How Did Maneskin Turn a 54-Year-Old Song Into a Rock Phenomenon?
They’re the rock phenomenon most people (at least in the US) didn’t see coming. Italian group Maneskin have become one of music’s hottest artists, thanks largely to their massively successful cover of “Beggin’.”
The song was originally a hit for the Four Seasons back in 1967. Bob Gaudio, the group’s keyboardist and backing singer, penned the track alongside singer-songwriter Peggy Santiglia. Released on the Four Seasons’ New Gold Hits album, the Frankie Valli-fronted group presented the track as a soulful, mournful cry of a lover desperate to see his affection returned. This original version peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, but was generally overshadowed by the group’s other hits of the era.
Still, over the years “Beggin’” somehow managed to hover around the outskirts of pop-culture popularity. The song was included in the popular Broadway musical Jersey Boys, which launched in 2005. A couple of years later, French DJ Pilooski and Norwegian hip-hop duo Madcon each released a cover version of the song, turning it into, respectively, a dance and rap track. Both were popular hits in Europe, and while they didn’t make the same waves in the States, the Madcon version did appear on several TV shows and commercials.
Listen to the Four Seasons' Version of 'Beggin''
Still, the success of those interpretations pale in comparison to what Maneskin have achieved with "Beggin'." The rockers first performed the song in 2017 while they were contestants on the Italian version of The X Factor, which they would eventually win. A studio-recorded version of their rendition would be included on Maneskin’s 2017 EP Chosen. The band’s star would rise even further when they won the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, subsequently pushing its version of “Beggin’” back into the spotlight.
“We just want to say to the whole Europe, to the whole world, rock 'n' roll never dies!” front man Damiano David proclaimed after the band was crowned Eurovision champions.
Watch Maneskin Perform 'Beggin'' on the Italian Version of 'The X Factor'
Since then, “Beggin’” has become a global phenomenon. The track has hit No. 1 in nine countries and reached the Top 5 in 19 others. In the US, the song topped both the rock and alternative charts, while peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The streaming numbers are even more impressive: Maneskin’s rendition of “Beggin’” has now been played on Spotify more than 750 million times.
Still, the band’s appeal isn't limited to that one song. The members of Maneskin are proudly sexually fluid and support LGBTQ causes. The group regularly wears colorful, elaborate and often provocative clothing, and messes with gender stereotypes.
“We basically have fun with it, and we feel like we’re very free to wear whatever we want, whatever makes us feel right,” bassist Victoria De Angelis explained to the Associated Press. “And also we try to send a message with it about blurring all these kinds of stereotypes between gender norms and stuff. So we feel think it’s fine to wear whatever makes you feel good when you’re yourself.”
Maneskin’s have also been embraced by rock’s elite. Iggy Pop praised the band and provided guest vocals on a reworked version of its song “I Wanna Be Your Slave.” Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones invited Maneskin to open for them on their Nov. 6 tour stop in Las Vegas. “It was such an honor. They are one of the bands that inspires us the most,” the band noted. “Meeting them and opening their gig was an incredible experience.”
“People usually told us that we were not going to make it with our music,” David said from the stage. “Well, I guess you were wrong.”
Whether Maneskin have the staying power to truly be rock’s newest saviors remains to be seen. But it certainly appears that their “Beggin’” days are over.