Tuesday, December 09, 2014

MANGO! Italian singer suffers fatal heart attack on stage

No, not THAT "Mango."

THIS Mango:

Most Americans only know of "Mango" the strange cabaret dancer in the pink beret and gold hotpants (played by Chris Kattan on "Saturday Night Live.") "Mango" was overtly gay and creepily given to the kind of pouts and hip-thrusts even Carmen Miranda only used sparingly, but that was the gag. The horrible "Mango" somehow brought out the latent homosexuality in Garth Brooks and other guest hosts, and the heart-broken cry of "Mango!" had audiences roaring with laughter.

No doubt there was a heart-broken cry of "Mango!" when Giuseppe Mango collapsed while performing one of his biggest hits, "Oro."

The Italian pop star (November 6, 1954-December 7, 2014) suffered the "romantic" death many singers hoped: on stage in front of an audience. It's just that he probably didn't want it to happen when he was just 60. An Orbison-type (Roy's heart attack came even earlier, at age 52), Mango enthralled audiences with an unusual voice that could stretch into the higher registers. In the tasteless 80's, some of his pop videos were pretty remarkable for a certain garish, Fellini-esque quality of color and symbolism (like black smoke wafting over a cheesy day-glo dump filled with peculiar looking objects.

Mango's first album was released in 1976, and several of his songs were covered the better-known Italian singer Patty Pravo. The buzz for Mango continued through the next ten years, with "Oro" topping the chats in 1986. Like most Italian pop singers, he was more popular in his native country than in the U.K. or U.S.A., where it's always rare for a foreign language single to get any play at all. The enduring Mr. Mango stayed fresh through 1992 (when he released "Come L'Acqua") and he capped another ten years with "Disincanto" in 2002, and nearly ten years later, he released "La Terra Degli Acuiloni." This 2011 album turned out to be his last.