Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu) – Dean Martin | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance:  Pop (#12); 1958

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The surprise hit song of 1958 originated in Italy, where it won the San Remo Festival of Music for its composer, Domenico Modugno. An aspiring actor and singer, Domenico came to fame after a movie appearance in Il Mantello Rosso; a role that led to weekly exposure on radio.

In 1957, Modugno placed second in the Neapolitan Song Festival, and first a year later at Sam Remo with Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (In The Blue Painted Blue). Released in America in July, Nel Blu entered the Hot 100 at #54 on August 4th, moved to #2 the following week, and took over the top spot on August 18th.

Tops among the many competing versions was one waxed by Dean Martin, who took another word from the lyrics – “volare” (to fly) – as the title. Dino’s recording also debuted on the 4th, and five weeks later peaked at #12. Capitol Records failed to capitalize on Dean’s forte; waiting until 1962 to release Dean’s Italian song collection, one that didn’t include Volare.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.


  • Domenico Modugno

Lyrics Written by:

  • Franco Migliacci
  • Domenico Modugno


  • Won the 1st Annual Grammy Awards in 1959 for Record of the Year and Song of the Year
  • Domenico Modugno received the Sanremo Music Festival Special Award.
  • Domenico Modugno received three nominations for “Nel blu dipinto di blu”: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Vocal Performance, Male.