Peter Van Wood
Peter Van Wood was a Dutch guitarist
A guitarist is a musician who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar while singing.- Versatility :The guitarist controls an extremely...

, singer, songwriter, actor and astrologer.


Peter Van Wood was born as Peter van Houten in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands on 19 September 1927. He began playing guitar at a very early age when he was fourteen years old, and he studied at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague
Royal Conservatory of The Hague
The Royal Conservatory of The Hague is a conservatorium of music, providing higher education in music and dance, it is located in The Hague, Netherlands.-The Conservatory:...

. At the same time, he started listening to great Jazz guitar
Jazz guitar
The term jazz guitar may refer to either a type of guitar or to the variety of guitar playing styles used in the various genres which are commonly termed "jazz"...

 players and began playing in small groups in and around the Netherlands.

He was among the first to use the electric guitar
Electric guitar
An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

 and special effects such as echo
Echo (phenomenon)
In audio signal processing and acoustics, an echo is a reflection of sound, arriving at the listener some time after the direct sound. Typical examples are the echo produced by the bottom of a well, by a building, or by the walls of an enclosed room and an empty room. A true echo is a single...

 and reverb. In 1946, he performed at the London Palladium
London Palladium
The London Palladium is a 2,286 seat West End theatre located off Oxford Street in the City of Westminster. From the roster of stars who have played there and many televised performances, it is arguably the most famous theatre in London and the United Kingdom, especially for musical variety...

, and in 1947 and 1948 he toured all over the world, including concerts at the Olympia
Paris Olympia
The Olympia is a music hall in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. Located at No. 28, Boulevard des Capucines, its closest métro/RER stations are Madeleine, Opéra, Havre – Caumartin and Auber....

 theatre at 28, Blvd. des Capucines, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, and at the Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 in Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan, or simply Midtown, is an area of Manhattan, New York City home to world-famous commercial zones such as Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and Times Square...

 in New York City.

There he earned is trademark "signature" guitar, a unique "custom" Gretsch White Falcon (allegedly a personal gift, or maybe an "endorsing", from Fred Gretsch, and humorously dubbed by an Italian TV host "the texan milkman's guitar")

In 1949 he moved to Italy. After a series of concerts and shows in Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, he was contacted by pianist and singer Renato Carosone
Renato Carosone
Renato Carosone , born Renato Carusone, was among the greatest figures of Italian music scene in the second half of the 20th century. He was also a modern performer of the so-called canzone napoletana, Naples' song tradition.-Beginnings:Carosone was born in Naples...

, who was asked to put together a group for a club's opening night, and the Trio Carosone, with Gennaro "Gegè" Di Giacomo on drums, was formed. The trio recorded several albums for the Pathé
Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various French businesses founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France.-History:...

 record label, and shortly became a quartet with the Hungarian Gypsy musician Elek Bacsik
Elek Bacsik
Elek Bacsik was a Hungarian-born American jazz violinist and guitarist.Bacsik was born in Budapest, the son of Arpad Bacsik and Erzsebet Pocsi. He was of Romani ethnicity and studied violin at the Budapest Conservatory, but found his primary musical inspiration in bebop pioneers Dizzy Gillespie...

 on bass, guitar and violin.

In 1954 Van Wood leaves the Trio Carosone and decides to devote himself to his solo career. He formed his quartet, which signed for Fonit and released many successful records.

The highlights of his musical career are too numerous to list but the pinnacle is: "Butta la chiave", a song that was very famous especially for the dialogue between Van Wood's voice and his "singing" guitar mimics as the negative responses of a wife who let his husband outside home.
It is unclear if he made use of a rudimentary "wah-wah" pedal, an Alvino Rey a-like singin' guitar device or simply made use of vibrato-bar
to achieve that effect, which astonished Italian audiences as an absolute novelty.
Followed "Via Montenapoleone", a song about one of the most renowned streets of Milan, "Tre numeri al lotto", Mia cara Carolina", and "Capriccio".[1]
In the 1960s he decided to dedicate himself to astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, and started making horoscope
In astrology, a horoscope is a chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, the astrological aspects, and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person's birth. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words meaning "a look at the hours" In...

s for various Italian newspapers and magazines, while continuing to make recordings. He also opened a nightclub, Amsterdam 19, in Galleria Passarella in Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 (the city where he moved from Naples), where he often performed as a singer and guitarist.

