Friday, May 9, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Introduzione - Introduction

Lottavano così come si gioca
i cuccioli del maggio era normale
loro avevano il tempo anche per la galera
ad aspettarli fuori rimaneva
la stessa rabbia la stessa primavera...

Introduzione © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/Nicola Piovani

We are introduced to the worker as he observes the student rebels of 1968.



They fought the way one plays,
the puppies of May, it was normal.
They even had time for prison.
Waiting for them on the outside remained
the same rage, the same springtime . . .

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Canzone del maggio - May Song

Anche se il nostro maggio
ha fatto a meno del vostro coraggio
se la paura di guardare
vi ha fatto chinare il mento
se il fuoco ha risparmiato
le vostre Millecento
anche se voi vi credete assolti
siete lo stesso coinvolti.

E se vi siete detti
non sta succedendo niente,
le fabbriche riapriranno,
arresteranno qualche studente
convinti che fosse un gioco
a cui avremmo giocato poco
provate pure a credervi assolti
siete lo stesso coinvolti.

Anche se avete chiuso
le vostre porte sul nostro muso
la notte che le "pantere"
ci mordevano il sedere
lasciandoci in buonafede
massacrare sui marciapiedi
anche se ora ve ne fregate,
voi quella notte voi c'eravate.

E se nei vostri quartieri
tutto è rimasto come ieri,
senza le barricate
senza feriti, senza granate,
se avete preso per buone
le "verità" della televisione
anche se allora vi siete assolti
siete lo stesso coinvolti.

E se credete ora
che tutto sia come prima
perché avete votato ancora
la sicurezza, la disciplina,
convinti di allontanare
la paura di cambiare
verremo ancora alle vostre porte
e grideremo ancora più forte
per quanto voi vi crediate assolti
siete per sempre coinvolti,
per quanto voi vi crediate assolti
siete per sempre coinvolti.

Canzone del maggio © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/
Nicola Piovani


"Canzone del maggio" is the song listened to by the student rebels and heard by the worker, that sparks his personal reflections. The song is based on a song by Dominique Grange, "Chacun de vous est concerné" about the May 1968 events in France. Grange did not ask for any rights of authorship when De André contacted her about publication. The lyrics of "Canzone del maggio" reflect each of the concepts of the original, verse by verse.





Even if our May
did without your courage,
if the fear of looking
made you bow down your chin,
if the fire spared
your Fiat 1100’s,
even if you believe yourselves absolved,
you are, all the same, involved.

And if it was said to you all,
"Nothing is happening,
the factories will reopen,
they’ll arrest some students,"
convinced, you all are, it was a game
that we’ll have played little,
just try to believe yourselves absolved.
You are, all the same, involved.

Even if you had closed
your doors in our face
the night that the “panthers”
were biting our bottoms,
leaving us in good faith
to massacre on the sidewalks,
even if now you don’t give a damn,
all of you, that night, you all were there.

And if in your neighborhoods
everything remained as it was yesterday,
without the barricades,
without injuries, without grenades,
if you all had taken at face value
the “truths” of the television,
even if in that moment you're absolved,
you are, all the same, involved.

And if you all believe now
that everything is as before,
why have you still voted
the security, the discipline,
convinced of warding off
the fear of change?
We’ll still come to your doors
and we will shout even louder still.
As much as you believe yourselves absolved,
you’re all, forever, involved,
As much as you believe yourselves absolved;
you’re all, forever, involved.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   La bomba in testa - The Bomb in the Head

....e io contavo i denti ai francobolli
dicevo "grazie a Dio" "buon Natale"
mi sentivo normale
eppure i miei trent'anni
erano pochi più dei loro
ma non importa adesso torno al lavoro.

Cantavano il disordine dei sogni
gli ingrati del benessere francese
e non davan l'idea
di denunciare uomini al balcone
di un solo maggio, di un unico paese,

e io ho la faccia usata dal buonsenso
ripeto "Non vogliamoci del male"
e non mi sento normale
e mi sorprendo ancora
a misurarmi su di loro
e adesso è tardi, adesso torno al lavoro.

Rischiavano la strada e per un uomo
ci vuole pure un senso a sopportare
di poter sanguinare
e il senso non dev'essere rischiare
ma forse non voler più sopportare.

Chissà cosa si prova a liberare
la fiducia nelle proprie tentazioni,
allontanare gli intrusi
dalle nostre emozioni,
allontanarli in tempo
e prima di trovarti solo
con la paura di non tornare al lavoro.

Rischiare libertà strada per strada,
scordarsi le rotaie verso casa,
io ne valgo la pena,
per arrivare ad incontrar la gente
senza dovermi fingere innocente.

Mi sforzo di ripetermi con loro
e più l'idea va di là del vetro
più mi lasciano indietro,
per il coraggio insieme
non so le regole del gioco
senza la mia paura mi fido poco.

Ormai sono in ritardo per gli amici
per l'odio potrei farcela da solo
illuminando al tritolo
chi ha la faccia e mostra solo il viso
sempre gradevole, sempre più impreciso.

E l'esplosivo spacca, taglia, fruga
tra gli ospiti di un ballo mascherato,
io mi sono invitato
a rilevar l'impronta
dietro ogni maschera che salta
e a non aver pietà per la mia prima volta.

La bomba in testa © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/Nicola Piovani

According to the liner notes, after having listened to "Canzone del Maggio" with new ears, the worker compares his life of good sense, individualism and fears with the lives of the students who had the courage to rebel against the system that oppressed them. His doubts increase and he feels like the students were right. But he realizes he can't really unite with them given his conditioning and situation. He decides to act independently and alone, to throw a bomb into a masked ball where the myths and cultural values of the bourgeois powers are on display, and he imagines the results (hence, "the bomb in the head").





. . . and I was counting the teeth on the postage stamps,
I was saying, “Thanks be to God,” “Merry Christmas,”
I was feeling normal.
And yet my thirty years
were few more than theirs.
But it doesn’t matter, now I return to work.

They were singing the messiness of their dreams,
the ingrates of French affluence,
and they weren’t giving me the idea
of denouncing men at the balcony
of one single May, of one single country.

And I have a face worn by good sense,
I repeat “Let’s not have ill feelings for each other,”
and I don’t feel normal.
And I surprise myself still
to measure myself against them,
and now it’s late, and now I return to work.

They risked it on the streets, and for a man
it just takes one sense to endure,
to be able to bleed.
And the sense doesn’t have to be risking,
but maybe no longer wanting to endure.

Who knows what one tries to liberate?
The confidence in one’s own attempts,
pushing away the intruders
from our emotions,
warding them off in time
and before you find yourself alone
with the fear of not returning to work.

Risking liberty street by street,
forgetting the tracks back to home,
I’m worth it,
to arrive to encounter people
without having to pretend I’m innocent.

I force myself to repeat myself with them,
and the more the idea goes over there through the glass,
the more they leave me behind
for their courage together.
I don’t know the rules of the game,
without my fear I trust myself little.

Now I'm late for my friends.
For the hatred I could give it a try on my own,
illuminating with TNT
anyone who has the look and shows only his face,
always agreeable, always more vague.

And the explosion splits, cuts, ransacks
among the guests of a masked ball.
I invited myself
to note the imprint
behind every mask that jumps,
and to have no mercy for my first time.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser




Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Al ballo mascherato - At the Masked Ball

Cristo drogato da troppe sconfitte
cede alla complicità
di Nobel che gli espone la praticità
di un'eventuale premio della bontà.
Maria ignorata da un Edipo ormai scaltro
mima una sua nostalgia di natività,
io con la mia bomba porto la novità,
la bomba che debutta in società,
al ballo mascherato della celebrità.

Dante alla porta di Paolo e Francesca
spia chi fa meglio di lui:
lì dietro si racconta un amore normale
ma lui saprà poi renderlo tanto geniale.
E il viaggio all'inferno ora fallo da solo
con l'ultima invidia lasciata là sotto un lenzuolo,
sorpresa sulla porta d'una felicità
la bomba ha risparmiato la normalità,
al ballo mascherato della celebrità.

