Its Gibberish But Italian Pop Song Still Means Something

Its Gibberish, But Italian Pop Song Still Means Something

Its Gibberish, But Italian Pop Song Still Means Something

Celentano, now 74 years old, says that he wanted to break down language barriers and inspire people to communicate more.

Prisencolinensinainciusol is so nonsensical that Celentano didnt even write down the lyrics, but instead improvised them over a looped beat. When it was first released in 1972, Celentano says no one noticed it. But that didnt stop him from performing it several years later on Italian television. The second time was the charm: it immediately became No. 1 in Italy, as well as France, Germany and Belgium.

The name of the song is Prisencolinensinainciusol. Thats not a typo; in 1972 Italian pop star Adriano Celentano wanted to mimic what English sounds like to non-English speakers. Released 40 years ago this weekend, it became a monster hit in Europe.

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In November 1972, Italian pop star Adriano Celentano released a song that hit No. 1 in his home country, despite the fact it wasnt performed in Italian.

So at a certain point, because I like American slang which, for a singer, is much easier to sing than Italian I thought that I would write a song which would only have as its theme the inability to communicate, he says. And to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didnt mean anything.

From what I know, 10 years later, rap music exploded in the States, he says. I sang it with an angry tone because the theme was important. It was an anger born out of resignation. I brought to light the fact that people dont communicate.

The song, called Prisencolinensinainciusol, was written to mimic the way English sounds to non-English speakers.

Its Gibberish, But Italian Pop Song Still Means Something

But is that really what American English sounds like?

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Italian singer and director Adriano Celentanos hit song, Prisencolinensinainciusol was released 40 years ago this weekend.Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Imageshide caption

Its Gibberish, But Italian Pop Song Still Means Something

Its Gibberish, But Italian Pop Song Still Means Something

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The song has been characterized as everything from Euro-pop, funk, house and even the worlds first rap song none of which were Celentanos intention.

In fact, it wasnt performed in any language at all.

Ever since I started singing, I was very influenced by American music and everything Americans did, he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends onAll Things Considered,through interpreter Sim Smiley.

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