The Italian Almanac

Laura Pausini

Italian News - July 1

Many of Italy's biggest pop stars have shaken off their initial skepticism about Live 8 and agreed to perform on the Rome stage of the international anti-poverty rock extravaganza on Saturday. Bob Geldof, who publicly chided Italian stars for their reluctance to appear, has even persuaded Zucchero, one of the few Italians to have a Top 10 hit in Britain, to perform in Rome as well as Paris where he was first scheduled to play

While the Live 8 concert in London is receiving massive media attention, the Italy gig has barely been mentioned on TV and many Romans have no idea why the big stage and lighting rigs are being erected in the ancient chariot racing track. The 1980s popsters Duran Duran and U.S. country star Faith Hill will represent the English-speaking world, but most of the acts are home grown.

Whereas many British and American superstars jumped at the chance to appear in what Geldof touted as an epoch-defining moment for pop, Italian stars have been harder to convince. Vasco Rossi, who like Zucchero has a gravelly rock voice and massive box-office appeal in Italy, pulled out and has so far ignored Geldof's pleas to return. But many local heroes have now confirmed, including Jovanotti, Laura Pausini and Claudio Baglioni.