La bomba non ha una natura gentile
ma spinta da imparzialità
sconvolge l'improbabile intimità
di un'apparente statua della Pietà.
Grimilde di Manhattan, statua della libertà,
adesso non ha più rivali la tua vanità
e il gioco dello specchio non si ripeterà
"Sono più bella io o la statua della Pietà"
dopo il ballo mascherato del celebrità.

Nelson strappato al suo carnevale
rincorre la sua identità
e cerca la sua maschera, l'orgoglio, lo stile,
impegnati sempre a vincere e mai a morire.
Poi dalla feluca ormai a brandelli
tenta di estrarre il coniglio della sua Trafalgar
e nella sua agonia, sparsa di qua, di là,
implora una Sant'Elena anche in comproprietà,
al ballo mascherato della celebrità.

Mio padre pretende aspirina ed affetto
e inciampa nella sua autorità,
affida a una vestaglia il suo ultimo ruolo
ma lui esplode dopo, prima il suo decoro.
Mia madre si approva in frantumi di specchio,
dovrebbe accettare la bomba con serenità,
il martirio è il suo mestiere, la sua vanità,
ma ora accetta di morire soltanto a metà
la sua parte ancora viva le fa tanta pietà,
al ballo mascherato della celebrità.

Qualcuno ha lasciato la luna nel bagno
accesa soltanto a metà
quel poco che mi basta per contare i caduti,
stupirmi della loro fragilità,
e adesso puoi togliermi i piedi dal collo
amico che m'hai insegnato il "come si fa"
se no ti porto indietro di qualche minuto
ti metto a conversare, ti ci metto seduto
tra Nelson e la statua della Pietà,
al ballo mascherato della celebrità.

Al ballo mascherato © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/Nicola Piovani

This song is the first of the worker's dreams, where he blows up symbols of power right and left, political, cultural, ideological and religious, with the intent to tear the masks off the hypocrites and deligitimize the powers that be.



Christ, drugged by too many defeats,
surrenders to the complicity
of Nobel, who explains to him the practicality
of a possible prize for kindness.
Maria, neglected by an Oedipus now shrewd,
mimes one of her nostalgic scenes of the Nativity.
I, with my bomb, bring the novelty,
the bomb that makes its social debut
at the masked celebrity ball.

Dante at the door of Paolo and Francesca
spies one who is doing better than he:
there behind is recounted a normal love,
but he'll know then how to render it so brilliant.
And the voyage to hell, make it now by yourself,
with your last envy left there under a sheet.
Surprised at the door of a delight,
the bomb saved normality,
at the masked celebrity ball.

The bomb is not by nature kind,
but driven by impartiality
it upsets the improbable intimacy
of a seeming Statue of the Pietà.
Grimilde of Manhattan, Statue of Liberty,
now your vanity has no more rivals
and the mirror game won’t repeat -
“Am I more beautiful, or the Statue of the Pietà?” -
after the masked celebrity ball.

Nelson, ripped at his carnival,
chases after his identity
and searches for his mask, his pride, his style,
busy always with winning and never with dying.
Then from the Felucca hat now in tatters
he tries to pull out the rabbit of his Trafalgar,
and in his agony, scattered here and there,
he implores a Saint Helena still jointly owned,
at the masked celebrity ball.

My father demands aspirin and affection
and runs up against his authority.
He entrusts to a dressing gown his final role,
but he explodes afterwards, first his decorum.
My mother approves herself in shards of mirror.
She should accept the bomb with serenity,
martyrdom is her job, her vanity.
But now she accepts dying only halfway,
the part of her still living pities herself so,
at the masked celebrity ball.

Someone left the moon in the bathroom
turned only halfway on,
that little amount enough for me to count the fallen,
astounding me with their fragility.
And now you can remove my feet from the neck,
friend who taught me the “How is it done?”
If no I’ll carry you back for a few minutes,
I’ll set you down to converse, I’ll put you there seated
between Nelson and the Statue of the Pietà,
at the masked celebrity ball.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Monday, May 5, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Sogno numero due - Dream #2

Imputato ascolta,
noi ti abbiamo ascoltato.
Tu non sapevi
di avere una coscienza al fosforo
piantata tra l'aorta e l'intenzione,
noi ti abbiamo osservato
dal primo battere del cuore
fino ai ritmi più brevi
dell'ultima emozione
quando uccidevi,
favorendo il potere
i soci vitalizi del potere
ammucchiati in discesa
a difesa
della loro celebrazione.

