Gibberish rock song written by Italian composer to sound like English

In this remarkable and fully rockin' video, an Italian singer performs a rock piece whose lyrics are gibberish intended to sound like English. Entitled "What English Sounds Like to Foreigners," the video is meant to illustrate which English phonemes and syllables carry into the foreign ear, but I tell you what, it sounded like English to me, too, though like English as sung in such a way as to make it hard to decipher.

What English Sounds Like to Foreigners (via Making Light)

Update Thanks to commenter LukeWhite for this intelligence: "It's actually titled Prisencolinensinainciusol, written by Adriano Celentano wrote it in 1972."


    1. v e r y slow to catch onto this meme BoingBoing! Celantano is a legend in Italy, he wrote, sang an choreographed this, and my is generally considered to be ‘the precursor to every muscal innovation’ in that country and beyond (indeed, my Italian Father in Law considers this to be the fist Rap song, and therefoe that the Italians invented Rap)

  1. What’s more notable about the song is that it takes the form of a rap, but was written in 1972, making it a predecessor to modern rap.

    1. Agreed. This does seem ahead of its time. I had visions of Beck’s glory days when I heard this. I think he should cover it…

    2. Actually the predecessor to rap is toasting from Jamaica, which originated in the late 60s. This was brought over to New York in the 70s and evolved into rap.

    3. are you serious, this is nothing like rap! I mean sure the ending syllables seem to form some kind of rhyme scheme but so do most songs across any genre of music. This lacks the attitude and poetic flow as well as verse construction of rap.

    4. How is this in the form of a rap? If you’re going to generalize this as rap then this is not at all the first of it’s kind, there’s tons of singers from the 70’s that sound more like they’re talking than singing.

  2. The international language of funk. As a collector of musical steaming turds and frozen corndogs, I gotta say this is pretty tops.

  3. Fascinating — I’ve always wondered what English sounds like to a non-speaker. I get a similar experience with certain German accents — they’re as clipped and clear as received pronunciation, but I have no idea what they’re saying.

  4. Wow. Listening to this felt very familiar and yet odd. As a kid, every rock song sounded like this to me, even though I’m a native English speaker. I have verbal dyslexia, meaning that my brain has trouble turning sounds I hear into language. I’ve gotten very good at compensating by focusing on what people say and can comprehend nearly everything I hear now. But even now if there’s a lot of background noise, or if I zone out or stop paying attention everything I hear sounds like this. I always wondered what English sounded like to non-English speakers. Now I realize I knew all along. Cool!

    1. I have the same problem. For years I always thought ‘there’s a bad moon on the rise’ was ‘there’s a bath room on the right’

  5. Verily, this doth rock. The great part is that it sounds like English to me, a native English speaker. I wonder how Bill Hader’s Italian interviewer on SNL sounds to an Italian speaker.

    1. Finally I found a non-locked video. I’ve got to say, it sounds “convincing” at the beginning of the sentences but it drifts to Spanish when it keeps talking for too long in a row. He uses to finish some words with an “s” which does not exists in Italian; it is actually the way Italians speak fake Spanish. Funny though.

      1. As an Italian speaker, I have to say that’s excellent! Yeah, he does mess up with all his esses, but it sounds a lot like Italian TV does when its on in the background and I’m chatting with someone else.

    2. Hey Adam, I’m Italian and I speak both English and Italian fluently. To me Bill Hader’s character, Vinnie Vedecci, is the equivalent of this song here. Both are just giberish and they use the same technique. To me Vinnie Vedecci sounds exactly(possibly) as you hear the lyrics of this song.

  6. My enjoyment of classic rock, the genre burned into my neurons during adolescence, is an ability to not understand the lyrics. “Louie Louie” is a good example. After reading, and understanding, snippets of lyrics my enjoyment in the music dips. But, thankfully, they are quite easy to forget.

  7. Wow! If this is what English sounds like to foreigners, no wonder our music has such allure! We sound amazing! Let’s NEVER TELL them what the actual words are, because it would just be a big let-down.

