Roberto Murolo and Pino Rucher
Born in Naples, Italy as the son of poet Ernesto Murolo and Lia Cavalli, Murolo showed a strong interest in music from an early age, especially singing and playing the guitar, at which he became extremely proficient. Murolo won the Italian high diving championship in 1937, and attributed his remarkable lung capacity to the long practice of water sports. At the age of 24 he founded with three friends the "Midas Quartet" (Quartetto Mida), a jazz quartet, with which he performed away from Italy from 1939 through 1946.
His solo career, focused almost exclusively on Neapolitan song, traditional and popular songs, began with his return to Italy in 1946. In addition to establishing himself as a concert artist and a popular figure on radio, with a romantic, sentimental sound, he also did some acting in movies, appearing in the 1953 crime drama The Counterfeiters, made in Italy by director Franco Rossi.
Murolo's collection of twelve LPs of Neapolitan song, called Napoletana. Antologia cronologica della canzone partenopea
and released between 1963 and 1965, is an annotated compendium of Neapolitan song dating back to the 12th century. Later he published four monographic albums called I grandi della canzone napoletana
, dedicated to Neapolitan poets Salvatore Di Giacomo, Ernesto Murolo, Libero Bovio
and E. A. Mario. Murolo became virtually a cultural ambassador from Naples to the world, and it was because of his recordings and performances that Neapolitan song was spread across five other continents. Afterwards he stopped recording, but continued to give concerts. He made a comeback in the 1990s.
He died at his home in Via Cimarosa 25, Naples, which continues to be the headquarters of the "Roberto Murolo Foundation" (Fondazione Roberto Murolo).