E se tu la credevi vendetta
il fosforo di guardia
segnalava la tua urgenza di potere
mentre ti emozionavi
nel ruolo più eccitante della legge
quello che non protegge
la parte del boia.

Imputato,
il dito più lungo della tua mano
è il medio
quello della mia
è l'indice,
eppure anche tu hai giudicato.
Hai assolto e hai condannato
al di sopra di me,
ma al di sopra di me,
per quello che hai fatto,
per come lo hai rinnovato
il potere ti è grato.

Ascolta
una volta un giudice come me
giudicò chi gli aveva dettato la legge:
prima cambiarono il giudice
e subito dopo
la legge.
Oggi, un giudice come me,
lo chiede al potere se può giudicare.
Tu sei il potere.
Vuoi essere giudicato?
Vuoi essere assolto o condannato?

Sogno numero due © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Roberto Dané

The worker continues to dream, but now in court presumably after having been arrested for throwing the bomb. But the judge informs him that the bourgeois powers are in the know of his acts, and accusations of murder are transformed into thanks for having eliminated old remnants that were bothering power itself, which now has found another way of governing. The worker correctly used the instruments of law, and his gesture was nothing other than a search for personal power. He is welcomed, and his own liberty is placed at his disposal.



Defendant listen,
we have heard you.
You didn’t know
about having a consciousness based on phosphorus
planted between the aorta and intention.
We observed you
from the first beat of your heart
until the shortest rhythms
of the last emotion
when you killed,
favoring power,
the lifelong associates of power,
stacked up downwards
in defense
of their celebration.

And if you believed it revenge,
the phosphorus on duty
marked your urgency for power
while you got worked up
in the most exciting role of the law,
that which doesn’t protect
the part of the executioner.

Defendant,
the longest finger of your hand
is the middle one.
The one for me
is the index,
and yet you too have judged.
You absolved and you condemned
above and beyond me,
but above and beyond me,
for that which you did,
for how you renewed it,
the power is grateful to you.

Listen,
at one time a judge like me
judged whoever had the law dictated to him:
first they changed the judge
and immediately after
the law.
Today, a judge like me,
asks power if it can judge.
You are the power.
Do you want to be judged?
Do you want to be absolved or condemned?

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Canzone del padre - Father's Song

-"Vuoi davvero lasciare ai tuoi occhi
solo i sogni che non fanno svegliare".
- "Sì, Vostro Onore, ma li voglio più grandi."
- "C'è lì un posto, lo ha lasciato tuo padre.
Non dovrai che restare sul ponte
e guardare le altre navi passare
le più piccole dirigile al fiume
le più grandi sanno già dove andare."
Così son diventato mio padre
ucciso in un sogno precedente
il tribunale mi ha dato fiducia
assoluzione e delitto lo stesso movente.

E ora Berto, figlio della Lavandaia,
compagno di scuola, preferisce imparare
a contare sulle antenne dei grilli
non usa mai bolle di sapone per giocare;
seppelliva sua madre in un cimitero di lavatrici
avvolta in un lenzuolo quasi come gli eroi;
si fermò un attimo per suggerire a Dio
di continuare a farsi i fatti suoi
e scappò via con la paura di arrugginire
il giornale di ieri lo dà morto arrugginito,
i becchini ne raccolgono spesso
fra la gente che si lascia piovere addosso.

Ho investito il denaro e gli affetti
banca e famiglia danno rendite sicure,
con mia moglie si discute l'amore
ci sono distanze, non ci sono paure,
ma ogni notte lei mi si arrende più tardi
vengono uomini, ce n'è uno più magro,
ha una valigia e due passaporti,
lei ha gli occhi di una donna che pago.
Commissario io ti pago per questo,
lei ha gli occhi di una donna che è mia,
l'uomo magro ha le mani occupate,
una valigia di ciondoli, un foglio di via.

