing his performance mysteriously disappeared. Even more so, video recordings of performances from all competition evenings vanished soon after the festival ended! There were suspicions that the artist's death was a staged suicide, but the Italian court dismissed these theories after an exhumation of the body in the 2000s.

Many explanations have been suggested over the years regarding the disappearance of the recordings from the festival. RAI gave various reasons, ranging from destruction due to fire in the 80s, to theft or even the possibility of not recording the live broadcasts in 1967.

A significant breakthrough came in January 2017 when RAI received a significant part of the video recordings from the last competition evening, televised on January 28, 1967, from a collector in Malta. Despite this find, there are still no video recordings of Luigi Tenco's performance.

The Polish Connection

Although RAI stated that all performances that evening were lost or deleted, several fragments of the contest have been posted online and presented on television, including in Poland.

In 2021, Kacpir, a popular Polish Youtuber, released a one-hour film, Polish Lost Media Iceberg. This film discussed lost media related to Poland and has been viewed almost a million times. The final chapter discusses the unusual or dark examples, such as the destroyed first science fiction novel in the world by Adam Mickiewicz, "The History of the Future." Included in this chapter is a discussion on a Polish link to the missing recording from the San Remo 1967 festival. What's this connection based on? On the same competition day, the most notable Polish singer, Anna German, performed.

In both the 90s and a few years back on the 'Pytanie na Śniadanie' program, as a homage to Anna German, clips from the San Remo 1967 festival appeared. This aroused the curiosity of internet users, particularly the Italians, who tirelessly scoured Reddit and other various forums for lost media, to find out whether the missing recording of Luigi Tenco is in Poland.

After thorough investigation, it was established that the material shown on TVP2 is a 29-minute report from the 1967 festival. While there are short snippets of several performances, including those by Dalida and German, there is no recording of Tenco's performance, only excerpts of the artist's poster and press articles about his suicide.

The recording of Luigi Tenco's final performance is still missing.

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