Ligabue was born in Correggio, in the province of Reggio Emilia (Emilia-Romagna in northen Italy). Before becoming a successful singer, he held various jobs, working in agriculture and in factories. He entered the music world in 1987, when he founded the amateur band Orazero. For this band he wrote several original songs, with which they participated in several local and national contests. The following year his fellow Emilian singer-songwriter Pierangelo Bertoli was the first to discover Ligabue's writing talents, and included one of Ligabue's songs, "Sogni di Rock'n'Roll" ("Rock'n'Roll Dreams"), in his new LP.