In 1974, he recorded an instrumental album, Guitar Magic, for Vedette Phase-6 record label, which highlights his skills as a guitarist.

In 1982, Van Wood recorded the theme song of the Italian television show La Domenica Sportiva.

He came again to prominence in the Italian Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

  when he participated to the transmission Quelli che... il Calcio
Quelli che... il Calcio
Quelli che... Il Calcio is the title of an Italian entertainment television show. This sport show is broadcasted by Rai Due on Sunday afternoons during the period of activity of the Italian Football Championship, including comments about the matches and some live footage from the series A.- Source...

, conducted by Fabio Fazio. Along the lines of his last name, in an ironic and humorous sense, was created a football team called Atletico Van Goof.

Then he had quite regular appearances as guest in RAI television shows, offering his skills in his lifelong passion, astrology.

In October 2007, he required one million euros to Coldplay
Coldplay are a British alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After they formed Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as a...

 as compensation, claiming that the song "Clocks
Clocks (song)
"Clocks" is a song by English alternative rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. Built around a piano riff, the song features cryptic lyrics of contrast and urgency themes. Several remixes of the track exist and its riff...

" is a plagiarism of his song "Caviar and Champagne".

Peter Van Wood died on 10 March 2010 at the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic
Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic
The Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic is a large general hospital of 1,850 beds in Rome, Italy. It serves as the teaching hospital for the medical school of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore , and owes its name to the university founder, the Franciscan friar, physician and psychologist...

 in Rome after a long illness.

With the Trio Carosone

Year Album Additional information
1951 "Oh! Susanna" / "Scalinatella" Released on January 11 by Pathé
Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various French businesses founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France.-History:...

 (MG 13) 78 rpm
1952 "Oh! Susanna" / "Scalinatella" Released on January by Pathé (MG 102) 78 rpm
"Tre numeri al lotto (i pappagalli)" / "Oh! Susanna" Released by Pathé (MG 157) 78 rpm

Studio albums

Year Album Additional information
1954 Van Wood Quartet Fonit (LP 143)
1955 L'olandese napoletano Fonit (LP 146)
L'olandese volante Fonit (LP 148)
1956 Van Wood Quartet Fonit (LP 170)
Restiamo in casa stasera con Van Wood Fonit (LP 180)
Intorno al mondo con Van Wood Fonit (LP 181)
1974 Guitar Magic Vedette–Phase 6 (VPAS 911)
1981 Sotto il segno di Van Wood RCA Linea Tre (NL 33176)


Year Album Additional information
1955 Van Wood Quartet n° 1 Fonit (EP 4040)
1956 Van Wood Quartet n° 8 Fonit (EP 4066)
Van Wood Quartet n° 9 Fonit (EP 4067)
1958 Van Wood Quartet Fonit (EP 4305)


Year Album Additional information
1956 "Oho-Aha (ciao)" / "Baby bu" Fonit (SP 30004)
1982 "Una domenica sportiva" / "Vattene" Fonit (SP 1784)


Year Title Role Other notes
1956 Cantando sotto le stelle Directed by Marino Girolami
Marino Girolami
Marino Girolami was an Italian film director who gained a cult following for his horror movies like Zombie Holocaust. He was the father of the Italian film maker Enzo G...

1989 Night Club Himself Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Sergio Corbucci
Sergio Corbucci was an Italian film director. He is best known for his very violent yet intelligent spaghetti westerns...

External links

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