  8. I just returned from Italy. English was everywhere. I didn’t encounter a single Italian who didn’t speak basic English in Rome. Many signs and billboards are in English. It was a bit depressing.

    1. Why is that depressing? Over 400 million people speak English as a first language, and only Chinese is spoken by more people. So it would make sense that a developed country like Italy would utilize the English language in advertisements, and it’s residents would to speak it.

      1. In fact, very few Italians in Italy speak more than rudimentary English, enough to give directions to tourists or sell them something. Once you get beyond that, you have to switch into Italian, if you can. And outside the tourist areas, even in places like Rome or Venice, practically no one speaks any English at all. By contrast, in small European countries, such as Sweden or the Netherlands, the natives find it necessary to speak foreign languages, and everyone seems to speak several.

    2. i’m from italy and i can say for sure that our billboards have also lots of italian songs. i mean, everybody knows that american and english songs are listened all over the world, even in italy, but italian music is not dead.
      or better still lots of new, young, italian singers are coming out, and i love them.

    3. i’m from italy and i can say for sure that our billboards have also lots of italian songs, i mean everybody knows that american and english songs are listened all over the world, even in italy, but italian music is not dead.
      or better still lots of new, young, italian singers are coming out, and i love them.

    4. Hi, I’m italian. The situation you’re talking about is about 40 years after the song was written. In 1972 you probably would have found NOBODY who could speak a single word in english.

  9. That was strangely unsettling. It’s what I imagine it’s like to have a form of aphasia; it seems like I should be able to understand the words, but I just can’t.

    Fortunately the music balances the creepiness in a pleasantly funkified way.

  10. there’s enough there to make a convincing actual-english translation, i’d say. what if the secrets of the world are revealed thus?

  11. I too have always wondered what English sounds like to foreign ears. To me, a native speaker, I can of course hear the resemblance to English, but it also sounds like a strange combination of French and German (maybe German-ish pronunciation with lots of French-ish words mixed in). I guess that makes sense, though, given the history of the English language. Thanks for posting this!

  12. To “foreigners”? Are the British foreigners? Americans are foreigners to the Brits, are they not? Or is our self-centered worldview so all-encompassing that people either talk “American” or else they must be some kind of aliens.

    1. Anonymous #19,
      if we’ve made contact with several races, can we ~collectively~ call them “Aliens”?
      Or is that like they’re from some other galaxy?

    2. Actually, when you think of foreigners are every country except America to me at least because I am American. Every country but Germany is foreign to Germans. So, logically it is different to hear people speaking differently, and American English is quite a bit different from British English.

  13. Over on someone has transcribed the song.

    To me the first word sounds like “freezing cold.” Maybe we could come up with an idea of what the english words are that inspired the gibberish words.

    “Prisencolinensinainciusol (sung) In de col men seivuan prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait Uis de seim cius men op de seim ol uat men in de colobos dai Trr… Ciak is e maind beghin de col bebi stei ye push yo oh Uis de seim cius men in de colobos dai Not is de seim laikiu de promisdin iu nau in trabol lovgiai ciu gen in do camo not cius no bai for lov so op op giast cam lau ue cam lov ai Oping tu stei laik cius go mo men iu bicos tue men cold dobrei gorls Oh sandei… Ai ai smai sesler eni els so co uil piso ai in de col men seivuan Prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait Uei ai sint no ai giv de sint laik de cius nobodi oh gud taim lev feis go Uis de seim et seim cius go no ben let de cius end kai for not de gai giast stei Ai ai smai senflecs eni go for doing peso ai In de col mein seivuan prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait lu nei si not sicidor ah es la bebi la dai big iour Ai ai smai senflecs eni go for doin peso ai In de col mein saivuan prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait lu nei si not sicodor ah es la bebi la dai big iour”

    1. Christopher Walken needs to read the lyrics to “Prisencolinensinainciusol”. Way awesomer than “Poker Face”.

      I also look forward to potential ukulele girl covers.

