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Berlusconi: Politician to composer

Berlusconi releases love songs album, co-written by Apicella (left)
Berlusconi releases love songs album, co-written by Apicella (left)

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MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- As a businessman he wrote checks. As a politician, he has written speeches. Now Silvio Berlusconi has gone back to one of his first loves: writing songs.

They may never be compared to Lennon and McCartney's, but the Italian prime minister's lyrics for a new CD, which goes on sale Friday, are making sound waves.

The billionaire premier, who started his working life as a cruise ship crooner, said over the summer that writing songs was more enjoyable than keeping his fractious coalition together.

Now he can sweeten up his angry ministers with syrupy lyrics like "Without you my day is empty and my night is sad," or "Never leave me alone, stay here with me. Don't leave me alone, I need you."

Or this: "Tell me it doesn't end here, that you don't want to throw away our strange love like this. Tell me you'll come back to me with no more bitter words, let me win your heart."

The album of 14 ballads called "Meglio Una Canzone" (Better a Song) features Berlusconi's lyrics sung by Mariano Apicella, a guitar-playing musician he met in a hotel bar in Naples in 2001.

"He heard me playing and came over to talk. We played together a bit and then had the idea of writing some songs," Apicella told Reuters.

Berlusconi and Apicella burrowed themselves away at the premier's plush summer residence in Sardinia this summer where they composed about 30 songs and were caught on camera having a sing-along in the garden.

The royalties won't change the life of Berlusconi -- he is Italy's richest man, after all -- but for Apicella they will be, as an another song says, pennies from heaven.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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