70's Italian Prog Rock bands: Nuova Idea


Marco Zoccheddu (guitar, vocals)
Claudio Ghiglino (guitar, vocals)
Giorgio Usai (keyboards, vocals)
Enrico Casagni (bass, flute, vocals)
Paolo Siani (drums, vocals)

Zoccheddu replaced by
Antonello Gabelli (guitar, vocals)

Gabelli replaced by
Arturo "Ricky" Belloni (guitar, vocals)


A group from Genova, that had much in common with New Trolls, even because two of their members, Usai and Belloni, have even played with that band in different stages. Typically seventies group remarkable by the predominance of keyboards, singing (often in choir), beautiful and polished melodies.

The origins of the group lay in the 60's, with a quartet called Plep from the names of the four musicians, Paolo Martinelli, Luciano Biasato, Enrico Casagni and Paolo Siani, but after the line-up changed, the name became J.Plep for the release of a single for Carosello in 1969 (even if the label has the name "Gil dei J.Plep" who was in fact the singer Giorgio Usai).

After many concerts the name Nuova Idea was chosen in 1970 for their first single, presented at the Disco per l'Estate and including two tracks based on a similar theme; but the real success came in 1971, when the band played at the first Viareggio pop festival with "Come, come, come", and a long 20-minute version of that track was also included in the Ariston sampler Al Festival Pop Viareggio 1971 along with tracks by Stormy Six and Top 4.
The same track was chosen as leading theme of a popular TV show (A come Agricoltura) and appeared on the first side of their debut  album "In the beginning", while on the other side there were four shorter songs in a more melodic style (three of these had already appeared on the band's early singles). The record was issued by Ariston with none of the musicians knowing about it.

"Come, come, come"

In 1971 guitarist Marco Zoccheddu, a leading figure in their concerts, left the band to form Osage Tribe. His place was taken, for short time by Antonello Gabelli, who played on the second album "Mr.E.Jones", another superb 70's Italian Prog release. It's a concept album based on a clerk's life, with good lyrics and some nice tracks like the long "Illusione da poco". The band makes a strong use of multivocal and falsetto parts not unlike New Trolls', but the instrumental parts are very well played.

"Illusione da poco"

At the end of 1972 a new guitarist, Ricky Belloni from the Milan group Il Pacco, joins them and the band releases their best product, "Clowns", where the particular voice of the newcomer adds an original touch to a majestic instrumental background. "Clowns" is generally regarded to be their best and most bombastic album.

Clown from ProgRock70s on Vimeo.
(The audio track of this video is cut due to difficulty making a video out of it.)

The success is still far from Nuova Idea, and the band members split, with Belloni joining New Trolls in 1975 to record their Concerto Grosso n.2, Usai following his example in 1978, and drummer Siani playing with Equipe 84 and Opus Avantra. Another drummer, Flaviano Cuffari (from Simon Luca's backing band), had briefly played in the group when Siani left in the summer of 1973, just before the split. After the end of Nuova Idea, Ricky Belloni and Paolo Siani formed the short-lived supergroup Track that only released an album on Ariston in 1974, "Track rock", a sort of all-stars jam session. Ricky Belloni also had a solo single on PDU ("Ricordi da bruciare/Letto sfatto") in 1974 before joining New Trolls. Drummer Paolo Siani released two easy pop singles under the name Pappy Mammy & Son in 1975 and 1976 on Ariston. Bassist Enrico Casagni made a solo LP in 1977, entitled "Qualcuno stanotte" for EMI/Parlophone.

The first line-up of Nuova Idea was also behind The Underground Set and The Psycheground Group names with a totally different kind of records.

Psycheground from ProgRock70s on Vimeo.

In 2010 the band reconvened for a new album which can be found under the moniker of "Paolo Siani and friends feat. Nuova Idea", as the new material was composed entirely by Siani and officially released under his name. Released in 2011 the album "Castles, Wings, Stories And Dreams" is very good and a fitting postscript to the story of Nuova Idea.

"Wizard Intro"


In the beginnining (1971):

1.Come, Come, Come...
3.La Mia Scelta
4.Non Dire Niente...
5.Dolce Amore


1.Svegliati Edgar
2.Mr. E. Jones
3.Viaggio Nel Mondo Dei Sogni
4.Un'ora Del Tuo Tempo
5.Fumo Di Una Sigaretta
6.Illusione Da Poco
7.Premio Di Una Vita
8.Un Altro Giorno

Clowns (1973):

3.Il Giardino Dei Sogni
5.Una Vita Nuova

Illusione da poco (live)

Sources: http://www.italianprog.com/a_nuovaidea.htm