PFM - Premiata Forneria Marconi
An Introduction To PFM: Premiata Forneria Marconi
When it comes to Italian Progressive Rock Music, one of the best known bands is Premiata Forneria Marconi. Their music began as a blend of Italian Classical and Folk Music, mixed with the Progressive Rock sounds of the 1970s. from Genesis, Yes, and Emerson Lake And Palmer.
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) are one of Italy's most influential progressive rock bands. They were formed in the 1960s, achieved worldwide success in the 70's, and made comebacks with a world tour in 2002. Their music is as relevant today as it ever was, and they are playing better than ever.
In my opinion, the arrangements of many of the songs on their 2002 Live In Japan double CD are the best ever, better than the originals.
The band's name comes from "Premiata" meaning "Number One" and "Forneria Marconi", which was a bakery in Chiari, a small town near Brescia in italy.
PFM gained recognition in the early days as a support band to other well known bands touring Italy at the time, like Procol Harum, Yes and Deep Purple.
The founding members of the band, Franz Di Cioccio, Franco Mussida, Flavio Premoli and Mauro Pagani are still the driving force behind this legend.
You are invited to discover their discography, listen and watch clips from some of their more well known songs, and if you like what you hear/see, I strongly recommend Live In Japan either as a 2-CD set or on DVD. This is the best PFM CD I have heard yet. The concert is great - I added several clips from You Tube on this page so you can get a feel for their unique musical style.
PFM CD's from Amazon
The Story Of PFM - The 1960s
In the late 1960s, the success of a band in Italy depended normally on light songs, which were often covers of American or English hits and with Italian lyrics that were often very different to the original. Like today, a band also had to have a handsome singer to please the female audience and a repertoire of catchy songs.
Franz Di Cioccio, Franco Mussida, Flavio Premoli and Giorgio Piazza with their band I Quelli (Them), were different than any other band. They broke the mold by having all the members singing in turn and they were passionate about their performance both in the studio and before a live audience.
The band was used by some of the most important Italian artists at that time. They were even invited to record the musical basis for other successful bands. I Quelli's records sold fairly well, but they were best known in the Italian music world as talented session musicians.
Their fortune started at the end of the sixties, the fading of the most successful bands coinciding with the advent of progressive music. This new musical style incorporating fragments of classical, jazz, pop and rock generated an interesting melting pot of ideas where a musician could be uniquely creative.
It was at this point that things started to change for the band. They become "The Krell" as recording artists, but for live concerts they were still "I Quelli". One evening in the summer of 1969 while they were playing at "Paradise" club, close to Brescia, a friend told them about a violin and flute player whose expression was very close to rock style. His name was Mauro Pagani. At that time Mauro was performing with another band, but he decided to quit them immediately and joined I Quelli. It was really love at first "sound".
The band continued to perform in dance halls, but they felt a growing wish to find a new direction and to better integrate Mauro. They needed new ideas and started doing covers of other bands, such as Chicago, King Crimson and Jethro Tull. The metamorphosis had begun.
I Quelli continued as session musicians, then in 1970 something unusual happened. Franz Di Cioccio was "lent" to another recording company, Equipe 84 because it was being re-launched and they were competing with another company at the San Remo Festival. They needed a drummer for eight months and the Krell/Quelli needed to change their record company. By lending Di Cioccio the Krell/Quelli got free from the contract with their old recording company. They left Ricordi to follow other dissidents who wanted to found a new record company: Numero Uno (Number One).
The opportunity to debut in the progressive current came during 1970 San Remo Festival. I Quelli/Krell were booked by the "Whisky Club" to perform some alternative music in a town that was invaded by light songs. "Please, no commercial music, only pop music transgressive energy" was the customer's wish. During the transfer Di Cioccio's part as "lent" musician became twofold. From 8 PM to 11PM he performed, well dressed-up, live on TV from the Casino dance hall. Later he joined his friends at the Club, changing clothes and musical current, becoming an instinctive, sweaty rhythm machine. I Quelli's repertoire was perfect, mainly covers of different songs from the most trendy foreign bands. Every evening the Club was packed; everybody wanted to listen to the performance of the band that used to do unbelievable things. I Quelli were convinced that was the road to success.
PFM Discography - The 1960s
Via Con Il Vento
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL 10-409 .
Una Bambolina Che Fa No No No
Non Ci Saro' (I can let go)
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL 10-443
Per Vivere Insieme (Happy tougeter)
La Ragazza Ta Ta Ta
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL 10-459
Tornare Banbino (Hole in my shoe)
Questa Citta Senza The (Even the bad times are good)
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL 10-479
Mi Sentivo Strano
Dettato al Capello
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL 10-502
Lacrime E Pioggia(Rain and tears)
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL 10-525
Dietro al Sole
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL 10-590
LP Dischi Ricordi SMRP 9053 (Italy, jul. 69)
LP Dischi Ricordi ORL 8185 (Italy, feb 78)
CD Dischi Ricordi OR 8185 (Italy, 9-)
Finche Le Braccia Diventino Ali
E il Mondo Cade Giu
Single Dischi Ricordi SRL I Krel (ex Quelli).
