In the autumn of 1965 I found myself in Italy barely scraping a living playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Money from gigs just about paid our hotel and food costs. Any work was welcome, and when we were asked to provide some music for a film, naturally we jumped at the chance.
The sound studio was enormous; it was full of musical instruments, microphones and musicians, the size of an old-fashioned cinema, with a very large screen at one end to show the film to which the music had to be synchronized.
The film was called Oggi, Domani e Dopodomani (Today, Tomorrow and the Day After), and was a sort of sequel to Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Marcello Mastroianni starred in both, joined in ‘Oggi’ by Catherine Spaak, Virna Lisi and Pamela Tiffin. At the time I’m not sure we had heard of any of them, and as far as we were concerned it was just another job.
There were three ‘episodi’ in the film, three separate stories, and we were concerned with the third one, where Mastroianni attempts to sell his beautiful blonde wife, played by Pamela Tiffin, to a Middle-Eastern potentate. They are all having dinner, Arab style, and Mastroianni encourages her to get up and dance to the eastern music playing in the background. She warms to the idea and starts disco dancing. The eastern music then morphs into rock ‘n’ roll provided by the band and myself.
We saw the film once at the cinema, and with no subtitles could make little of the plot line, but our music did sound good though I say so myself; we were uncredited of course. I have just seen the film again on a DVD which I was able to purchase from Amazon, and our little contribution still sounds good fifty years after the event.
Apart from the spectacle of the gigantic studio, the one thing I do remember about that day happened during one of the long waiting periods between takes. I had very long hair then, down to my shoulders, and this was almost unprecedented in Italy in 1965. A short rather plump lady violinist was walking past where we were set up and was so taken with my hair that she entirely failed to negotiate a large microphone stand. She measured her length on the floor, but consummate performer to the end, held her violin up at arms-length and out of harm’s way.
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