Adriano Celentano Bookmark and Share


6 januari 1938

Adriano Celentano was born and raised in Milan at the Via Cristoforo Gluck 14. His parents came from Apulië in the south but moved searching for work. In the fifties Celentano gets influenced by the boogie woogie and rock & roll coming from the USA. In 1956 he starts his first (if not the first Italian) rockband called Rock Boys. The band featured Giorgio Gaber, Enzo Jannacci and Luigi Tenco. With the song ‘Ciao te diro’ they enter several festivals, including the one in San Remo. They do not win but they do set the wheels in motion for Italian pop music. During the fifties Celentano performs with several other artists of which the most succesfull collaboration is with Mina. The song ‘Vorrei sapere perché’  is his first commercial succes. In 1959 he also appears in a movie for the first time in ‘Il raggazzo del juke box’. His acting career is followed by a role in ‘La dolce vita’.

In 1964 he marries singer and actress Claudia Mori in secret. In 1965 Celentano also founds his production company, Clan Celentano. The first release is a single ‘Stai lontano da me’ written by Burt Bacharach and Mogol. With the song he enters the festival Cantagiro. Due to a fractured foot he cannot perform the song but it wins anyway. The first Clan album release ‘Non mi dir’ is an artistic and commercial success. An international acting career is cut short due to fear of flying and he refuses to take invitations from Hollywood. In 1966 he returns to San Remo with the song ‘Il ragazzo della via Gluck’. A song his old neighbourhood and also a complaint to the bad state it’s in.

Celentano’s musical output is very diverse. From rock, to cabaret to folk and even disco. One of the oddest singles he releases in the seventies is ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’, a song written in the made up language Celentanesca. It is a highly unlikely world wide hit. In 1973 he enters San Remo again but backs out in the end due to an attack of gastritis. The oganisation accused him for not showing because the line up was poor. Annoyed, Celetano stops performing until the end of the seventies. His album output however is very steady. In 1982 he publishes his autobiography called ‘Il paradiso è un cavallo bianco che non suda mai’ ('Paradise is a white horse that never sweats'). Between 1987 and 1990 there is a pause in his output which he breaks with the 1991 album ‘Il re degli ignoranti’. Allegedly, due to problems with copyrights the album is pulled back after only a week in the shops. Celentano’s success is waning in the nineties and it would take his old friend Mina to get him back on the scene. Their duo album ‘Mina Celentano’, with lyrics by Mogol and music by Gianni Bella, is a huge success. Celentano’s follow up album ‘Io non so parlar d’amore’ sells over two million copies. His 2000 album ‘Esco di rado e parlo ancora meno’ sees him team up with Ivano Fossati and Nada.

In 2005 Celentano starts a new TV show called 'Rockpolitik'. In 2006 he lets himself get interviewed for Rai Tre for Fabio Fazio TV show ‘Che Tempo Che Fa’. A unique fact because the singer/actor/comedian/presentator/writer refuses to be interviewed most of the time. In 2007 he releases ‘Dormi amore, la situazione non e buona’ again together with the team Mogol/Gianni Bella. He also starts a TV show called ‘La situazione del mia sorella non e buona’ ('The situation of my sister is not good'). The sister being the planet Earth. In 2008 Rai Uno presents a TV special called ‘Buon compleanno Adriano’ ('Happy birthday Adriano') for his 70th birthday. In the same year, after 14 years of absence, Celentano starts touring again. In 2011 he presents a new album. In 2012 he appaers as special guest at San remo and takes the opportunity to start a rand about Catholic press, the Greek debt crisis and the state of Italian politics. To the horror of Rai1. In 2015 he teams up with Mina again for a new duet album.

On the web:

- Adriano's official website: http://www.clancelentano.it

What do we think:

DB: A fellow DJ used ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’ often in his disco-set with the remark that the rest of this guy's material was crap. Although this remark is highly disrespectfull to the influence Celentano has had on Italian pop (and to his body of work) it does show how misunderstood he is outside Italy. His albums can be a mash up of styles and languages, going from rock 'n roll to disco to old fashioned cantautori stuff. It can be humerous but also dead serious. The period Mogol/Bella period brings his output in more stable waters and for non-italian ears I think these are amongst his best. Italian and Europop wouldn't be the same without him.

PR: Adriano, singer, composer, actor, clown... he is a 100% entertainer, that is for sure! He left his mark on Italian pop music and manage to survive 50 years on the music scene. It is not his perfect singing voice, it is not his looks, it is not the quality of his songs, it is the combination, the whole persona that makes him so unique. Be careful when buying Celentano-albums, not every one is of high quality. His collaborations with Mina are great and for further suggestions see the recommended album list below.

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Gilbert Bécaud (France)

Recommended albums:

? - Non mi dir - 1965

♪♪♪♪ - Rock - 1968

♪♪ - I mali del secolo - 1972

♪♪ - Svalutation - 1976

♪♪♪ - Soli - 1979

♪ - Deus - 1981

♪♪♪♪♪ - Il re degli ignoranti - 1991

♪♪♪♪ - Mina Celentano - 1998

♪♪♪♪ - Io non so parlar d'amore - 1999

♪♪♪♪ - Esco di rado e parlo ancora meno - 2000

♪♪♪ - Per sempre - 2002

♪♪♪♪ - C'è sempre un motivo - 2004

♪♪♪ - Dormi amore - la situazione non è buona - 2007

- Facciamo finta che sai vero - 2011

Further listening:

Adriano Celentano con Giulio Libano e la sua orchestra - 1960; Furore - 1960; Peppermint twist - 1962; A New Orleans - 1963; La festa - 1966; Il ragazzo della via Gluck - 1966; Azzurro/Una carezza in un pugno - 1968; Le robe che ha detto Adriano - 1969; Il forestiero - 1970; Er più - Storia d'amore e di coltello - 1971; Nostalrock - 1973; Yuppi du - 1975; Disco dance - 1977; Tecadisk - 1977; Ti avrò - 1978; Geppo il folle - 1978; Me, live! - 1979; Un po' artista un po' no - 1980; Uh... uh...- 1982; Atmosfera - 1983; I miei americani - 1984; Joan Lui - 1985; I miei americani 2 - 1986; La pubblica ottusità - 1987; Quel punto - 1994; Arrivano gli uomini - 1996

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


Like us on
Your newsletter

Do you want to receive our monthly newsletter? Just tick in your e-mail adress below and stay in touch.

You will receive an e-mail message (sorry, in Dutch) that you have to confirm.