Non ha più la faccia del suo primo hashish
è il mio ultimo figlio, il meno voluto,
ha pochi stracci dove inciampare
non gli importa d'alzarsi, neppure quando è caduto:
e i miei alibi prendono fuoco
il Guttuso ancora da autenticare
adesso le fiamme mi avvolgono il letto
questi i sogni che non fanno svegliare.
Vostro Onore, sei un figlio di troia,
mi sveglio ancora e mi sveglio sudato,
ora aspettami fuori dal sogno
ci vedremo davvero,
io ricomincio da capo.

Canzone del padre © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/Nicola Piovani

Per the album notes, the worker "has understood that he is a finished man with no possibility of recovery, that his acts will always be individualistic, striving for his own personal needs, and that by attaining more power one doesn't escape one's condition of isolation and anxiety. The bomb that was tossed with force, with anger and with a sense of vendetta in the dream, now in reality becomes a moment of exhilaration and, obviously of lucidity."



“Do you really want to leave to your eyes
only the dreams that don’t wake them up?”
“Yes, Your Honor, but I want them bigger.”
“Over there there is a seat, your father left it.
You don't have to do anything but stay on the bridge
and watch the other boats passing,
the smaller ones direct them to the river,
the bigger ones already know where to go.”
Thus I became my father,
killed in a previous dream.
The tribunal put their trust in me,
acquittal and crime the same motive.

And now Berto, son of the laundrywoman,
school-mate, he prefers to learn
how to count on cricket antennae.
He never uses soap bubbles for playing;
he buried his mother in a cemetery of washers
rolled up in a sheet almost like the heroes;
he stopped himself a moment to suggest to God
that He continue to attend to His own affairs,
and he ran away afraid of rusting.
Yesterday’s paper noted his rusty death.
The gravediggers collect some often
amongst people who let the rain fall on themselves.

I invested my money and my affections -
bank and family give safe yields.
With my wife, love is discussed.
There are distances, there are no fears,
but every night she surrenders to me later.
Men come, there is one of them thinner,
he has a suitcase and two passports,
she has the eyes of a woman that I pay.
Commissioner, I pay you for this,
she has the eyes of a woman who is mine.
The thin man has busy hands,
a suitcase of pendants, an expulsion order.

He no longer has the face of his first hashish,
he is my last son, the least wanted.
He has few rags where to falter,
standing up is not important to him, nor when he fell:
and my alibis catch fire
the Guttuso painting still to be authenticated.
Now the flames envelop me in bed,
these the dreams that don’t wake you up.
Your Honor, you are a son of a sow,
I still wake up and I wake up sweaty.
Now wait for me outside of the dream.
We’ll see each other indeed,
I’ll start again from the top.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Il bombarolo - The Bomber

Chi va dicendo in giro
che odio il mio lavoro
non sa con quanto amore
mi dedico al tritolo,
è quasi indipendente
ancora poche ore
poi gli darò la voce
il detonatore.

Il mio Pinocchio fragile
parente artigianale
di ordigni costruiti
su scala industriale
di me non farà mai
un cavaliere del lavoro,
io son d'un'altra razza,
son bombarolo.

Nello scendere le scale
ci metto più attenzione,
sarebbe imperdonabile
giustiziarmi
sul portone
proprio nel giorno in cui
la decisione è mia
sulla condanna a morte
o l'amnistia.

Per strada tante facce
non hanno un bel colore,
qui chi non terrorizza
si ammala di terrore,
c'è chi aspetta la pioggia
per non piangere da solo,
io son d'un altro avviso,
son bombarolo.

Intellettuali d'oggi
idioti di domani
ridatemi il cervello
che basta alle mie mani,
profeti molto acrobati
della rivoluzione
oggi farò da me
senza lezione.

Vi scoverò i nemici
per voi così distanti
e dopo averli uccisi
sarò fra i latitanti
ma finché li cerco io
i latitanti sono loro,
ho scelto un'altra scuola,
son bombarolo.