The Story Of PFM - The 1970s
Immediately after the San Remo experience "I Quelli" signed a new contract with "Number One". They also decided to change their name, because they wanted to completely break with the past.
The new name had to be different from the other bands of the time to help make them different. This was not an easy task.
After many days spent trying to come up with an idea for a name, they finally narrowed it down to either Isotta Fraschini or Forneria Marconi. Finally they chose the second name, adding "Premiata", which means "Awarded".
At "Numero Uno" they were told their name was too long, but their philosophy was clear: if the name was difficult to remember, it would also be difficult to forget. Their philosophy won. This original choice was the right one, because it gave rise to a new trend in Italian bands names.
With a new name, a strong desire for success, determination and a new compliment of songs were all in place for their new beginning. PFM just needed to be discovered by the music world.
At that time Franco Mamone and Francesco Sanavio were the two most important promoters in Italy. They were both aware that times were changing and started to promote the best known foreign bands of the day.
Franco Mamone become PFM's manager and because of this PFM started to perform live shows as special guests. They started with Procol Harum, then with YES and also for the most important band of that time: Deep Purple.
Times were changing from the dancehall era, and live festivals were taking place everywhere (Woodstock, Isle of Wight etc). In the summer of 1971 the first "Vanguard and New Trends Festival" was held in Viareggio. This was the most important Italian live festival of the year, where all the new Italian bands were invited to perform.
The Festival rules asked every participant to perform an unpublished song. Franco Mussida, who was used to composing since the beginning of his musical career, composed "La Carrozza di Hans" (Hans' coach). He composed it mentally while he was driving from Turin to Milan. The song was arranged and prepared for the Festival.
At Viareggio Festival everybody were surprised by PFM's memorable performance which started by an electrical and involving "overture", then Mussida took his classic guitar and made people fly in Hans' story (Hans is a merchant who sells dreams) by his sweet arpeggios. The audience was astonished. PFM achieved success and won the Festival in equal worth with Mia Martini and Osanna.
After the first single, Impressioni Di Settembre, and then La Carrozza Di Hans, PFM recorded its first LP "Storia di un Minuto" (The story of one minute), which was recorded live in the studio, because they wanted to transfer on their LP the peculiar energy and immediacy of their music.
This LP was a success and PFM's members decided to go back to the studios and record the second LP. With an orientation towards Europe, the second LP "Per Un Amico" (For a Friend) sounded different, maybe more international than the first one.
What happened later confirmed that it was really "more international". On December 20th 1972, Greg Lake saw their showcase in Rome, at PalaEur. He invited them to visit the Manticore (Emerson, Lake & Palmer Record Company) in London where they also met Pete Sinfield, King Crimson's poet.
PFM Discography - The 1970s
Impressioni Di Settembre
La Carrozza Di Hans
Single - Numero Uno, ZN 50126 (Italy, 71)
Storia di un Minuto
LP - Numero Uno, ZSLN 55055 (Italy, jan. 72)
CD - Great Expectations, PIPCD 011 (UK,-)
CD - Crime/King, K32Y2180 (Japan, 88)
CD - RCA/BMG, ND 74059 (Italy, 89)
CD - RCA/BMG, V.130.006 (Brazil, 90)
CD - Si-Wan Records, SRMC1009 (Korea, 9-)
Per Un Amico
LP - Numero Uno, DZSLN 55155 (Italy, nov. 72)
LP - RCA/BMG Ariola, 104.7081 (Brasil, 72)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, ND 71784 (Italy 89)
CD - Si-Wan Records, SRMC1010 (Korea, 9-)
Photos of Ghosts
LP - Manticore/WEA, K43502 (UK, 73)
LP - Numero Uno, ZSLN 55661 (Italy, 73)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, ND 71785 (Italy, 89)
CD - Great Expectations, PIPCD 010 (France,-)
L'Isola di Niente
