In 1968, at the age of 16, Umberto Tozzi joined 'Off Sound', one of the many groups that performed in small venues around Turin. In Milan, he met Adriano Pappalardo, with whom he formed a 13-piece band and began a large-scale Italian tour.
At only 22 (in 1974) Tozzi had his first success as a songwriter, with the song "Un corpo, un'anima" (lit. "One Body, One Soul"), co-written with Damiano Dattoli and performed by Wess and Dori Ghezzi. It appeared on Canzonissima, an Italian music programme running from 1956-1974.
In 1976, he released his first album, Donna amante mia ("My loving woman"), from which came the single "Io camminerò" ("I Will Walk") which at the time had been sung with great success by Fausto Leali. In 1977 one of Tozzi's most famous songs was released- "Ti amo".It stayed at number one on the Italian charts for seven months, outselling every other record, and went on to become an international success throughout continental Europe. It also made some inroads in the Americas and Australia, primarily in discotheques. The single was awarded a gold record award in Australia, despite the fact that it only made number 25 on the charts there in late 1979 (source: Kent Music Report, 1980). By late 1980 he releases "Stella Stai" originally vocaled in Italian and a year later in 1981 Puerto Rican youth group Menudo release a Spanish vocaled version re-titled as "Claridad" (Clarity). The Spanish version was also composed by Tozzi himself only that Menudo's version topped elsewhere throughout Latin America.
1978 saw the release of Tu, and the following year Tozzi recorded perhaps his most famous song, "Gloria". The cover version by American singer Laura Branigan first brought Tozzi's name to attention in the USA in 1982. Branigan worked with the arranger and keyboardist of Tozzi's own version, Greg Mathieson, who co-produced her version with Jack White, to give the song what she called "an American kick." The song reached the top of the charts, going gold and platinum in several countries. She would go on to record two more Tozzi compositions, "Mama", and "Ti amo", her version of which went top 5 in Canada and Australia two years after "Gloria". The early years of the 1980s saw the release of the album Tozzi, recorded in concert with a band of American musicians - his first live record.
After a period of absence from the music scene, the idea came together for another collaboration, and in 1987 won the Sanremo Music Festival with the song "Si può dare di più" ("More can be given"), sung with Gianni Morandi and Enrico Ruggeri. 1987 was also the year of "Gente Di Mare'"("People of the sea"), performed with Raf at Eurovision which saw them take third place. 1988 saw the release of his second live album, The Royal Albert Hall.
In the 1990s, Tozzi continued to record, resulting in songs such as "Gli altri siamo noi" ("We are the others") which English version is titled "We are all the same", the album Equivocando ("Misunderstanding"), Il grido ("The outcry") and Aria e cielo ("Air and sky"). He also released a greatest hits compilation, Le mie canzoni ("My songs").
In 2000 and 2005, he performed at the Sanremo Music Festival with "Un'altra vita" ("A different life") and "Le Parole" ("The words"). Between the two participations, he released a duet with French singer Lena Ka of his classic "Ti amo" as "Ti amo (Rien que des mots)". Tozzi also released another greatest hits compilation, a 2-disc set entitled The best of, and another single, "E non volo".
Umberto Tozzi remains one of the most popular Italian singers abroad, and in the course of his career has sold more than 45 million records.