Ties to the rhythm of music

Ties to the rhythm of music

Can you name an Italian song in which a tie is mentioned? No? And yet there are so many, and in each one this garment takes on a particular meaning. We have compiled the most "elegant" playlist possible for you.

What do ties have to do with pop music? At first glance, not much. Not many associations come to mind between our favourite item of clothing and the world of music, apart from the flamboyant tie with black and white piano keys invented by the unlikely stylist Mugatu-Will Ferrell in the cult comedy Zoolander. And yet, on closer inspection, there are many points of contact. In the singers' looks, certainly, but also in their lyrics. And scrolling through this elegant songbook, we might discover that the artists have been able to give the tie an unsuspected variety of meanings. So let's put the needle on the turntable and start listening.

A touch of irony

To identify the forefather of all "tie-knot" songs, we have to go back to the 1950s, to a nursery rhyme whose memory was lost for a long time and which has recently been reconstructed thanks to the web. The tie knotThe nursery rhyme, as the title suggests, plays with the most classic of clichés: that of a man who is incapable of tying a knot by himself, so much so that he needs his wife's help. So, in a paradoxical crescendo, the difficulty of tying his own tie is the first of a series of troubles that rain down on the head of the unfortunate protagonist, full of ambition but very clumsy in everyday life.

When it comes to irony, Enzo Jannacci is second to none. And even in the case of his Prendeva il treno, the tie represents a vain attempt to set a tone. Plot: a Milanese worker falls in love with a colleague, but is so ashamed of his humble social status that he makes her think he goes to work every day by train (in reality he has to make do with a bicycle). And in the hope of impressing the woman, the worker "flaunted an Upim tie", the same tie that, sadly, will dangle badly knotted in the last scene of the piece.

The triptych of irony could only end with another champion, Paolo Conte, who in Per ogni cinquantennio, in describing his melancholy protagonists - who participate despite themselves in a demonstration in the streets with a parade and a lawyer's speech - says that "there are certain knots in the tie that have a wife's hand behind them" (adding, maliciously, that "behind every wife there is a lover"). An infallible stroke of the brush.

Customs and traditions

Franco Battiato's words are also dripping with wisdom: in his Venice-Istanbul, the Catanese singer-songwriter observes that 'in the past, ties were worn for parties for aesthetic and social reasons'. The tie as a cultural fact, in short. In this sense, it makes one smile to think that Battiato himself was reprimanded for appearing without a tie at the first assembly of the Sicilian Parliament during his brief experience as councillor for tourism. After all, artists have always been a little allergic to ceremony.

This also explains why some have used this accessory as a negative metaphor, a symbol of excessive formality that puts a brake on freedom. The most critical in this sense seems to be Luca Carboni in his song entitled La cravatta (The Tie). For Pierangelo Bertoli from Sassuolo, on the other hand, the tie is proof of social success, even if this is not synonymous with happiness: in 1967, he recounts that he returned to his father's house after ten years, and that his parent "at first wasn't happy with my behaviour, but I had a tie, so I showed it, dangling under my chin. He looked at it with satisfaction, and then waved at me, and then hugged me".

Luck and seduction

Then there are the singers who are aware that a tie can also be a formidable weapon of seduction. In this case, the most enlightening words are those of Ultraleggero, a song by Gianni Morandi, a sort of manual of the good lover: "When (love) finds you, let him see you well dressed. Appearance is substance: no wrong ties. In the eyes of women, colours are very important'. A formula that recalls the famous "wrong ties" which, according to Paolo Conte, are one of the reasons why few people understood jazz: Sotto le stelle del jazz is another song that reminds us how important it is to choose the right tie for the occasions that deserve it, if you don't want to look out of place.

Before concluding this playlist, it is worth making a few honourable mentions to artists who have also used the tie to better define the characters in their songs: Francesco Guccini in Tango per due, Ivan Graziani in I lupi, the Fabrizio De André-Francesco De Gregori duo in Le storie di ieri, or more recently rapper Fedez in Favorisca i sentimenti, all songs which we leave you the pleasure of discovering.

The official conclusion to this musical roundup, however, goes to a true Neapolitan, Nino D'Angelo, who wrote Senza giacca e cravatta in 1999. The song is about the difficulties faced by a boy of humble origins who dreams of making it big with his music (an evidently autobiographical theme). In one of the song's emotional peaks, D'Angelo sings - in Neapolitan dialect - 'How far I've come to win this fortune, without a jacket and tie'. A way of reminding himself of where he came from and how much he sweated to earn his place in the world.

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