Though he was born in Monfalcone, in Gorizia (near modern-day Slovenia and Croatia), as a young child Gino Paoli moved across Italy to Genoa, and it was that city with which he was associated and that he called his home. In the 1950s he worked as a porter and a graphic designer before realizing it was music at which he was most talented. Singing in local bands (one of them with friend Luigi Tenco), Paoli was discovered by Ricordi, and soon he was recording tracks for them. In 1960 he released the first single written by him, "La Gatta," and in the next few years the songs that would come to define him -- "Il Cielo in una Stanza," "Vivere Ancora," "Sassi," "Sapore di Sale," "Sassi," the latter of which 300 versions were eventually recorded -- came out. He also spent his time working as a talent scout, helping the careers of both Lucio Dalla and Fabrizio De André get off the ground.