Potere troppe volte
delegato ad altre mani,
sganciato e restituitoci
dai tuoi aeroplani,
io vengo a restituirti
un po' del tuo terrore
del tuo disordine
del tuo rumore.

Così pensava forte
un trentenne disperato
se non del tutto giusto
quasi niente sbagliato,
cercando il luogo idoneo
adatto al suo tritolo,
insomma il posto degno
d'un bombarolo.

C'è chi lo vide ridere
davanti al Parlamento
aspettando l'esplosione
che provasse il suo talento,
c'è chi lo vide piangere
un torrente di vocali
vedendo esplodere
un chiosco di giornali.

Ma ciò che lo ferì
profondamente nell'orgoglio
fu l'immagine di lei
che si sporgeva da ogni foglio
lontana dal ridicolo
in cui lo lasciò solo,
ma in prima pagina
col bombarolo.

Il bombarolo © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/Nicola Piovani

Upon his return to the dream, the worker has the clear idea of how to vent his rage: make a bomb and launch it against the powers that have disappointed him. According to the liner notes: "The worker knows what to do, where to go, who to hit and why. He goes straight to the Parliament to throw a real bomb and to kill real people, but his ability was only a dream: the bomb rolls down towards a magazine kiosk. His true defeat might be in seeing on all the newspaper covers the face of his fiance, who decided to leave him after his actions. The bomber remains truly alone."



Anyone who goes around saying
that I hate my job
doesn’t know with how much love
I dedicate myself to TNT.
It's almost ready to stand on its own,
another few hours,
then I’ll give it a voice:
the detonator.

My delicate Pinocchio,
artisanal relative
of devices made
on an industrial scale -
it will never make of me
a Knight in the Order of Merit for Labor,
I am of another race,
I'm a bomber.

In descending the stairs
I pay closer attention -
it would be unpardonable
to carry out a death penalty on me
at the main entrance
on the very day in which
the decision is mine
about condemnation to death
or amnesty.

Out on the street, so many faces
don’t have good color.
Here, whoever doesn’t terrorize
becomes sick with terror.
There are ones who wait for the rain
so as not to cry alone.
I am of a different opinion,
I'm a bomber.

Today's intellectuals,
tomorrow's idiots,
give me back brain enough
for my hands.
Ever so acrobatic prophets
of the revolution,
today I’ll make do by myself
without instruction.

I’ll track down your enemies
for all of you so distant,
and after having killed them
I’ll be among the fugitives.
But until I look for them,
they are the fugitives,
I’ve chosen another school,
I’m a bomber.

Power too many times
delegated to other hands,
dropped and returned to us
from your airplanes.
I come to return to you
a bit of your terror,
of your disorder,
of your noise.

Thus thought long and hard
a desperate thirty-something,
if not right about everything,
almost nothing mistaken,
searching for the appropriate place
suitable for his TNT,
in short, the place worthy
of a bomber.

There is one who saw him laughing
in front of the Parliament,
waiting for the explosion
that demonstrated his talent.
There is one who saw him crying
a torrent of vowels,
seeing explode
a kiosk of magazines.

But what wounded him
deeply in his pride
was her image,
that jumped out from every paper
far from the ridicule
in which she left him alone,
but on the first page,
with the bomber.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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Friday, May 2, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Verranno a chiederti del nostro amore
   They'll Come to Ask You About Our Love

Quando in anticipo sul tuo stupore
verranno a chiederti del nostro amore
a quella gente consumata nel farsi dar retta
un amore così lungo
tu non darglielo in fretta,
non spalancare le labbra a un ingorgo di parole
le tue labbra così frenate nelle fantasie dell'amore
dopo l'amore così sicure a rifugiarsi nei "sempre"
nell'ipocrisia dei "mai"
non son riuscito a cambiarti
non mi hai cambiato lo sai.

E dietro ai microfoni porteranno uno specchio
per farti più bella e pensarmi già vecchio
tu regalagli un trucco che con me non portavi
e loro si stupiranno
che tu non mi bastavi,
digli pure che il potere io l'ho scagliato dalle mani
dove l'amore non era adulto
e ti lasciavo graffi sui seni
per ritornare dopo l'amore
alle carezze dell'amore
era facile ormai
non sei riuscita a cambiarmi
non ti ho cambiata lo sai.

