Italian entertainer Massimo Ranieri was born Giovanni Calone on May 3, 1951, the fourth of eight sons.
His surroundings were that of a typical working-class family in the poor neighborhood of Pallonetto, Santa Lucia. Like many in his situation, Calone did nearly anything available to him in order to earn a living during his youth. In his case, that included singing in local restaurants and for ceremonies, given that he had earned a local reputation for his refined voice. On one such occasion, Calone's talent caught the attention of some industry professionals. By 1964 Calone was in New York, recording under the pseudonym Gianni Rock. Stateside avenues did not prove prosperous, and Calone returned home. He appeared in 1966 on the TV show Scala Reale under the name Massimo Ranieri performing the song "L'Amore e una Cosa Meravigliosa." In the years that followed, Ranieri would appear numerous times at the Sanremo Festival, winning a reputation as an up-and-comer to be watched. Three paths developed simultaneously for the young star, one in the world of music, another in film, and the last in television. All three pursuits proved fruitful, and Massimo Ranieri became known as one of Italy's most beloved entertainers. Toward the end of the 1970s, Ranieri added theater to his list of professional conquests, and has maintained a respectable career in all four professional spheres. Though most entertainers have a "golden period" that lasts only a decade or so, Ranieri has remained active as a recording artist, TV personality, and actor of stage and screen to the present day. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi