Italian singer and actress Rita Pavone’s first English-language album, The International Teen-age Sensation, has recently been reissued by Real Gone Music. The album was first issued in 1964, back when the singer was, in fact, still a teenager. The liner notes by Bill Dahl tell the tale of this dramatic singer and how she brought her then-recent international fame to American audiences.
The original 12 tracks are supplemented by one bonus track, “Heart (I Hear You Beat).” That’s an English-language version of what the liner notes say is her signature song, “Cuore,” a very big international hit prior to the release of Teen-age Sensation. I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard of Pavone prior to checking out this reissue. Her music (on this album, at least) is mostly middle-of-the-road, early ‘60s pop. Some of it really requires quite a sweet tooth for that period, such as the sickly ballad “The Boy Most Likely to Succeed.”
Pavone’s voice is pretty easy on the ears though, despite a noticeably heavy Italian accent. Some of the arrangements here are kind of quirky, with jaunty horns and backing vocals, which keep the album mildly unpredictable. She really throws a lot of gusto into some of her vocals, including “Big Deal” and the album-opening hit single “Remember Me.” Would I go so far as agreeing with the press release claim that the latter song is “almost punk rock?” Nah, I’d draw the line there—but it is a pretty cool song with a very strong lead vocal.
Unless you’re an established Rita Pavone enthusiast, The International Teen-age Sensation is a try-before-you-buy kind of album. I recommend sampling the tracks arranged by Teacho Wiltshire, “Remember Me,” “Big Deal,” “Kissin’ Time,” and “Just Once More.” If you dig those, this might be the album for you. Pavone is still recording and performing to this day. For more information about her, visit her official website.