Mina Anna Mazzini (born in Busto Arsizio on 25 March 1940 as Anna Maria Mazzini), professionally known as Mina, is an Italian pop singer. Admired for her voice and performing talent, she was a star attraction of Italian television variety shows from early 60s to late 70s. During the years, Mina was a dominant figure of Italian charts and reached an unsurpassed level of popularity in Italy. She has recorded over 1000 songs, 110 albums, sold 76 million records, and scored 70 singles in Italian charts. Mina is the only artist to land an album at the 1st place of the Italian chart in each of the five decades starting from the 1960s. She gave up public appearances in 1978, but has continued to release albums on a yearly basis to date.
Mina's first TV appearances in 1959 presented the first Italian female rocker. Her way of singing and visualizing the beat with her body earned her the nicknames "Tiger of Cremona" and "Queen of Screamers". Mina introduced her new sensual maner with the song "Il cielo in una stanza", which was turned to a Billboard Hot 100 hit. Her voice had a distinctive timbre and great power. The main theme of Mina's songs was dramatic interpretation of distressing love stories. The singer combined the classic Italian melody with soul music, particularly with the songs "Se stasera sono qui", "Deborah"(1968), and her cooperation with Lucio Battisti in 1969 and 1970. She blended modern styles with Italian music, particularly bossa nova with "Sacumdì sacumdà" (1968), and nuevo tango in her cooperation with Ástor Piazzolla in 1972. Composers working for Radiotelevisione Italiana wrote songs with large vocal range and transitions of tonality to demonstrate her singing skills, particularly Bruno Canfora's "Brava" (1965) and Ennio Morricone's pseudo-serial "Se telefonando" (1966). Pieces of music were exclusively composed and re-scored for Mina accompanied by all-star orchestras of the TV variety series Studio Uno, Canzonissima, Teatro 10 and concerts at the Auditorio A of Naples and La Bussola nightclub of Marina di Pietrasanta. The performances gathered unprecedented audiences in Italy. Mina alla Bussola dal vivo was the first live album in the history of Italian music. Her albums Studio Uno (1965), Bugiardo più che mai...più incosciente che mai... (1969), and Mina Celentano (1998) were the biggest sellers of their respective year in Italy. Mina's song "Grande grande grande" was carried to Billboard Hot 100 by Shirley Bassey, and Mina's duet with Alberto Lupo "Parole parole" turned into a French hit by Dalida and Alain Delon.
In 1963, Mina was banned from performing on all public Italian television and radio channels. The reason was her refusal to hide her pregnancy and relationship with a married actor. Mina's love affair represented the emancipation of women, which did not accord with the dominant catholic and bourgeois morals. Her record sales remained unaffected and the audience forced Radiotelevisione Italiana to lift the ban. The Italian broadcasting service continued to prohibit some of her songs which were forthright in dealing with subjects such as religion ("Sacumdì Sacumdà"), smoking ("Ta-ra-ta-ta") or sex ("La canzone di Marinella" and "L'importante è finire"). To the ’bad girl’ image, Mina added her sexy appeal and the cool act, including public smoking, dyed blond hair and shaved eyebrows.