Vasco Rossi (born February 7, 1952), also known as Vasco or with the nickname Il Blasco, is an Italian singer-songwriter. During his career, he has published 25 albums (not including unofficial releases) and has written over 150 songs, as well as lyrics for other artists. He calls himself a "provoca(u)tore" (an Italian portmanteau for "provoking author") as throughout his career he has been regularly criticized over his choice of lifestyle and the lyrics in his songs.
In 1982, Rossi took part for the first time in the Sanremo Music Festival, performing the song "Vado al massimo" ("I'm taking it to the max"). Here, he once again found himself under the harsh criticism, and came in last place in the festival. In April of the same year the album Vado al Massimo was released. The following year, he reappeared at the Sanremo Music Festival, this time performing “Vita spericolata" (Daredevil Life), probably his most popular song, and finishing in second-to-last place due to his apparent state of intoxication.
The following album, Bollicine ("Little Bubbles"), published in 1983, was his sixth in seven years, and was the album that consecrated him definitively an idol of the new generation and an icon of Italian rock. The title track, whose lyrics are about Coke (but also demonstrate a clear assonance with cocaine), won the Festivalbar ‘83, and his tour that year was an enormous success.
To celebrate this positive period in his career, Rossi released his first live recording in 1984, Va bene, va bene così ("It’s alright, it’s alright this way"). In April, however, he was arrested on charges of drug possession. He was immediately granted provisional release from jail, but subsequently sentenced to 2 years and 8 months of probation. Shortly thereafter he released his next album, Cosa succede in città ("What’s happening in the city"), which became one of his weakest critically and did not reach past sales.
In 1987 Vasco Rossi’s ninth album, C'è chi dice no ("There Are Those Who Say ‘No’"), was released; the ever-increasing numbers of fans showing up to his concerts forced him to quit performing in clubs and normal-sized venues and begin the era of something for which he is known to this day—playing in and selling out big arenas and stadiums.
His tenth studio album, Liberi liberi ("Free free"), followed in 1989. The success of his 1989 tour brought the release of the live album Fronte del palco (a pun of the Italian title of Marlon Brando's film "Waterfront" which was "Fronte del porto", and thus meaning "Stage Front") and the organization of two concerts in 1990, one at the San Siro stadium in Milan and the other at the Flaminio in Rome.
Rossi's next album, Gli spari sopra ("The shots above"), released in 1993, went platinum ten times. The title track, which was a major hit, is a cover version of Celebrate by the Irish band An Emotional Fish. In 1994 he gave the unreleased "Senza Parole" ("Without Words") as a gift to members of his official fan-club.
In 1995, Rossi was again the star at San Siro with a double concert, Rock sotto l'assedio ("Rock under siege"), which protested the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rossi invited a few Bosnian bands like Sikter, Lezi Majmune and Protest to perform but was heavily criticized by the press because the proceeds weren't given to charity, despite the fact they were never meant to.
In 1996, Rossi recorded a new studio album, Nessun Pericolo... Per Te ("No Danger... For You"), featured songs “Sally” and "Gli angeli" ("The Angels"), (the video of the latter was directed by Roman Polanski).
In 1998 Rossi rediscovered his singer-songwriter side, recording and releasing the album Canzoni per me ("Songs for me") with a softer and less “rock” sound, even remaking never-published songs written at the beginning of his career. The nature of the songs, however, did not impede Rossi from winning his second Festivalbar with the song, "Luna per te" ("Moon for you"). Given the low propensity of these songs to fit in his live show with the songs his fans had up to that time become accustomed, he decided to hold just one concert in 1998, accepting the proposal to be a guest star on the first evening of the new Heineken Jammin' Festival in Imola, Italy.
The evening is immortalized in both video and in the 1999 live album Rewind. A few days into the tour, Rossi’s inseparable friend, as well as guitarist and writer/cowriter of many songs and lyrics, Massimo Riva, died unexpectedly. He would be remembered and celebrated by Rossi and fans in nearly every concert that followed.
In 2001, Stupido Hotel ("Stupid Hotel"), was released, and Rossi won his third Festivalbar, this time with the song “Siamo Soli” ("We are alone"). In 2002 Rossi released his first official recording of remastered songs in their original version, Tracks, which was followed by three sold-out performances at San Siro Stadium in Milan. His album Buoni o cattivi ("Good or Bad Ones") was the most successful album in Italy in 2004.
On September 9, 2005, Rossi released the double DVD È solo un Rock'n'Roll show ("It’s Only a Rock’n’Roll Show"), launching the concept of the ‘movieclip,’ in which all the songs from Buoni o cattivi’ are used in a 2-hour long music video. Three months later, Buoni o cattivi live anthology 04.05 was released, a comprehensive box-set comprising a double CD and a triple DVD, recorded live from the record-setting Buoni o cattivi tour of 2004 and 2005. In December 2005 he returned to Zocca, the town of his birth, where his childhood friends and the rest of the community organized a tribute in his honor, including a photo display and other celebrations.
In 2007, he released the "Vasco Extended Play", that contains the hit single "Basta Poco" ("A Little Is Enough"). The EP topped the Italian FIMI Charts for 21 Weeks, making that the Italian best-selling single of 2007 thus far.
In late 2009, SingStar Vasco Rossi was released.
On 4 May 2010 the "Corriere della Sera" reported Vasco Rossi as saying the American and British governments had been responsible for preventing him and other Italian musicians from becoming known in those countries. “Just as Bob Dylan was banned from playing in China, for 20 years I was barred from London. … It’s one of the many ‘presents’ that America left us after World War II. To favour the sale of American and British music to Italy and discourage the export of our talents abroad.”
In June 2011 Rossi announced he would be retiring from touring and live work although would continue to work in the music business.
During 2011, Vasco's lawyers threatened to undertake legal actions against popular Italian satire website "Nonciclopedia", the italian version of Uncyclopedia, arguing that the rock star was offended by the contents of the page about him. On October 3rd 2011 the website shut down after repeated inquiries from the police to the site's admins. The news promptly ran across the web via thousands of tweets, blogposts and eventually spread on some Italian newspapers.