About Adriano Celentano
Singer, songwriter, and actor Adriano Celentano is an iconic figure in Italian popular culture. He’s released dozens of albums and singles in a career spanning more than 60 years, and he dominated Italian cinema in the ’70s and ’80s with a distinctive comedic style.
• Influenced by Elvis Presley, Celentano got his start playing in a rock ’n’ roll band in the late ’50s. He released his first single, a cover of Little Richard’s “Rip It Up” backed with Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” in 1958.
• Celentano’s 1960 debut LP, Adriano Celentano con Giulio Libano e la sua Orchestra, came out the same year Celentano appeared briefly as himself in Federico Fellini’s film La dolce vita.
• He had his first No. 1 hit in 1961 with “24.000 baci,” which finished second that year at the Sanremo Music Festival song competition. Later that year and early in 1962, Celentano’s song “Nata per me” spent 13 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1.
• Celentano was hugely prolific in the ’60s, releasing 11 albums and 41 singles. He notched 13 No. 1 hits with originals and a handful of covers, such as “Pregherò” (an Italian-language cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”) and “Stai lontana da me” (a version of Gene McDaniels’ “Tower of Strength”).
• One of his signature songs, “Il ragazzo della via Gluck” (“The boy from Gluck Street,” where Celentano was born in Milan), peaked at No. 2 in 1966.
• Though Celentano’s output slowed some in the ’70s, the hits continued with another 13 Top 10 singles, including three that reached the top spot: “Chi non lavora non fa l’amore” in 1970, “Bellissima” in 1974, and “Soli” in 1979.
• In 1974, Celentano had a No. 3 hit with “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” which featured gibberish lyrics as a good-natured spoof intended to mimic how English sounds to Italian ears.
• Celentano focused more on his film career in the ’80s, though he still managed to release nine singles and seven albums that ventured into reggae and synth-y pop. A pair of his ’80s releases, I miei americani volumes one and two, released in 1984 and 1986, comprised covers of some of the early American rock ’n’ roll songs that had influenced him.
• Even into the fifth decade of his career, Celentano continued to top the charts. He reached No. 1 in 1998 with Mina Celentano, a duets album with Italian pop singer Mina; in 1999 with Io non-so parlar d'amore; and in 2001 with Esco di rado e parlo ancora meno. Each was the best-selling album in Italy the year it was released.
BORNJanuary 6, 1938