    2. The first words made me think of the words “beans and cornbread”, but now that you mention it, the sounds do more closely resemble “freezing cold”.

  14. Wow, excellent!

    The Italian playwright/actor Dario Fo does similar work, doing plays in languages that sound like they are French or English, but are gibberish.

    He said that one night he was to be performing a series of skits, and had planned on including that one. Then he discovered that some of the most distinguished French VIPs would be attending, and was worried about what they would think about his mangling of their language, but decided to go through with it anyway.

    At the end of the skit, there was a long awkward silence. Then one of the distinguished VIPs stood up and said “How wonderful it is that Mr Dario Fo has honored us with a play written in Old French!” where upon everyone cheered madly.

    At my university, I heard him do the “French” skit, which was wonderful, but heard that his “English” skit the next night was even more incredible to the crowd of English speakers.

    1. You can hear Dario Fo (Nobel laureate, BTW) speaking “English” in this clip on youtube (starts at ~5:00).

      Regarding how does Bill Hader sounds to an Italian, I don’t know. I’ve tried to watch some videos on NBC site but they’re geo-locked.

  15. I could actually understand most of the lyrics. I don’t have time to transcribe them now, but maybe I’ll work on it later.

  16. Wow, verbal dyslexia exists? I realized a long time ago that I had a difficult time processing words (particularly in music) audibly, while having virtually no difficulty processing the actual sounds I’m hearing. I have trouble having conversations in the midst of crowds, figuring out exactly what people are singing and will change one language to another in my head (if I’m expecting to hear French, I’ll hear French gibberish even if it’s something familiar).

    The first time I noticed this was in a French class years ago, when we were recording a mock commercial with the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” playing in the background. While I was familiar with the song, it began to sound like unintelligible French to me.

    As it remains, I’ve never lost my fluency in Gibberish. Small children love it and if I hear something that doesn’t make sense I start speaking gibberish back.

  17. I guess this doesn’t impress me that much because its exactly like what I did when I was a kid and would “speak French” then proceed to utter a bunch of nonsense mimicking what I knew of the sound of the French language. It was pretty funny, but I was 8 at the time.

    That said, I like the song! :)

  18. My wife has broca’s aphasia triggered by migraines, so every so often she’ll start talking like this (and then have a blinding headache for hours). The first time it happened, I thought something was wrong with ME, since she was so clearly speaking English.

  19. I think alot of people have done this with French, German, Spanish, Italian, etc. at some point (usually childhood). That said, I liked the song, but the words sounded like Bob Dylan lyrics.

  20. Other particular observation of note:

    * The heavy snare drums hit only on beat 2, not 2 and 4 as is common in much dance music. This makes it feel somewhat slower than it actually is, but elements like the harmonica solo later on work in dynamic contrast.

    * This would mix well with Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” and Junkie XL’s “Little Less Conversation” Elvis remix, both of which carry groovy tinges of the 70s.

    * I wonder if some of the choreography would later, either directly or through further hops, inspire the Chemical Bros.’ “Let Forever Be”.

    * “Oll raigth” is really “All right”.

    What a catchy tune, regardless of language. Production and singsongy quality is tops!

    1. lol @ trying to sound all in the know about music etc and not even being able to tell whether the snare falls on 2 (it doesn’t) or 1

  21. I’ve been told that English sounds like barking dogs to non-speakers, and I can believe that, but rock music demands English (or an amazing English simulation); no other language sounds quite right.

    1. Rock Music does not “demand English”. Rammstein is German and they’re pretty much awesome. I’m sure there are other bands too.

  22. Reminds me (in concept) of the early work from love spirals downwards, a goth/darkwave duo with some of the most gorgeous etheral/shoegaze ever let loose on the universe.

