The song Caruso simply tells about the pain and longings of a man who is about to die while he is looking into the eyes of a girl who was very dear to him. Lucio Dalla told the origin and the meaning of the song in an interview.
He stopped by the coastal town of Sorrento and stayed in the Excelsior Vittoria Hotel, coincidentally in the very same room where many years earlier the tenor Enrico Caruso spent some time shortly before dying.
Dalla was inspired to write the song after the owners told him about the last days of Caruso and in particular the latter’s passion for one of his young female students.
Enrico Caruso was an acclaimed Italian opera singer who was one of the greatest and most sought-after singers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Unfortunately he lived a very difficult and rather unhappy life, having had many challenges and problems. He was often involved with women, and had several Love affairs with prominent married women in the performing arts, which often ended badly.
His longest and most passionate Love affair was with the married Ada Giachetti, with whom he had two sons. It ended when she left him for their chauffeur.
Guardò negli occhi la ragazza quegli occhi verdi come il mare
He looked into the eyes of the girl, those eyes as green as the sea
Poi all’improvviso uscì una lacrima e lui credette di affogare
But then, a tear fell, and he believed he was drowning
Sorrento is referred to as Surriento, which is the name in the Neapolitan dialect. It refers to Caruso’s frequent visits to the seaside town and its Excelsior Vittoria Hotel. Lucio Dalla‘s official video of the song was filmed in the ‘Caruso Suite’ at the Excelsior Vittoria Hotel.
Te voglio bene assaje
I love you very much
ma tanto tanto bene sai
very, very much, you know
è una catena ormai
It is a chain by now
che scioglie il sangue dint’e vene sai…
that heats the blood inside of our veins, you know …