HOW EVERYTHING BEGAN ...

MAURIZIO DE ANGELIS TOGETHER WITH HIS THREE-YEAR OLDER BRUDER GUIDO – THE "OLIVER ONIONS".

Both started at a young age in the orchestra of the RCA, where they were part of the so-called rhythm section. Maurizio played guitar, Guido percussions and flute. At that time, they were in the studio for up to 18 hours a day, appearing in many of RCA's works, including Gianni Morandi, Patty Pravo, Nicola di Bari and Domenico Modugno. Maurizio also played in the recording of the soundtrack of "play me the song of death" in the orchestra of Ennio Morricone, the banjo. With the rhythm section, they made sure that traditional Italian music was influenced by contemporary music culture. They were inspired by Bob Dylon, Simon & Garfunkel or The Byrds. Maurizio also experimented a lot with instruments to increase the sound spectrum. Despite the heavy workload and rather marginal pay, both found the work at RCA very instructive and formative, and they were glad they could make a living from their hobby.

 

The first work as a film composer

At the San Remo Festival in 1970 Maurizio de Angelis arranged for the actor Nino Manfredi the song "Tanto pe 'cantà", which he was to sing at the event. Manfredi was very excited about the arrangement and, although the song was played out of the competition, it became the show's best-selling single. A year later, Nino Manfredi finally gave his directorial debut with Per grazia ricevuta and asked the De Angelis brothers if they would not write the soundtrack for it. The film and the soundtrack were a great success, paving the way for the career of film composers Guido and Maurizio de Angelis.

 


The birth of Oliver Onions
In 1972, the brothers wrote the soundtrack to Two Heavenly Dogs on the Road to Hell, which eventually led to the birth of the vocal duo Oliver Onions. At that time there was a requirement of RCA that the title song "Flying through the air" should have an English text. This text was written by the Ireland-based RCA staff member Susan Duncan Smith, who contributed almost all English lyrics to the De Angelis songs. After the search for an English group to sing the song failed, the two brothers decided to try it for themselves. They had previously sung English songs of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa and so on in a kind of cover band. With the result you were very satisfied and so you needed a stage name. In the name of Oliver Onion, who refers to an English writer of the same name, was also the aforementioned Susan Duncan Smith along with her husband Cesare Di Natale. The decisive factor was that the name was written exactly as it is read and pronounced. With the "founding" of Oliver Onions, the singing career of the brothers began. Thenceforth they had two parallel careers, one as very successful film composer Guido and Maurizio De Angelis and the other as vocal duo Oliver Onions.

 

The collaboration of the brothers

The two brothers describe their cooperation as very good, because they complement each other well. Maurizio is more of a pensive type, brooding over decisions and problems, while Guido is more of a spontaneous type, a doer. For example, Maurizio had doubts about whether to accept the order for their first soundtrack (Per grazia ricevuta) because he was unsure if they would get it done. But Guido was immediately sure of that and ultimately prevailed. Both of them worked on the pieces together, but Maurizio was always a bit more involved in the music, while Guido has also managed many important things around it, such as budget negotiations, schedules or arrangements with the appropriate directors.

 

The biggest successes
Together, they wrote numerous song and film tunes and were thus almost the court composers for the Bud Spencer and Terence Hill films. The most famous of these titles are probably the already mentioned "Flying through the air" (from: Two heavenly dogs on the way to hell, 1973), "Dune Buggy" (from: Two like pitch and brimstone, 1974) and "Bulldozer" (from : They called him Mücke, 1978). But even far from the Bud Spencer and Terence Hill films, they have been very successful. So they had 1977 with "Orzowei" already a number 1 hit in Germany. However, the most successful title of the De Angelis brothers is "Santa Maria", with whom they were placed in the Top 10 of the German charts in 1980, including six weeks even in first place. By the way, they were replaced by the German version of the song, sung by Roland Kaiser, who was able to hold the top five for the following five weeks. In 1976 Roland Kaiser had already made his first single, titled "Free, that means Alone", with the Onions, whose original was released in 1975 under the title "Verde".