“ “Tu vuò fà l’americano” ; “You Want to Be American”) is a Neapolitan language song by Italian singer Renato Carosone.
Carosone wrote the song in collaboration with Nicola “Nisa” Salerno in 1956. Combining swing and jazz, it became one of his best-known songs. Commissioned by Ricordi director Rapetti for a radio contest, the music was composed by Carosone in a very short time after reading Nisa’s lyrics; he immediately believed the song would become a great success.
Carosone’s original version of the song was performed by him in the film Totò, Peppino e le fanatiche (directed by Mario Mattoli, 1958). The song was featured in the 1960 Melville Shavelson film It Started in Naples, in which it was sung by Sophia Loren. It was also performed by Rosario Fiorello in the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley.
The lyrics are about an Italian who affects a contemporary American lifestyle, drinking whisky and soda, dancing to rock ‘n roll, playing baseball and smoking Camel cigarettes, but who still depends on his parents for money. The song is generally considered to be a satire of the Americanization that occurred in the early years after World War II, when southern Italy was still a rural, traditional society. According to the Italian newspaper la Repubblica, “Tu vuò fa l’americano” is the definitive hit single of Carosone’s artistic career, as he retired from music in 1960, just four years after releasing the song.”