    Suzanne was asked about the lyrics and said it’s all gibberish, sounds meant to imply French and Latin. I always loved that I couldn’t get caught up in the lyrics or the meaning, made the music better and more freeing to listen to.

    love spirals downwards – Love’s Labours Lost

    I *highly* recommend getting all of their albums, definitely the first 3.

  23. That’s great! I record albums in French gibberish as sort of a hobby. I wish there was an entire genre of this, where the voice becomes an instrument unto itself with phonetics in place of words.

  24. LOL.

    I can turn off my comprehension sometimes, listening to English with full attention, but only as a sound, not processing the language.

    It’s tricky. Like looking at stereograms with your bare eyes, no stereoscope.

  25. kinda like Hot Rod Lincoln slowed down

    also, the outro of WKRP in Cincinnati is a another type of fake-words rock and roll, probably the best ever.

  26. I’ve always had extreme difficulty understanding the lyrics of songs. Even when I can parse a few words, they basically are gibberish or very short sentence fragments that have very little meaning by themselves.

    I’m constantly being told that some of the music I listen to is very sad even when the music itself seems upbeat because of the lyrics I’ve never understood.

    That said, this song pretty much sounds like any other song to me.

    1. I’ve always had extreme difficulty understanding the lyrics of songs.

      Me too. I think the rhythm overwhelms me. I can’t read metered poetry, either. Shakespeare is tough.

  27. What I really like is that “OK” gesture he keeps making. I’m going to start doing that. It’s going to be my new thing.

  28. Not only does he manage to capture the essence of our music, but also our national foreign and domestic policy as well.

  29. I had just gotten this song out of my head. Now it’s back in there again, not that I’m complaining. I love the beat.

  30. Anonymous | #31 | 10:20 on Thu, Dec.17 | Reply Report
    WHat English sounds like to foreigners”? SHouldn’t we be the foreigners? to him?

    not if you’re an american

  31. As an English English speaker:
    – HE sounds a bit more like a native Dutch speaker to me, speaking something that may be English or Dutch
    – The first female singer/soloist sounds very Germanic
    – THEY do sound like English singers – albeit trying to sing “rock” – which demands a transatlantic accent. The Alrights are a cheat – just enough of a cue to fool you into thinking it IS English.
    “Get up in the morning, baked beans for breakfast,
    Sold out to every monk and beef-head,
    Oh, oh, me ears are alight”

    1. Yes, it sounds to me like Dutch with all the g’s and ch’s taken out. Which is pretty much just English.

  32. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of english words in there.

    The whole thing sounded a lot more like English to me than anything I ever heard a cab driver say in Edinburgh.

  33. I love listening to music with unintelligible vocals, mainly because most rock lyrics are stupid, to begin with.

    French hip-hop, in particular is great to listen to…it just drips with attitude, but I don’t understand a word of it, and I think I enjoy it more, for that reason…

  34. @#47 aloisius & #50 jaytkay

    I am so glad I’m not the only one! I never hear meaning in a song’s lyrics unless I read them. Vocal lines are like an instrument which changes timbre every note/sound. I hear the music not the meaning.

    That’s why I listen to a lot of music in languages I don’t speak; it saves me the frustration of trying to understand the lyrics and my inevitable self-pity that I cannot! :)

    1. I too am another who hears vocals more as another instrument than the actual words. I can eventually figure out what is being said, but it takes repeated listenings, paying close attention or reading them online.

      Some songs are easy to discern, but anything other than that I am usually just following the melody of the vocals as opposed to the words.

  35. when I was a boy much english lyrics songs I heard on the radio those days, until I grew and started to learn english then I started to realize many times the lyrics… actually didnt make justice to the music.
    Im native spanish speaker, can speak german with native accent,really enjoy that. But never was abble to speak english with native accent or leave away my latin accent, I just cannt stretch nor “put the mouth” like u r saying a plain “a” (a like in german or spanish, PLAIN) and pretend to say a plain “e”. To me the clearest english is from ppl from canada (actually I cannt distiguish accents from different states inside usa, maybe texan, or other southern accents, are like been chewing gum all the time while u speak). English from London, specially from some ppl was totally ununderstandable to me.
    There are many words (dont remember now) wich sound perfectly the same when spoken, this is not new anyway

    1. Look for “Muoviti Muoviti” from Jovanotti, an italian ex-rapper (now writes different, but very good songs) in Youtube. Another good example of brass section.

