Domenico Modugno (January 9, 1928 – August 6, 1994) was an Italian singer and songwriter.
From a young age Domenico wanted to become an actor and in 1951, after his military service, he enrolled in an acting school. While still studying he had a role in a cinematographic version of Filumena Marturano by Eduardo De Filippo, and some other films.
In 1957, his song Lazzarella, sung by Aurelio Fierro, came second in the Festival della Canzone Napoletana, bringing him the first popularity.
In 1958 he took part to the Festival della Prosa, in Venezia, with the comedy La rosa di zolfo by Antonio Aniante. The turning point of his career came in that year, when he also participated to the Sanremo Music Festival, presenting, together with Johnny Dorelli, the song Nel blu dipinto di blu. Co-authored by him and Franco Migliacci, the song won the contest and suddenly became an enormous discographical success.
Nel blu dipinto di blu represented Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest, where it came third.
Become widely known as Volare, from its refrain, it was translated in many languages (Dans le bleu du ciel bleu, France; En el azul del cielo, Spain; Jown ogen, Belgium; Taivaan sinessa, Finland; Azul pintado de azul, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil) reaching the top of the charts all over the world; the year later the first Grammy Awards was held and Modugno received (as an author of the song) both the Song of the Year and the Record of the Year awards. As of 2006, this is the only time an Italian artist received a Grammy award.
The song reached #1 in America. According to Songfacts, it was the first foreign-language single to top the singles charts in the rock era and during a time when most hits were either penned by outside songwriters or covers of previously recorded songs, this was the first Hot 100 #1 to be written or co-written by its singer. The Billboard magazine also conferred him a prize for the best song of the year and he got three gold albums from the recording industry: best singer, best song, best-seller album.
The song also fared very well in the long run, and was voted as the second favourite song in the Eurovision Song Contest history at the 50th anniversary concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2005. The song has received many covers over the course of the years.
Modugno won the Sanremo Music Festival for the second time in a row in 1959 and represented Italy again in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1959 (with Piove, also known as Ciao, Ciao Bambina) and 1966.
In 1967 Modugno and Pier Paolo Pasolini co-wrote Cosa sono le nuvole, the ending song (sung by Modugno himself) of "Che cosa sono le nuvole?", one of the six episodes of the italian movie "Capriccio all'italiana".