Gazebo – Masterpiece
I don’t know if it is easier to be a citizen of the world today than in the 80s. Apparently, I’d say so, because it is certainly easier to fly, to get in touch quickly with anyone, to learn languages, to study abroad, and companies are often multinationals. But in every decade we had stories of people or artists who really embody so many cultures and experiences, that it is difficult to connect them to a single nationality.
If I think of the most recent artists, Mika certainly comes to mind: his country of adoption is Italy but he has so many life experiences in various countries and so much culture that he is really a citizen of the world, and for example, he was the ideal presenter for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022.
In the 80s there were quite a few citizens of the world, but we had a fabulous example in front of us without even knowing it. Son of an Italian diplomat and an American singer, born in Asia, he lived in Jordan, Denmark, France, before settling in Rome. He speaks natural English (and this helped him so much in his career!) and certainly several other languages. With this cultural background, our man has been able to become a true symbol of Italo-disco throughout Europe. Ironically, he was born in the same city as Mika: Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.
You have surely understood that today we celebrate the raise, in 1982, of a song and a beloved artist who really represented the 80s: Paul Mazzolini, also know as Gazebo. Do you remember Gazebo? If you lived through the early 1980s, you certainly do!
The good Paul, according to what he tells on his website, at the end of the 70s, about the age of eighteen, nineteen, goes to London to get to know the new wave scene, fascinated by groups such as Ultravox or The Human League, even before their great hits like Vienna or Don’t You Want Me. He goes to the hub of London’s new wave, that Blitz Club in Covent Garden, where Steve Strange and Rusty Egan of Visage were hosts even before the success of Fade to Grey, and where he will have the opportunity to meet the so-called generation of Blitz Kids, the future icons of English pop: Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Boy George, just at the moment when the new wave was turning into new romantic.
Back from the trip Paul calls a friend musician who is in the military, Pierluigi Giombini, and in one of his leave days they start working on a record, following a musical idea by Giombini, on which they poured the suggestions of a film seen by Paul, Sunset Boulevard.
After a series of unsuccessful attempts to find a producer, Paul calls a friend DJ, Paolo Micioni, to ask for some advice, and against all odds he finds the producer he was looking for. Since Paul is an English speaker and above all sings in English, they decide to hide any trace of Italianness. Pierluigi Giombini’s name becomes John Bini, and a stage name is also needed for the good Paul Mazzolini.
So on the spot he decides to use a word of the song’s lyrics (but we can hear it only in the extended mix of the song), which in turn was inspired by another American film with Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds, The Gazebo. And so, the king of italo disco was born, and so was born his masterpiece, that is of course, Masterpiece. Even the word masterpiece had been found by chance while the two authors experimented with music and words, but the two agreed that it sounded really good.
From that moment, the history of Masterpiece and the history of Gazebo became the history of the 80s and of Italo-disco. The song had an ever-increasing success starting from the summer of 1982 until in the second half of October it entered the hit-parade and from there Gazebo became a recurrent guest of all music tv shows.
The song has a fascinating lyrics, but I suspect that it doesn’t tell a story with a happy ending: at the end of a birthday party where old friends met, where they drank and danced (lyrics talk about French wine and too much tango), after greeting his friends the protagonist finds himself in his Rolls-Royce, but suddenly his sight obscures, memories drift the air, and at the end there is an enigmatic phrase, you’re a star up there, which makes me think of a tragic ending, but I wouldn’t want to be too pessimistic.
In 1982 Masterpiece needed a video, and Gazebo flew back to London to shoot a video with electronic new wave effects. I don’t know what happened to that video, honestly, and if it’s the version we see. Certainly there is another version, made of vintage images that go back to the Belle Epoque, but I am convinced that version was shot much later, maybe for some remastering of the song: even the audio track is in fact slightly different from the original 1982 version.
Masterpiece has really made to all charts in Europe, and has allowed Gazebo to have a success that has gone beyond the borders of nations but also of time, given the affection he still receives today. A true citizen of the world … and of the italo-disco world!
Gazebo on Wikipedia