Renato Zero Bookmark and Share


30 September 1950

Renato Zero is the stage name of Renato Fiacchini. He quit his studies in the fifties early to devote himself to his true passion, the arts, more specifically playing music and singing - though initially with little success. From an early age, he would wear make-up and cross-dress. He replied to the criticisms he received (including the recurring insult 'Sei uno zero!' - 'You're a 'zero'!') by assuming the alter-ego of Renato Zero.

In 1965 the “Piper Club” opened at Via Tagliamento in Rome. Renato met other Italian artists here like Federico Fellini,  Rita Pavone, Patty Pravo (also named 'the Piper girl') and those who became his best friends Loredana and Mimì Berté (Mimì named later as Mia Martini). During that period he figured in 'bandiera Gialla' radio programme presented by Renzo Arbore and Gianni Boncompagni. In 1967 he recorded his first single Non basta sai/ In mezzo ai guai. The single flops. In 1969 his friend Rita Pavone helps him out with a place in the ballet for her Rai-TV show 'Stasera Rita'.

After performing on the musical Hair in 1970 he signed to RCA Records in late 1972.  He went into the studio with an intent on recording a LP leit motiv album to link songs one to the other. In the end they hired the “Teatro Centrale” invited a crowd of members of the staff asked Eddy Ponti went to introduce the Renato first show. This resulted in the somewhat bizarre ‘live’ album No Mamma No in 1973. The album had little success as did the follow up Invenzioni.

It was not until 1976 that he scored his first hit with the single 'Madame', a collaboration with songwriter Franca Evangelisti and composer Piero Pintucci, with whom Zero continued working in the years that followed. 'Madame' and the album including it, Trapezio, established a regular and loyal audience for Zero (which he calls Sorcini (Little Mice). The late 1970s were indeed years of great success for Zero's character, with the LPs 'Zerofobia' (1977), 'Zerolandia' (1978) and 'Erozero' (1979) topping the Italian charts. At this time Renato Zero was very popular and his song 'Il Carrozzone' was already regarded, also by critics, as one of the best Italian songs ever.

The name Zerolandia referred also to the moving theatre (a circus tent with a capacity of 5,000) in which he gave shows throughout Italy. On numerous occasions fans would participate in the gigs, made-up like Zero and dressed in his typical bird-like and strass-decorated costumes. In 1979 Zero played himself in the movie 'Ciao Nì' (his usual greeting to his fans, which can be roughly translated as 'Hi pal!').

In the 1980s he began to abandon make-up and greasepaint, but this did not rid Zero of his mania for grandeur: in the 1980 tour, for example, he entered the scene riding a white horse. In 1982 he began a collaboration with the opera director Renato Serio, who was to write the string arrangements for almost all of Zero's following LPs. In late 1983 he took part in RAI's Fantastico 3, then the most popular Italian TV show.
His career continued to be successful until 1984, with top-charts songs like 'Amico' ('Friend') and 'Spiagge' ('Beaches'). That year, however, his album 'Leoni si nasce' and the tour of the same name, in which he appeared disguised as a lion and escorted by four aborigines, were commercial failures. The album 'Zero' of 1987 marked the low point of his career: instead of playing in arenas and stadiums, Zero had to sing almost for free in the piazzas and discos of Italy's minor cities.

In 1991 Renato Zero finally make a comeback at the Sanremo Music Festival with 'Spalle al muro'.In 1993 he was nr.1 in the Italian charts with the LP 'Quando non sei più nessuno'. The following year Imperfetto repeated this success. In 1999 Italy's prime singer Mina honours him with a full album, 'N° 0', where she sings only Renato Zero songs, including one duet. In 2000 the RAI broadcasting studio offers him to do a musical show for them. Renato accepts and makes 'Tutti gli Zeri del mondo' an ideal journey across his music and theatre on board of his ship the 'Zeronave”. In November 2001 he releases the new album 'La Curva dell’ angelo'. The tour is a success with 80.ooo fans on 19th july in the Olimpic Stadium of Rome. In 2003 he releases a new album with the title 'Cattura' followed by 'Il Dono' in 2005. Three and a half years later - March 2009 - he releases the great new album 'Presente' with no less than 17 new songs.

On the web:

- Renato's website: http://www.renatozero.com
- Renato's website 2: http://www.zenzero.it

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

Michel Polnareff (France)

Udo Lindenberg (Germany)

What do we think:

PR: Renato is a clown, but a serious and professinal one all the same. Despite his extravagant looks and clothes, his songs are in the traditional Italian style. He was - and is - a great performer and every few year he tours the largest stadions in Italy. And he always knows exactly how to involve the public in his shows. If you have become interested and want an introduction to Renato Zero, start with the albums from the late seventies, than those of the nineties.

DB: Theatrical and dramatic. Those words fit Renato Zero. His performance makes simple tunes suddenly filled with over the top show. Though he makes beautiful songs his tendency to make double albums suggests that Renato has difficulty to kill his darlings. The result is that you sometimes have to chew through reasonable tracks to find the real pearls. The effort is always rewarded though. For instance if you weed through Amore dopo amore you’ll find my personal Zero favourite Cerca Me. Italian pop at its best. By the way, don’t be mislead by the negative reviews on Leoni si Nasce which is deep down a dapper attempt to pick up with the synthipop of the time.


♪♪- Invenzione - 1974

♪♪♪ - Trapezio - 1976

♪♪♪♪ - Zerofobia - 1977

♪♪♪♪ - Zerolandia - 1978

♪♪♪♪♪♪ - EroZero - 1979

♪♪ - Tregua - 1980

♪♪- Artide Antartide - 1981

♪♪ - Leoni si nasce - 1984

♪♪♪♪ - Amore dopo Amore - 1987

♪♪♪♪♪- Voyeur - 1989

♪♪♪♪ - Amore dopo Amore - 1998

♪♪♪♪♪- La curva dell'angelo - 2001

♪♪♪♪ - Cattura - 2003

♪♪♪ - Il Dono - 2005

♪♪♪♪ - Presente - 2009

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


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