Righeira – Vamos A La Playa
We know them, and we expect them. There is an entire industry living on this: summer hits. There are radio and record companies that base their entire production, or at least the most important part, on the fact that certain artists come out at the beginning of summer with the right song to become a smash. Getting the moment right is perhaps the hardest thing: if it comes out too early, the song will then be replaced by something else in the hottest period. If it comes out too late, it remains an unfinished catchphrase. Let’s say that if there is a summer music festival it is advisable to enter it quickly in order to take advantage of these fundamental shows.
Today, the summer smash is created with a formula. Danceable, obviously, easy to sing, necessarily with a part of the chorus ready to be sung all together. Words? There must be something in Spanish, the language of summer, but simple Spanish, a hundred words at the most. Video? Not that important. People have to hear it on the beaches, on the radios of bars in seaside resorts, and they have to dance it in discos, but they are not expected to see it on their bedroom tv. Of course, there is a video, but it is not the most important part, it will be useful to relive emotions in autumn, by watching it on youtube. Topic? Let’s say, something that has to do with: summer, holidays, sun, fun, sea, beach, travel, friends, love. Yes, summer smashes are not love songs, and how could they be, if we have to forget everything during holidays and turn ourselves into fun machines? At best we can just talk about the classic summer instant love.
Summer smashes are often associated with the idea of a catchphrase, which was well known in theater and cabaret, it was the classic phrase repeated to exhaustion that generated hilarity, but in music it was an unknown concept, until early July 1983, when the first real summer hit of the 80s (and perhaps, of all modern music) entered the charts with a perfect catchprase. There had been an attempt at a smash in 1982, when the Germans Trio recorded Da Da Da. It wasn’t a summer smash, but it was certainly a draft of a smash.
So what happens in 1983? Two boys from Turin, Stefano Righi and Stefano Rota, gave themselves a Spanish stage name, Righeira (stage names: Johnson and Michael Righeira), and together with the La Bionda brothers started producing music for a young audience, that wanted to have fun. Warning: do not think that the music of summer smashes is bad! At the opposite, it is absolutely irresistible, surrounding and captivating, and after all it must make us dance, often with additional faboulous electronic sounds (and today also by the auto tune).
It must be said that the La Bionda brothers can be considered the fathers of the whole Italo-Disco, since in 1980 their One for you, one for me literally opened the dance bringing disco-music to Italy.
Vamos a la Playa was born from this collaboration. The summer smash par excellence. The summer hit of an entire generation, at least in southern Europe. Warning: do not think that Righeira were trivial or improvised guys! Far from it! Just read or see some interviews with Johnson Righeira (Stefano Righi), to understand, despite the youth, the depth and talent of the characters, who also had their ups and downs in life like everyone else, but were really able, first in the world, to read a trend, and in some sense they have influenced summer smashes up to the present day.
Vamos a la Playa is somehow a deep song. Versions were made in Italian and Spanish, but it is a fact that even in Italy the Spanish version became predominant. After all, the Spanish language is one of the requirements of the summer smashes. The song talks about one of the great topics of the 80s: the fear of the nuclear apocalypse. Yes, the same fear that had inspired Nena’s 99 Luftballons, that led Duran Duran to say “You’re about as easy as a nuclear war” in Is there something I should know? and two years later will reach the top with Sting’s Russians.
Righeira invite us to the beach after the bomb explodes. Radiation burns and tans blue. No more fish, water is now fluorescent, but who cares, colors are beautiful and a sombrero hat will protect us from the radioactive wind. Not really a song about love and friends!
In short, the 80s are apparently long over, the bomb fortunately never exploded (but there was Chernobyl), and many years have passed, but it is a fact that throughout Europe the arrival of summer is marked musically from the proliferation of songs stemming from Righeira’s brilliant intuition. And all dinosaurs but absolutely all, innediately start to remember of Vamos a la Playa. Oh, oh oh oh oh!
Righeira on Wikipedia