Updated: Dec 15, 2018
If you want to become more familiar with Italy, it’s a good idea to get to know who’s who in Italian pop culture. We’re talking musicians, actors, artists, etc because if you spend enough time here, you will face the question “Who’s your favorite Italian...?”. Now, to avoid looking like you just stepped off the plane into the land of art & culture (even if you just did) or looking like you just don't care, it’s good to get curious and start learning about the people who have influenced Italian culture.
To start, we want to introduce you to Adriano Celentano, a famous Italian singer, musician, composer, producer, actor, director and TV host. While maybe not as popular today with younger crowds, the effect he has had on Italy’s music scene can not be denied.
He is often credited with introducing Italy to Rock & Roll, sold over 150 million records of which he is also credited as the producer and the author of the lyrics (no small feat if you consider how many musicians today can neither play an instrument or write their own lyrics). He has been dubbed “il Molleggiato” or the “flexible one” because of his dancing skills, and has appeared in about 40 films.
Celentano was heavily inspired by American rock culture, fellow musician Elvis, and Jerry Lewis the actor. He eventually got his start in his home city of Milan during the 1950’s, where he joined his first rock band. From that point on, he got a record deal with Jolly Records where he recorded one of his first major hits, 240000 baci. Later on into his career, Celentano then founded the Italian record label Clan Celentano, which is still open today.
As an actor, he largely filmed many comedic roles and was a huge commercial success. During the 1970’s and 80’s his movies consistently topped the Italian box office ratings. His greatest work, in the eyes of critics, is his performance in Serafino that was directed by Pietro Germi.
Now, Celentano is 80 years old and somewhat removed from the public eye but he has forever cemented his role in Italian history.