Fiorella Mannoia's father Luigi was an Italian film stuntman, and Fiorella, her brother Maurizio and sister Patrizia began work in this area as children. Fiorella Mannoia's first film role as stuntwoman was at the age of 13 in the film Non cantare, spara! ("Don't Sing, Shoot!") (1968). She often acted as a stand-in for Monica Vitti, e.g., in Amore mio aiutami ("Help Me, My Love"), and was also a stand-in for Candice Bergen in The Hunting Party. She debuted in the world of music at the Festival of Castrocaro in 1968, singing Un bambino sul leone (“A Child on the Lion”) by Adriano Celentano. Although she didn't win, she obtained a record contract with Carisch, with whom she recorded her first 45, Ho saputo che partivi ("I Knew You Were Leaving"), which had on the B-side Le ciliegie ("The Cherries"), written by the young guitarist Riccardo Zappa.
In the Spring of 1968, she participated in Un disco per l'estate ("A Record for Summer"), a Summer song festival broadcast on RAI, with the song Gente qua, gente là ("People Here, People There"), the music for which was written by Bruno De Filippi, while the lyrics were written by her producer, Alberto Testa. Her third 45 featured Mi piace quel ragazzo lì ("I Like That Boy Over There"), whose text is dedicated to Adriano Celentano, with Occhi negli occhi ("Eyes Into Eyes") on the B-side, reutilized from the previous record. These discs, while still being influenced by certain "beat" sounds, presented evidence of Mannoia's vocal qualities, although they did not sell well. The tracks are available on the collection I primi passi ("The First Steps")(1998), containing songs by Fiorella Mannoia and Carla Bissi, published by On Sale Music.
In 1970 she got to know the singer and guitarist Memmo Foresi, who had put out some 45s as a solo act and with whom she formed a relationship. After signing a contract with the label It founded by Vincenzo Micocci, in 1971 she cut a 45 of a song written by Enzo Perrotti and a Foresi track on the B-side; this too went unnoticed.
The next year, the collaboration with Memmo Foresi led to the release of the album Mannoia Foresi & co. for RCA Italy. The track Ma quale sentimento ("But What Feeling") was retitled Prologo ("Prologue") for release as a single. In 1974, her new single Ninna nanna (with Rose on the B-side) was censored (and so withdrawn from sale) because of the lyrics by Marco Luberti, which were considered too raw. Fiorella Mannoia then decided to leave RCA and go to the label Ricordi, with whom she released three 45s, Piccolo ("Little", lyrics by Sergio Bardotti and Ruggero Cini), Tu amore mio ("You Love of Mine") and Scaldami ("Warm Me Up").
In the early 70s, she had minor roles in the spaghetti Westerns Un colt in mano del diavolo (“A Colt in the Hand of the Devil”) (1972), E il terzo giorno arrivò il corvo (“And on the Third Day, the Crow Arrived”) (1973) and Sei bounty killers per una strage (“Six Bounty Killers for a Massacre”) (1973).
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