If, anything, cements Chrisma’s place in musical history it’s the following video for “Aurora B.” First, let me set the scene. In 1978, as the oil crisis shortage caused massive rationing efforts in Europe, the Italian government tried to find ingenious ways to discourage its citizens from taking long trips and drives on the weekends. First they forced their hand by law, passing decrees rationing certain days for certain cars to only drive and various similar laws limiting access to gas. When that was failing, they hit upon the idea of using mass television media to lure people away from the roads and inside their homes watching hours upon hours of interesting programming. The RAI network, the largest of all Italian TV networks, brought into fruition such a program, Domenica In. This program, which translates to Sunday In, literally was that. It would air variety specials, condensed versions of soccer “matches of the day,” news, and movies basically anything that would keep as many rears in their seats, stuck to their TVs. This new show rapidly became the main mass cultural mover. Seeing all this, here enters Chrisma.
Chrisma, by now, had been a devoted student of TV culture, especially Italian-based media. When they were starting their endeavor as a band they were witnessing the rise of pirate TV stations all across Italy. Italy, unlike many other European countries had extremely lax broadcast protections. Stations were known to pop up en masse run by bootleg broadcasters who competed with each other to get the most viewers. Italians were treated to pornos, horror movies, blackmarket foreign films, and a lot of trash culture junk. The stations were so vast — Maurizio would state being able to catch over a hundred just in Milan alone — that to really stand out in such an environment, you either were part of RAI system itself or had the most sexy stuff to show. They had all this in mind, when RAI pitched them the idea of creating the first music video to share live in their highest viewed program Domenica In. If, Chrisma, was going to make any impact in Italy’s culture it would have to be now.
If, you can, view the video first. Can you appreciate its timelessness? Can you see how closely it hews to our modern way of producing music videos? Can you catch all the attention to detail, such as the amount of care they paid to their wardrobe, visual composition, and cinematography? Can you see the various provocations they were playing with? The airing of simulated sexual affection, suicide, alongside gallow’s humor-based imagery like playing Ayrton Senna’s deadly F1 crash inside those distorted TV’s you see vacillating between the impeccable sexy visage of Christina and images of real life titillation (mostly of the dark, negative type that was starting to prevail ever since then). This was imagery serving a higher purpose, it all served to heighten something you couldn’t get out of the amazingly luxurious song by itself…they my friends, were arguably the first artists to see how powerful music videos as a medium could be and they were the first to attempt to become stars via this medium.
At no other point in their career would they be seen as glamorous, sexy, dangerous, and as innovative as they would here…and truth be told, no other band had attempted to reach this level yet either, in this way. Maurizio always said that he wanted to make music not as if it lived in the past, but that predicted the future…click play, and just put yourself in the shoes of all the millions of flabbergasted Italians who witnessed this display in 1979. What do you think they thought after seeing this? Did they even think or know entirely what lay ahead? Christina and Maurizio, felt the scintillas of an upcoming pop zeitgeist and needed to be their first to enjoy it.