Vespa and rocker, long love story – Mondo Moto

Two legends. Two symbols of their era are united by an indefinable, but very strong, almost symbiotic bond. And get used to birthdays and important celebrations. Two worlds a lot closer than you think, a world waspa timeless icon of Piaggio’s trademark two-wheeled style, and icon of music, of rocks in particular. Life philosophyas well as folk art that has the ability to renew itself by drawing a lifeline from the changing social contexts, customs and emotional regurgitation of different generations.


The opportunity to remember this affinity is provided by the constant testimonies of love towards the symbol of light mobility made in Italy and released on social networks by young and less youthful rock stars (the last of the series by Mark Knopfler, guitarist among the most famous internationally and leader of the band British terrible straits) and more, the important impending 50th anniversary of the release of the Who’s Quadrophenia concept album. Released in the fall of 1973 in the UK and the USA (it also became a hit movie six years later, directed by Frank Roddam) and remained at the top of the charts for a long time, it is considered one of the masterpieces of the genre. Classic Album Award From the British classic rock magazine. The title is a lexical variation of the term “schizophrenia”, used in the sense of “dissociative identity disorder”: Quadrophenia – On its cover is a photograph by artist Graham Hughes of a super-custom Vespa with a boy in a jacket, custom turn, with the Who logo on the back – reflecting the four characters (and moods) of Jimmy, the tortured protagonist of a popular rock opera set in English society In the 1960s he is associated with the very different lives of the four members of the band, who will return to perform in Italy in June on a single date, in Florence.

From vinyl to movie theatres

The film – which stays true to the themes covered by the album written entirely by the group’s guitarist, Pete Townsend – tells the story of Jimmy, a boy from the Mods youth gang who fought over and over in those years with rival Rockers, creating fights and turmoil in suburbs of English cities. It is also a clash of values ​​and lifestyles: the moddons (of the English modernists) were smartly dressed young men, even if “dressed” in suits, jackets and shirts with ties, often a signature blazer, who drove Italian scooters such as Vespa and Lambretta. An alter ego, in fact, of Rockers, whose style was that of the American rock and roll followers of the 1950s, with leather jackets as their “uniform”, who used classic English Triumph, Besa, Royal Enfield in front of American Harley-Davidson. Among the heroes of the cult film there is a very young and then almost unknown Sting in the role of party king Ace Face, considered the idol of the Mods, a handsome blond boy with perfect style, always riding a scooter that everyone envies: a gorgeous super-equipped Vespa Gran Sport from 1955, with Exaggerated lights would become the hallmark of epigones.

Vespa and music side by side

But, as mentioned, there are frequent points of contact between the world of music and Vespa. From the first years of life to the scooter born in the workshops Biagio Pontedera Linked to the musical movements in England in the 1960s, trends arose that would characterize entire generations. Vespa is the protagonist of seminal works in rock history, such as Quadrophenia by Ho, the musical debutante Julian Temple starring David Bowie and Patsy Kensit or George Lucas’ blockbuster Graffiti America, to name a few.

Unbreakable relationship That withstood the passage of time and transcended the 80’s with the scooter that starred in countless videos in the decade that marked the arrival of the MTV phenomenon in the 90’s with the all-Italian roaring success of 50 Special by Cesare Cremonini’s Lunapop. The connection between Vespa and the art of the seven notes is firmly rooted and continues to define the collective imagination through hit songs and videos and the constant reference to music in communications that The Piaggio Group devotes itself to its most famous brand. Concrete examples are the recent exclusive Vespa model personally conceived and designed by Canadian pop star Justin Bieber and the start of the partnership between the Italian brand and red, a non-profit organization founded, among others, by U2 frontman Bono Vox, which in recent years has contributed more than $350 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. With this agreement, Piaggio undertook to create a special Vespa 946 precisely called RED.

social presentation

In short, great love. Which is not indicative of losing strength as the seasons go by, judging by the constant testimonies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok of rock stars: in addition to the aforementioned. Mark Knopfler, Sting, Justin Bieber and Pete Townsend, from David Gilmour of Pink Floyd to Godfather of Moods Paul Weller, from Damon Albarn of Bloor to Liam Gallagher of Oasis, Even Simon Le Bon, Billy Joel and many others, who have proudly declared themselves scooter owners for more than seventy years, symbol and official ambassador of the Italian genius in the world. It’s like punishing that Vespa…a rock. And like rock music, it never dies: Neil Young guarantees.

FP | by the editorial team

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Queenie Bell

"Introvert. Avid gamer. Wannabe beer advocate. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Social media trailblazer. Web scholar."

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