Giorgio Moroder is an acclaimed singer, lyricist, guitarist, and record producer of Italian origin. He is believed to be one of the forerunners of Italo disco; a music genre that originated in Italy in late 70s. Having won three Oscars and four Grammys, Moroder is often credited with being the architect of modern pop music. With millions of record sales and several chartbusters to his credit, Moroder has produced most memorable music in collaboration with vocalist Donna Summer, ‘the queen of pop’. Giorgio’s musical journey started with playing bass and guitar for bands that played pop music. His composition titled ‘Love to Love you Baby’, in collaboration with Pete Bellotte and singer Donna Summer is said to have popularized the disco music worldwide. Apart from private albums, he has also made music for numerous movie tracks that have won him mighty accolades. In a career spanning for more than four decades, he has worked with most of the mighty names in the music industry such as Freddy Mercury, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, Elton John, Cher, Roger Daltrey, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears. Today, even at the ripe age, he is actively engaged in various aspects of music creation. He tours around the globe performing as live DJ. His most recent production was a song titled ‘One More Day’ for a top Korean girl’s band named SISTAR. It was staged live at a music festival in Korea.
Childhood & Early Life
Giovanni Giorgio Moroder was born on 26 April 1940, in Ortisei, Italy. There is not much information about his parents or other family members. However, it is known that they managed an inn in the small town of Ortisei and had three other children as well.
Unlike his siblings who were interested in painting and sculpting, Giorgio, at a very early age showed a deep inclination towards music. He bought his first guitar at the age of 15 and soon sought permission from his parents to pursue music instead of regular schooling.
For years he sang and played music at all kinds of obscure places like restaurants, coffee shops, discotheques. He played bass in the ballrooms. For most of the early 1960s he toured across Europe playing for various music bands. Finally, in the late 1960s, he settled in Germany.
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After moving to Germany, Giorgio spent his time playing music at the Scotch-Club in Aachen; the first ever discotheque in Germany. Later, he moved to Berlin where he composed and sang singles in German, Spanish, Italian, and English languages.
His first major breakthrough came when he moved to Munich 1969. There he wrote and performed the song titled ‘Looky Looky’. The song sold more than a million copies which earned him his first gold disc.
In 1970, he ventured into the business record labels with the name of Oasis Records. Later it merged with the American record label named Casablanca Records.
After venturing into music production, Giorgio along with Pete Bellotte and Michael Holm penned the song ‘Son of my Father’ performed by the UK pop group Chicory tip. This song became the No.1 hit in the UK in the year 1972.
The mid-1970s saw Giorgio produce some of his best works. His album ‘From here to Eternity’ became a big chartbuster in 1977 where three of its songs reached number 2 on the billboards. In the same year, he collaborated with the American queen of disco Donna Summer and co-wrote and produced a hit single ‘I Feel Love’.
In 1978, he composed the Oscar-winning soundtrack ‘Chase’ for the movie Midnight Express. It was a disco instrumental which was later released as a maxi single. This track along with ‘I Feel Love’ is considered as the prelude to the genre of untempo disco, more specifically known as Hi-NRG.
Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Giorgio composed and produced numerous albums both singles as well as in collaboration with singers like Donna Summer, Cher, and David Bowie. His 1979 album ‘E= MC2’ was the first album to use digital recording techniques. During the same time, he also composed the soundtrack for the movies Foxes and American Gigolo.
In 1984, Moroder restored and re-released a silent era film titled ‘Metropolis’. He did so by providing the film with a pop soundtrack which was performed by him as well as a number of other artists. Upon its release, the film met with a mixed response. In the same year, he also composed the title track for the movie ‘Electric Dreams’.
The latter half of the 1980s saw Moroder writing and composing tracks for films such as ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Over the Top’. He composed the theme songs for the Los Angeles Olympics (1984), Seoul Olympics (1988) and FIFA World Cup (1990).
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After the release of his album ‘Forever Dancing’ in 1992, Giorgio took a two-decade break from creating music for albums. During this time although he composed the soundtrack for the documentary film ‘Impressionen unter Wasser’, he primarily concerned himself with remixes.
In 2012, Giorgio returned to composing by creating the theme soundtrack for Google’s Racer and later worked with French Electronic music group Daft Punk for their album ‘Random Access Memory’. This album features a song titled ‘Giorgio by Moroder’ which includes a monologue by Moroder himself.
In the last few years Giorgio has toured extensively, playing his originals from 70s-80s as well as remixes. In 2014, his reworked 1960’s classic ‘Doo Bee Doo’ was used by Volkswagen for Super Bowl commercial.
In 2015 he released, ‘Déjà Vu’, a solo album in collaboration with several artists including Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, and Matthew Koma and performed live for a Korean band in the year 2016.
Giorgio Moroder has produced some of his best work in collaboration with British songwriter Pete Bellotte and American singer Donna Summer. The trio initiated the trend of electronic dance in a series of albums produced in 1976-77. The song ‘I Feel Love’ from the album ‘I Remember Yesterday’ has gained iconic status amongst pop music admirers. Instead of an orchestra, which was the norm, this song was recorded using a Moog Modular 3P synthesizer. The song was not only a huge chartbuster during the disco era but in 2011 it was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.
In the US the song ‘I Feel Love’ reached number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was ranked number 9 on the Soul Singles Chart. In the UK, it became a top chartbuster and maintained its position for four weeks in July 1977. During the same period it also topped the charts in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Ireland and a host of other European countries.
Awards and Achievements
Giorgio Moroder, for his contribution to the world of pop music was inducted to Dance Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony held on 20th September 2004.
Family & Personal Life
In 1990, Giorgio married Francisca Gutierrez and together they have a son named Alex.
In 2017, Giorgio was accused of being part of the financial scam at the bank Hottinger & Cie.
Giorgio pursued several of his hobbies during his decades of hiatus. He co-designed a car which was named Cizeta-Moroder V16T and made his own Cognac. He also had designed pyramid-shaped apartments to be constructed in Dubai; however, the project did not materialize.