Video

‘You want to be American’!

A tongue-in-cheek, Neapolitan language song written by Renato Carosone in the late 1950s, Tu vuò fà l’americano is about a young wannabee who affects a contemporary American life style (sharp clothes, whisky and soda, rock-and-roll, baseball and Camel cigarettes) but who relies on his parents for money.  Seen as a satire on the process of Americanisation in post-war Italy, the lyrics most damningly accuse: ‘How can your girl friend understand you, if you speak to her in half American when you make love under the moon.  Where do you get off saying ‘I love you?’

Sung famously, in English, by Sophia Loren in ‘It Started in Naples‘, and also appearing in the Talented Mr Ripley, lyrics in both Neapolitan and English are below.

Puorte o’ calzone cu ‘nu stemma arreto ‘na cuppulella cu ‘a visiera alzata. Passe scampanianno pe’ Tuleto camme a ‘nu guappo pe’ te fa guardà!

Tu vuò fa l’ americano!
mmericano! mmericano
siente a me, chi t’ ho fa fa?tu vuoi vivere alla moda
ma se bevi ‘whisky and soda’
po’ te sente ‘e disturbà.

Tu abballe ‘o roccorol
tu giochi al basebal ‘
ma ‘e solde pe’ Camel
chi te li dà? …
La borsetta di mammà!

Tu vuò fa l’ americano
mmericano! mmericano!
ma si nato in Italy!
siente a mme
non ce sta’ niente a ffa
o kay, napolitan!

Tu vuò fa l’ american!
Tu vuò fa l’ american!

Comme te po’ capì chi te vò bene
si tu le parle ‘mmiezzo americano?
Quando se fa l ‘ammore sotto ‘a luna
come te vene ‘capa e di:”I love you!?”

Tu vuò fa l’ americano
mmericano! mmericano
siente a me, chi t’ho fa fa?
tu vuoi vivere alla moda

Repeats

You’re wearing trousers with a tag on the back and a cap with the visor turned up, parading along Toledo like a gangster trying to show off.

You’re acting all American,
American, American,
listen here: who’s asking you to?You want to be all trendy,
but if you drink ‘whisky and soda’
you always end up sick!

You’re dancing rock and roll,
and playing baseball,
but where’d you get the money
for the Camel cigarettes?
Mummy’s handbag!

You’re acting all American,
American, American,
but you’re born in Italy, listen here:
there’s nothing you can do,
ok napoletano?!

You’re acting all American,
American, american,

How can your girlfriend understand you
if you’re speaking half American?
When you’re making loving under the moon,
Where do you get off saying ‘I love you?

You’re acting all American,
American, American,
listen here: who’s asking you to?
You want to be all trendy

Repeats

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