Nel blu dipinto di blu, popularly known as Volare, is a song recorded by Italian singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno. Written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, it was released as a single on 1 February 1958. Winning the eighth Sanremo Music Festival, the song was chosen as the Italian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958 and it spent five non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in August and September 1958 and was Billboards number-one single for the year. Modugnos recording subsequently became the first Grammy winner for Record of the Year, the song was later translated in several languages and it was recorded by a wide range of performers. Franco Migliacci started working on the lyrics of the song in June 1957 and he had planned to go to the sea with Domenico Modugno, but while waiting for Modugno to show up, Migliacci started drinking wine and eventually fell asleep. He had vivid dreams, and when he woke up, he looked at the Chagall paintings on the wall, in Le coq rouge was a yellow man suspended in midair, while in Le peintre et la modelle, half the painters face was coloured blue. So he started penning a song about a man who dreams of painting himself blue, later that same night, Migliacci discussed his lyrics with Modugno, and for several days they worked on the song, tentatively entitled Sogno in blu. The song is a ballad in a dramatic style, in which Modugno describes the feeling he has. The song opens with a prelude which the cover versions often left out. Mi dipingevo le mani e la faccia di blu, poi dimprovviso venivo dal vento rapito, the English lyrics were written by Mitchell Parish. Alternative English lyrics were written in 1958 by Dame Gracie Fields and she often changed the words to suit her performance and age. In 1958, the participated in the selection process for the eighth Sanremo Music Festival. The jury charged with selecting the entries to the competition was going to reject Nel blu dipinto di blu, on 31 January 1958, the song was performed for the first time, during the second night of the eighth Sanremo Music Festival, by Domenico Modugno and Johnny Dorelli. It was Dorellis first appearance on the Sanremo Music Festival, according to his team-partner, Dorelli was so nervous that he had to be punched by Modugno to be persuaded to perform on the stage. Dorellis performance didnt have a big impact on the audience, while Modugnos is now considered to be the event which changed the history of Italian music, during his performance, Modugno opened his arms, as if he was going to fly. Following the first place at the Sanremo Music Festival, the song was chosen to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 1958, Domenico Modugno was chosen as the singer. The song was performed first on the night, preceding the Netherlands Corry Brokken with Heel de wereld. Due to a fault, the song was not heard in all countries transmitting the event, so it was performed at the end as well
Franco Migliacci (left) and Alberto Semprini (right) worked on "Nel blu dipinto di blu" as songwriter and orchestra conductor, respectively.
Dean Martin was one of the first artists to cover the song.