"Poppa Piccolino" was a song recorded by Diana Decker which reached number 2 on the UK singles chart in December 1953. It was the only UK hit single for this British-based American-born singer and actress. It was later also recorded by Petula Clark and Mantovani.
The original 1952 Italian lyrics had the title "Papaveri e papere" (translation "Poppies and Ducks") and were written by Mario Panzeri and Giuseppe Rastelli with music by Vittorio Mascheroni. The song was an Italian hit for singer Nilla Pizzi. The cheerful lyrics hide a political satire about inequalities between rich and poor. It came in second place at the Sanremo Music Festival in 1952. It went on to be a worldwide hit, has been translated into forty languages, and inspired the title of a movie with Walter Chiari.
English lyrics were by Bob Musel and the song was published by Chappell's of London. The lyrics lose the original meaning, changing the piece into a song about a wandering musician. They tell the story of a much loved Italian concertina-playing vagabond who wanders from town to town with a monkey who collects money from the audience. One day he loses his concertina and becomes very sad. His little monkey finds it and joy is restored to all.
Opening verse and chorus
All over Italy they know his concertina
Poppa Piccolino, Poppa Piccolino,
He plays so prettily to every signorina
Poppa Piccolino from sunny Italy
- Poppa Piccolino at World Cat music editions.
- Poppa Piccolino details at second hand songs.
- Dictionary of Italian Song (Il dizionario della canzone italiana), by Gino Castaldo and various authors , editor Armando Curcio under Mario Panzeri and Enzo Giannelli (published by Curcio , 1990 ) , p. 1,279 ISBN 8897508316
- Papaveri e Papere at L'enciclopedia di Sanremo: 55 anni di storia del festival dalla A alla Z, Gremese Editore, 2005 ISBN 8884403790 pages 92, 75, 116, 129, 229, 165, 154, 251, 156, 121
- Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 294. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.