Celentano's catchy cult classic endures the test of time.
A stomping 1972 hit by Italian singer Adriano Celentano continues to reach new audiences thanks to social media and the song's use on soundtracks of several recent television series.
The nonsensical lyrics of Prisencolinensinainciusol were intended to sound like English in an American accent but in fact were deliberately unintelligible gibberish, with the exception of the word "alright".
Celentano, who recently turned 85, was far from being a one-hit wonder.
With a career stretching back to the rock 'n' roll scene of the late 1950s, he has sold more than 150 million records worldwide and penned a string of hits including L'emozione non ha voce, Il tempo se ne va and Azzurro.
Italian singer #AdrianoCelentano, who turns 85 today, is famed for his 1972 hit ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’ whose nonsensical lyrics are intended to sound like English in an American accent.pic.twitter.com/Excu43Q7vQ— Wanted in Rome (@wantedinrome) January 6, 2023
However his avant-garde song Prisencolinensinainciusol stands out for its originality, both for its "lyrics" as well as its construction, with a catchy riff, loop and musical elements that predate disco, hip hop and funk.
In writing the song, Celentano set out to explore communication barriers, with the intention of showing how English sounds to people who do not understand the language proficiently.
Underlining his fondness of American slang which he found "much easier to sing than Italian," Celentano told American radio station NPR in a 2012 interview: "I thought that I would write a song which would only have as its theme the inability to communicate. And to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didn't mean anything."
Celentano performed the song with his wife Claudia Mori on Italian television twice in 1974, for the variety show Milleluci with pop icon Raffaella Carrà dancing along, and on Formula due, in which the singer appears as a teacher in a classroom.
Over the decades there have been numerous cover versions of the song, a testament to its enduring popularity and fresh sound after more than half a century.
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