Digli che i tuoi occhi me li han ridati sempre
come fiori regalati a maggio e restituiti in novembre
i tuoi occhi come vuoti a rendere
per chi ti ha dato lavoro
i tuoi occhi assunti da tre anni
i tuoi occhi per loro,
ormai buoni per setacciare spiagge
con la scusa del corallo
o per buttarsi in un cinema
con una pietra al collo
e troppo stanchi per non vergognarsi
di confessarlo nei miei
proprio identici ai tuoi
sono riusciti a cambiarci
ci son riusciti lo sai.

Ma senza che gli altri ne sappiano niente
dimmi senza un programma dimmi come ci si sente
continuerai ad ammirarti tanto
da volerti portare al dito
farai l'amore per amore
o per avercelo garantito,
andrai a vivere con Alice
che si fa il whisky distillando fiori
o con un Casanova
che ti promette di presentarti ai genitori
o resterai più semplicemente
dove un attimo vale un altro
senza chiederti come mai,
continuerai a farti scegliere
o finalmente sceglierai.

Verranno a chiederti del nostro amore © 1973 Fabrizio De André/
Giuseppe Bentivoglio/Nicola Piovani


The worker, now incarcerated, writes this letter of farewell to his former fiance. In what has been to this point a completely political album, De André inserts a love song in part because he thought it was too arid and lacking in humanity. The song was written for the woman he was involved with in between his two wives, the same woman for whom "Giugno '73" was composed.



When, before you even know about it, to your amazement
they come to ask you about our love,
to those people consumed with grabbing one's attention,
a love so long,
don’t you give it to them so easily.
Don’t throw your lips open to a snarl of words,
your lips so restrained in the fantasies of love,
after love so secure in taking refuge in the “forevers,”
in the hypocrisy of the “nevers.”
I haven’t managed to change you,
you haven’t changed me, you know.

And off camera they’ll bring a mirror
to make you more beautiful and, thinking I’m old already,
you give them a makeup you never wore with me.
And they'll be astonished
that you weren’t enough for me.
Just tell them that power, I hurled it from my hands
where love wasn’t grown-up,
and I left scratches on your breasts,
to return after love-making
to the caresses of love.
It was easy at the time.
You weren’t able to change me,
I didn’t change you, you know.

Tell them your eyes always came back to me
like flowers bestowed in May, given back in November,
your eyes like returnable containers
for whoever gave you work,
your eyes hired for three years,
your eyes for them,
now good for sifting beaches
under the pretext of cheap red,
or for throwing yourself into a movie
with a stone at your neck,
and too tired to not feel ashamed,
to confess it in mine eyes,
just identical to yours.
They managed to change us,
they managed to, you know.

But without others knowing anything about it,
tell me without a program, tell me what it feels like.
You’ll keep admiring yourself
so much you'll want to wed yourself.
You’ll make love for love’s sake,
or to have it guaranteed.
You’ll go live with Alice,
who makes herself whiskey distilling flowers,
or with a Casanova
who promises to introduce you to his parents,
or you’ll remain more simply
where one moment deserves another,
without asking yourself how come.
You'll continue to make yourself choose,
or finally you will choose.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Nella mia ora di libertà - In My Hour of Freedom

Di respirare la stessa aria
di un secondino non mi va
perciò ho deciso di rinunciare
alla mia ora di libertà
se c'è qualcosa da spartire
tra un prigioniero e il suo piantone
che non sia l'aria di quel cortile
voglio soltanto che sia prigione
che non sia l'aria di quel cortile
voglio soltanto che sia prigione.

È cominciata un'ora prima
e un'ora dopo era già finita
ho visto gente venire sola
e poi insieme verso l'uscita
non mi aspettavo un vostro errore
uomini e donne di tribunale
se fossi stato al vostro posto...
ma al vostro posto non ci so stare
se fossi stato al vostro posto...
ma al vostro posto non ci so stare.

