Claudio Simonetti (born February 19, 1952 in São Paulo) is a Brazilian-born Italian musician and film composer. The keyboardist of the progressive rock band Goblin, Simonetti has specialized in the scores for Italian and American horror films since the 1970s.
A long-time collaborator of director Dario Argento, Simonetti has worked on several of the director/producer's films including Deep Red, Suspiria, Dawn of the Dead, Tenebrae, Phenomena, Demoni, and Opera. His work has long been an iconic staple of Italian genre cinema, collaborating with directors like Ruggero Deodato, Umberto Lenzi, Lucio Fulci, Enzo G. Castellari, Lamberto Bava, and Sergio Martino. His highly experimental scores are known for their signature, electronic and progressive rock-influenced sound, and have been imitated numerous times. He studied at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
The son of composer and entertainer Enrico, Simonetti was the keyboard player for the Italian progressive rock band Goblin, which initially formed under the name Cherry Five. He has been influenced by Keith Emerson, Brian Auger, Rick Wakeman and Tony Banks.
Simonetti is probably best known for his electronic score to the George A. Romero classic Dawn of the Dead, but is also highly regarded for his work on the films of Italian horror maestro Dario Argento, with whom he has worked almost exclusively since 1975. Goblin's score to his 1975 film Profondo rosso was one of the highest-selling horror movie soundtracks ever produced. When Goblin disbanded in 1979, Claudio began his solo career as an electronic musician but continued to score Argento's films, including Tenebrae (1982), Demons (1985), Opera (1987), The Card Player (2004) and Dracula 3D (2012). However, the band reunited in 2000 to score the Argento film Sleepless and received outstanding critical acclaim.
Simonetti's other film work includes the scores to many popular and cult films such as Conquest (1983), The New Barbarians (1983), Cut and Run (1985), Midnight Killer (1986), Hands of Steel (1986), Body Count (1987), and The Versace Murder (1998).
Beginning in 1978, Claudio founded a number of electronic disco projects. In 1979, with Giancarlo Meo, he formed perhaps his best-known project behind singer Vivien Vee (Viviana Andreattini), whose song "Give Me a Break" became a minor hit in the American dance charts. Later Vivien Vee tracks particularly "Blue Disease" from 1983, showcased some of the darker and edgier sounds familiar from the Goblin years. Another project he was involved was Easy Going, with "Baby I Love You" from 1978 and "Fear" from 1979. In 1983, he was the central member of the Italo disco group Crazy Gang.
In 1999, Simonetti formed the heavy metal band Daemonia, which has recorded updated versions of Goblin favorites in addition to original material. Daemonia has also contributed tracks to U.S. DVD releases of Italian horror movies. He composed the title track "Mater Lacrimarum" for The Mother of Tears soundtrack in 2007, which features background vocals by Dani Filth.
In 2009, Claudio collaborated with the Los Angeles heavy metal band Rusty Eye. He played keyboard on "Mondo Cane" and "Wings of the Demon" from the album Possessor.
On 16 October 2010 Claudio Simonetti with his group Daemonia took part in the event Soundtracks – A tribute to Pino Rucher. The event was sponsored by the Municipal Authorities of San Nicandro Garganico and Manfredonia.
In 2013, he also played keyboard on the "Aggregat 4" track from the Simulakrum Lab album, a vintage synhesizers music project created by Paolo Prevosto. 2015 released with the Murder Collections, new arranged version of his film themes, include Profondo Rosso, Suspiria, Tenebrae and Dawn of the Dead.
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Works with Dario Argento