LP - Numero Uno, DZSLN 55666 (Italy, 74)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, ND 71782 (Italy, 89)
CD - King Records, KICP89 (Japan, 91)
LP - Si Wan Records, SRML 1014 (Korea, 9-)
Dolcissima Maria - Via Lumiere
Single - Numero Uno, ZN 50326 (Italy, 74)
The World Became the World
LP - Manticore/WEA K53502 (UK, 74)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, 74321 497952 (Italy, 97)
LP - Atlantic MC66673 (USA, 74)
LP - Ariola 87816 IT (Germany, 74)
LP - Numero Uno, ZSLN 55669 (Italy, 74)
The World Became the World
La Carrozza Di Hans
Single - Manticore, AT 13268 (Germany, 74)
Live in USA (also issued as: Cook)
LP - Numero Uno, DZSLN 55676 (Italy, 74)
LP - Manticore, K 53506 (UK, 74)
LP - Manticore, MA 6502S1 (USA, 74)
LP - RCA/BMG Ariola, 104.7059 (Brasil, 77)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, ND 71838 (Italy, 89)
The Award-Winning Premiata Bakery
LP - Cosmos, CCLPS 9014 (USA, 76)
LP - Numero Uno, ZSLN 55684 (Italy, 76)
LP - Manticore, K 7E1071 (UK, 76)
LP - Manticore, MC 53508 (USA, 76)
LP - Asilum, 7 E 1071 (USA, 76)
LP - RCA/BMG Ariola, 104.7053 (Brasil, 76)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, ND 71781 (Italy, 89)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, V 130.007 (Brasil, 91)
Chocolate Kings - Harlequin
Single - Numero Uno, ZN 50342 (Italy, 75)
LP - Zoo, ZPLZ 34008 (Italy, 77)
LP - Manticore Records, K 53511 (UK, 77)
LP - Manticore Records, 28 864 XOT (Germany, 77)
LP - Asilum Record, 7 E 1101 (USA,77)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, ND 75244 (Italy, 89)
LP - Numero Uno, ZPLN 34032 (Italy, 78)
LP - Zoo, ZPLZ 34032 (Italy, 78)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, ND 75245 (Italy, 91)
Fabrizio De Andre' / PFM - In Concerto Vol 1
Fabrizio De Andre' / PFM - In Concerto Vol 2
LP - Dischi Ricordi SMRL 6244 (Italy, ott. 79)
CD - Dischi Ricordi MRL 6244 (Italy, 1979)
CD - Dischi Ricordi / BMG MRL 6489 (Italy, 1989)
CD - Dischi Ricordi OR 8431 (Italy, 1980)
CD - Dischi Ricordi MRL 6490 (Italy, -)
PFM CD's On eBay
PFM CD's and DVD's are not that easy to find - but you can usually find most of them on eBay. This is where I bought all my CD's of theirs.
I highly recommend their Live In Japan 2002 and Live In The USA.
The Story Of PFM - The 1980s
PFM Discography - The 1980s
LP - Numero Uno, ZPLN 34092 (Italy, 80)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, 74321 100812I (Italy, 88)
Come Ti Va in Riva alla CittÃ
LP - Numero Uno, ZPLN 34140 (Italy, 81)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, 74321 100802 (Italy, 91)
Come Ti Va'
Chi Ha Paura della Notte?
Single - Numero Uno, ZBN 7229 (Italy, 81)
LP-Dischi Numero Uno,ZPLN34161(2)(2LPs, Italy,82)
CD - RCA/BMG Ariola, 74321 100822 (Italy, 91)
LP - Dischi Numero Uno, ZL 70442 (Italy, 84)
LP - Dischi Ricordi S.p.A., SMRL 6372 (Italy, 87)
CD - Dischi Ricordi S.p.A.,. MRL 6372 (Italy, 87)
CD - BMG/Ricordi, 74321441552 (Italy, 96)
The Story Of PFM - The 1990s
PFM Discography - The 1990s
10 Anni Live - 1971-1981
Absolute live - 1971 - 1978
CD - RTI Music, RTI 0217-2 (Italy, 96)
CD - King Records KICP 2829-2832 (Japan, 96)
LP - RTI Music, RTI 1146-1, (Italy, 97)
CD - RTI Music, RTI 1146-2, (Italy, 97)
www.pfmpfm.it (il Best)
CD - RTI Music, RTI 92002 (Italy, 98)
Double CD Recorder Live in Rome and Naples Jan 1998
The Story Of PFM - A New Millennium
PFM Discography - The 2000s
CD Label: S4/SonyMusic 498901 2
MC Label: S4/SonyMusic 498901 4
MD Label: S4/SonyMusic 4989018
Live in Japan 2002
2CD - SonyMusic 505106 2
DVD - SonyMusic 201530 9
Piazza Del Campo 2004
CD Label: Aereostella/SonyMusic 519436 2
CD+DVD: Aereostella/Sonymusic 519436 7
CD Label: SonyMusic 82876 723062
Stati Di Immaginazione 2006
Sony (88697026489) 2006 CD + DVD
PFM Band Members
** under construction **
PFM VIDEO CLIP - Celebration (Live TV 1974)
PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi) - Impressioni Di Settembre - (Live in Japan 2002)
PFM - Dove... Quando - (Live in Japan 2002)
PFM - Rain Birth/River of Life - (Live in Japan 2002)
Have you seen them in concert? Your favourite CD / track? etc... or just leave a comment about this lens.