Fuori dell'aula sulla strada
ma in mezzo al fuori anche fuori di là
ho chiesto al meglio della mia faccia
una polemica di dignità
tante le grinte, le ghigne, i musi,
vagli a spiegare che è primavera
e poi lo sanno ma preferiscono
vederla togliere a chi va in galera
e poi lo sanno ma preferiscono
vederla togliere a chi va in galera.

Tante le grinte, le ghigne, i musi,
poche le facce, tra loro lei,
si sta chiedendo tutto in un giorno
si suggerisce, ci giurerei
quel che dirà di me alla gente
quel che dirà ve lo dico io
da un po' di tempo era un po' cambiato
ma non nel dirmi amore mio
da un po' di tempo era un po' cambiato
ma non nel dirmi amore mio.

Certo bisogna farne di strada
da una ginnastica d'obbedienza
fino ad un gesto molto più umano
che ti dia il senso della violenza
però bisogna farne altrettanta
per diventare così coglioni
da non riuscire più a capire
che non ci sono poteri buoni
da non riuscire più a capire
che non ci sono poteri buoni.

E adesso imparo un sacco di cose
in mezzo agli altri vestiti uguali
tranne qual'è il crimine giusto
per non passare da criminali.
Ci hanno insegnato la meraviglia
verso la gente che ruba il pane
ora sappiamo che è un delitto
il non rubare quando si ha fame
ora sappiamo che è un delitto
il non rubare quando si ha fame.

Di respirare la stessa aria
dei secondini non ci va
e abbiamo deciso di imprigionarli
durante l'ora di libertà
venite adesso alla prigione
state a sentire sulla porta
la nostra ultima canzone
che vi ripete un'altra volta
per quanto voi vi crediate assolti
siete per sempre coinvolti.
Per quanto voi vi crediate assolti
siete per sempre coinvolti.

Nella mia ora di libertà © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/
Nicola Piovani


In the final song, the worker realizes that individual protest has little chance of having results against power, and that to change things it's necessary to join with others and to act en masse, as did the students of May 1968 in France.



To breathe the same air
as a prison guard doesn’t work for me.
And so I decided to renounce
my hour of freedom.
If there is something to divide up
between a prisoner and his sentry
that is not the air of that courtyard,
I want it only to be prison,
that is not the air of that courtyard,
I want it only to be prison.

It started an hour before,
and an hour after, it was already finished.
I saw people coming alone
and then together towards the exit.
I wasn’t expecting one of your errors,
men and women of the court.
If I had been in your position . . .
but in your position I don’t know how to be.
If I had been in your position . . .
but in your position I don’t know how to be.

Outside the court room on the streets -
but even further outside of the midst of that outside -
I asked, putting on my best face,
for an argument of dignity.
So many the scowls, the sneers, the mugs -
go to them and explain that it's spring,
and then they know it but prefer
to see it taken away from whoever goes to jail.
And then they know it but prefer
to see it taken away from whoever goes to jail.

So many the scowls, the sneers, the mugs,
few the faces, among them hers,
she's asking everything in a day.
It is suggested, I would swear,
that which she might say about me to people.
What she might say, I say it to all of you:
since a little while ago he had changed a bit,
but not in saying to me "My love."
Since a little while ago he had changed a bit,
but not in saying to me "My love."

Certainly it’s necessary to come a long way
from an exercise of obedience
to a gesture much more human
that gives you a sense of the violence.
But it's necessary to come a long way
to become such assholes,
to no longer be able to understand
that there are no good powers,
to no longer be able to understand
that there are no good powers.

And now I am learning a ton of things
in the midst of the others all dressed alike,
except what is the right crime
for not passing as criminals.
They taught us the wonder
for the people who steal bread.
Now we know that it’s a crime,
not stealing when one is hungry.
Now we know that it’s a crime,
not stealing when one is hungry.

To breathe the same air
as a prison guard doesn’t work for me,
and we decided to imprison them
during the hour of freedom.
Come you all now to the prison,
stay to hear at the door
our final song
that repeats to you one more time:
As much as you believe yourselves absolved,
you're all forever involved.
As much as you believe yourselves absolved,
you are all forever involved.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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