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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Prisencolinensinainciusol, the Catchy Italian Pop Tune That Sounded Like It Had English Lyrics, However Was Really Gibberish (1972)

Yesterday a good friend and I have been standing on a New York Metropolis sidewalk, ready for the sunshine, when Stayin’ Alive started issuing at high quantity from a close-by automobile.

Pavlovian conditioning kicked in instantly.  We’d been singing together with the Bee Gees for practically a minute earlier than realizing that neither of us knew the lyrics. Like, in any respect.

Italian actor and musician Adriano Celentano’s cult basic, Prisencolinensinainciusol, conjures up the same response.

The distinction being that ought to I ever have to prep for karaoke, Stayin’ Alive’s lyrics are extensively obtainable on-line, whereas Prisencolinensinainciusol’s lyrics are type of anybody’s guess…nonsense in any language.

Celentano improvised this gibberish in 1972 in an try and recreate how American rock and roll lyrics sound wish to non-English-speaking Italian followers like himself.

As he informed NPR’s All Issues Thought-about by way of a translator throughout a 2012 interview:

Ever since I began singing, I used to be very influenced by American music and every thing People did. So at a sure level, as a result of I like American slang — which, for a singer, is far simpler to sing than Italian — I believed that I might write a tune which might solely have as its theme the lack to speak…I sang it with an indignant tone as a result of the theme was necessary. It was an anger born out of resignation. I delivered to gentle the truth that individuals don’t talk.

And but, his 1974 look within the above sketch on the Italian selection sequence System Due spurs strangers to make stabs at communication by sharing their finest guess transcriptions of Prisencolinensinainciusol’s lyrics in YouTube feedback, 51 years after the tune’s unique launch.

A sampling, anchored by the refrain’ iconic and unmistakeable “all proper:”


My eyes lie, mindless.
I assume I’m throwing pizza.

And the chilly wind sailor,
freezing chilly and icy in Tucson



My eyes are method so delicate
And it will get so chilly, it’s freezing

You’re the chilly, foremost, the identical one
Please let’s name ’em ‘n’ dance with my footwear off
All proper



My eyes smile mindless but it surely doesn’t go together with diesel all proper.



I don’t know why however I desire a maid to say I need pair of ice blue footwear with eyes…awight.


Prisencolinensinainciusol’s looping, throbbing beat is wildly catchy and imminently danceable, as evidenced by Celentano’s efficiency on System Due and that of the black clad dancers backing him up throughout an look on Milleluci, one other mid-70s Italian selection present, beneath.

The eye generated by these selection present segments – each lip synched – despatched Prisencolinensinainciusol up the charts in Italy, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the UK,  and even the US.

Its mixture of disco, hip hop and funk has proved surprisingly sturdy, inspiring remixes and covers, together with the one which served as thinker Slavoj Žižek‘s Eurovision Tune Contest entry.

Prisencolinensinainciusol has netted an entire new technology of followers by cropping up on Ted Lasso, Fargo, a industrial for spiced rum, and seemingly innumerable TikToks.

We’ll most likely by no means get a agency grasp on the lyrics, regardless of Italian tv host Paolo Bonolis‘ puckish 2005 try and goad befuddled native English speaker Will Smith into deciphering them.

Regardless of.

Celentano’s supremely assured supply of these indelible nonsense syllables is what counts, based on a YouTube viewer from Slovenia with fond reminiscences of taking part in in a rock band as a teen within the 1960’s:

That is precisely how we non-English-speakers sung the then hit songs. You discovered some starting elements of lyrics in order that the viewers acknowledged the tune. They heard it at Radio Luxembourg. From right here on it was precisely the identical model – exterior the refrain in fact. Adriano Celentano was at all times been a legend for us again in Slovenia.

h/t Erik B.

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– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and creator, most not too long ago, of Inventive, Not Well-known: The Small Potato Manifesto and Inventive, Not Well-known Exercise E book. Comply with her @AyunHalliday.

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