  36. This is great on it’s own but even better as it is reminiscent of the phenomenal “gibberish” song Chaplin sings at the end of Modern Times. (starts at ~2:40)

    1. Anonymous #79
      This is great on it’s own but even better as it is reminiscent of the phenomenal “gibberish” song Chaplin sings at the end of Modern Times.

      Watching Claudette Colbert in that movie makes me feel all funny down there.

  37. This is awesome. It sounds enough like english that even though I know it’s gibberish, I keep finding myself unconsciously trying to make out what he’s singing.

    1. This is my problem. Because I’m an English speaker, my mind is trying very hard to make out the words and turn into some sort of sense. Just like what the brain does with optical illusions.

      I don’t think my experience listening to this song is the same as how non-English speakers feel listening to English music. When I listen to a song in a language I don’t speak, my mind doesn’t try to make sense out of it. Then again, everybody’s mileage may vary.

  38. …Hey, not only is this Adriano Celentano, but the sassy dancer with the blond bob is Raffaella Carra, I’ll bet you anything.

    1. Yes, the blonde girl is Raffaella Carra, she is now an Spanish, well, she has been for a long time now.

  39. Very cool post. I’ve always wondered what English might sound like to a non-speaker….

    I tend to gravitate to songs based soley on the sound of the music and vocals – but rarely to what the actual lyrics are. Later after repeated listens I’ll eventually start to suss out the lyrics and either still like the song or really hate it.

    On another note, my wife always gets the lyrics on listen #1 and bases her opinion of the song that way.

  40. We used to do this sort of stuff as (theoretical) Linguistics grad students. It’s fairly easy to make/get rules for a language’s syllabic structure and stress patterns. Then you can put together as many “properly formed syllables for language X” and have a decent sound-alike approximation.

    If you’re more computationally minded, it would be easy to take a corpus and get real phoneme, syllable and word-length distributions and make it *very* similar.

    1. Love that, I’ve been laughing for 5 minutes the first time I saw it. The fact that the Italian grammar is rubbish only adds to the fun.

    2. unfair comparison to even mention that. looks like about a trillion times less creative energy was put into making that family guy clip, but that’s the way it goes.

  41. Anonymous Wrote:

    I just returned from Italy. English was everywhere. I didn’t encounter a single Italian who didn’t speak basic English in Rome. Many signs and billboards are in English. It was a bit depressing.

    To which I reply:

    Go to Milan. You won’t have this problem.

  42. If you would like a full length movie were only the narrator speaks a real language and everything else is in faked languages (or rather Swedish spoken as if it was other languages(*) or other languages spoken as if they were Swedish; think of it as a supercharged “‘Allo ‘Allo!” that is actually funny, written by intellectuals and played by actors that actually speak the languages they mock, sometimes as their mother tounge), I can recommend “Picassos äventyr”. There are a lot of cuts on youtube and other places on the ‘net, search for the Swedish title or “The Adventures of Picasso”, “Picassové dobrodružstvá”, “Abenteuer des Herrn Picasso”.

    It was a huge success in some countries around the world. Despite the dialog in (some kind of) Swedish, the only translation needed was that of the narrator.

    Here are the comments on IMDB:

    (*) This is rather easy as Swedish is a very macaronic language.

  43. This singer enunciates more clearly than early REM-era Michael Stipe. Deciphering REM lyrics used to be a party game we’d play with friends and family, and we would have done better with this song.

  44. AND, if you really want to blow your brains off, you have to know that mr. Celentano (the singer, I mean) is also VERY famous in Italy for his Christic schizophrenia – every few years, he comes up in his Saviour persona, going as far as investing huge sums to produce whole feature movies about the “second coming”, with himself in the neo-Jesus role.

