Friday, September 11, 2009


Carlo Paul Santanna (born 29 June 1949, near Rome, Italy) is a noted guitar player/singer whose credits include being in the UK pop group "Paper Lace" that won the UK talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1974 and had 4 sizeable hits in Oz and around the world. Their 4 hits were: "Billy, Don't Be A Hero", "The Night Chicago Died", "The Black-Eyed Boys" and a remake of "Hitchin' A Ride". Nottingham's pop group Paper Lace started out being called Music Box in 1969.

Carlo Santanna's one and only Oz hit "Hold My Hand (Aria)" came out in 1976 on the Philips label. It was written by
3 people: Sergio Bardotti, Dario Baldan-Bembo and Thumpston. Sergio and Dario were well known Italian writers/singers whose original song called "Aria" was translated into English by Thumpston.

According to a visiting contributor John McKenzie, all vocals were done by Carlo. Carlo is nowadays John's manager and still in the music business. Thanks for the information John.

Not long after Carlo's version came out, jazz muso Acker Bilk (born: Bernard Stanley Bilk) produced an instrumental version just called "Aria" and it was credited to Acker Bilk his Clarinet and Strings, it was released on the Astor label. It reached #5 in the UK.

Not long after the Bilk version was out another was released by Roger Whittaker called "Here We Stand (Aria)" - same song, different name and less orchestration. It was on his RCA album Reflections Of Love.

Norman Newell then penned new English lyrics to the song for Shirley Bassey and the title became “Born To Lose”. She started using the song in 1977 on tour in Japan.

The Italian singer Ornella Vanoni has later also sung “Aria” in English, but with different English lyrics penned by Ben Raleigh.

Since it was released to the English speaking world the song just keeps on evolving. Here for download is the Carlo Santanna version of "Hold My Hand (Aria)" that kicked it off:

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