Raffaella Carrà: the Italian pop star who taught Europe the joy of sex


Angelica Frey

A new jukebox musical of Carrà’s songs caps a 60-year career for a cultural icon who revolutionised Italian entertainment – and gave women agency in the bedroom

At the beginning of Explota Explota, a new Spanish-Italian jukebox musical comedy set at the tail end of the Franco dictatorship in 1970s Spain, airport employee Maria is making a delivery at a TV studio when she catches the attention of Chimo, the director of a variety show. When she tells him she’s not a dancer, he replies: “No dancer with blood flowing in their veins can resist this rhythm.”

He plays her Bailo Bailo, a hit by Italian pop star Raffaella Carrà, who, on top of becoming one of the best known personalities in her native Italy, ended up a sensation in the 20th-century Spanish-speaking world. Where Sweden had Abba, Italy had Carrà, who sold millions of records across Europe. Sure enough, Maria can’t resist Bailo Bailo, and Chimo hires her.

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