Adriano Celentano


Italian celebrity Adriano Celentano (born in 1938) is what you’d call an ecletic artist. While he debuted at 19 as one of the first rock ‘n’ roll singers in the country, he soon made himself popular wearing many hats as songwriter, actor, dancer, director, comedian and more – always with incredible success.
His act is generally based in slapstick, built on unique, almost ape-like moves and expressions and a goofy and ironic character. You can watch an early and famous example in the online video of Prisencolinensinainciusol, a sendup of American rockers using nonsense lyrics that rose to viral status in the early 2000s, over thirty years after it was originally performed.

While you can easily read all about Celentano on the many websites dedicated to his official biographies, to actually understand the influence of this man on Italian culture you’d have to have witnessed firsthand his unending media coups. Celentano’s technique has always been to commandeer whatever medium he pleases, presenting himself in surprising new ways that in recent years cleverly mix his personal life with his characters.
Major examples of this strategy were a Christic phase in which he portrayed himself as a sort of possibly psychotic modern-day Jesus of Nazareth, or another few years during which he successfully self-styled as a surreal political commentator; later on he puzzled everyone by acting as an impenetrable, pensive philosopher of sorts (getting impossibly high ratings just by staring silently and immobile at the cameras for many minutes during prime time television) and so on.

During his lifelong performance he originated too many catchphrases and gestures to be counted, all of them however entered the Italian language. With time his shows have become less and less frequent but his clout somehow never appears to diminish. This leaded him to focus on his role of commenter on the conditions of Italy, especially concentrating on ecology, the need for a true separation of Church and State, and fighting the rampant corruption of politicians.