In 1972, Italian singer Adriano Celentano created a hit song that made no sense.
Upon first listen, anyone might mistake Celentano’s vocalization of “Prisencolinensinainciusol” for the voice of an American rocker the likes of James Brown. Ultimately though, the song was performed not in Italian or even in English but entirely in gibberish, however, with the intent of sounding like it was 100% American.
In the decades since its release, the song has made the jump from vinyl players to the internet, cropping up every few years to inspire interest on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
This is genius. Italian singer Adriano Celentano released a song in the 70s with nonsensical lyrics meant to sound like American English—to prove that Italians would just love any American song. And it was a hit. pic.twitter.com/mCZ6Phy6xH
— Khai (@ThamKhaiMeng) October 2, 2022
According to Rolling Stone Italia, Celentano decided to test his country’s obsession with American music by donning an American English accent while singing nonsensical lyrics (with the exception of the phrase "all right!")
By the time the song debuted, songs by American artists like Elvis Presley, Brenton Wood, and Georgie Fame had become number-one hits on Italy’s top-selling song charts. That year, “Imagine” by John Lennon appeared on Hit Parade Italia’s 1972 Singles Chart.
Decades later, in a 2012 interview with NPR about the song, Celentano said that his own love for American rock music also inspired him.
“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 explained. “And to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didn’t mean anything.”
Prior to the release of “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” Celentano had reeled in a solid audience, but his international recognition skyrocketed when he performed the song on television programs by Italy’s national public broadcasting system RAI.
These days, “Prisencolinensinainciusol’s” standing as an internet curio continues to thrive. The more it circulates on social media pages and sites, the more people marvel over the song’s impact and relatability — despite actually being gobbledygook that no one understands.
Have a listen to “Prisencolinensinainciusol” and be sure to dance if the music moves you.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com