    Or I could tell you the story of his television shows, where he spent minutes-long stretches staring in-camera, utterly mute (or ranting about voting “I am the seal, the seal is my friend” at quite serious elections, messing up the ballots of a whole nation).

  45. OMFG. You’ve given me a Christmas present – that’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all year. Top chaps you are – top.

  46. It does sound a lot like “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (which is rappy, too, and before this) and a bit like Elvis.

    And I heard “colored balls die.”

  47. Fantastic. English is not my first language- I listen to this and I feel like I’m six again, listening to the radio, not understanding a thing :D

  48. It’s like Beck lyrics.

    Starting at 00:35:

    We been staying to choose, and on hold being stained
    And the horror and the maid-bee and the color-boss died

    Chickens in mind, pecking the cold
    Baby says stay your pistol home

    We been staying to choose, and on hold being stained
    And the horror and the maid-bee and the color-boss died

    Baby says, “Say man, bring the coffee and steam
    You never talk you never judge it’s called babies and jam”

    You been coming up to choose a wife I’m not sure
    How the homeless and kid squealed a couple of times

    Oh an innocent stand like the shoes of ‘Cumber man
    Give the cost to them and call two braided girls

    (My eyes are sizzling
    (And here’s some golden deisel

    (You’re the cold man’s cinema
    (Reason called and it’s an old chainsaw
    (All right)

    (My eyes — mine — senseless
    (And it goes with flowing bee-cell

    (Reason called and it’s an old chainsaw
    (All right)

    Well last you know sleeping and the kid on the scene
    Till all the CHiPS and old Hoff all had a good time
    (Left face, bro)

    We been seeing in The Stand, and the shoes of ‘Cumber pan
    There’s two ugly cards and four under crying the stage

    (My eyes by chance let…
    (It helps to go with breezy

    (You to call with madam, stay one
    (Please don’t call my mission and choose one
    (All right)

    Your dress you don’t bill keeping ottoman door
    Yes baby that’s hands I’m beatin’ your…

    (My eyes are crying senseless
    (And it gets so we want deisel

    (You’re the cold magazine one
    (Please recall it’s not an old two-cell
    (All right)

    Your dress you’re not Bill seeking ottoman door
    Yes, baby, that’s nice till I’m beatin’ your…

  49. I heard this tune in 1975 or 1974 when an Italian friend put it on a turntable to play for me. She explained that was nonsense but intended to sound like English and she wanted to know if it was convincing to me, an American. And it had a remarkable effect on me. I could swear if I just listened closely enough, I’d be able to make out the lyrics. It moved along just out of intelligibility. I loved it!

    And I’m so happy to have discovered it again through Boing Boing.


  50. To think some bored Star Trek fan will adopt this as a language and create a culture based on this one video.

  51. OMG what we need now is for someone to show “translated” english subtitles like that gut-bustingly silly “fart in the duck” song “transliterated” from Dutch.

  52. Wow, Adriano Celentano! I saw a lot of his movies in the 80’s, funny guy …and a rocker! I’ve never seen this stuff… is really cool. And it does sound like english.

  53. You would like this too. It’s an Icelandic sketch show from the 90s where on a panel show the they get a “foreign” specialist (meaning mostly American) to discuss women.

    The show is making fun of the way young children in Iceland sometimes imitate American English (might not do it anymore – kids are getting fluent before they start school these days). I remember playing with my tin soldiers and they’d be shouting commands at each other in mock “American” like I saw in the war films on TV. I don’t think I was the only one.

    I won’t go into translating the subtitles but they don’t make much sense either. Mostly child-like speculation on how the female body works – like that women pee with their butt.

  54. Something is fishy here:
    If this song was truly recorded in 1972, why is there a huge Roland TR909 backbeat? Is this a remix? The Roland TR909 did not come out until 1982, and that is CLEARLY a 909 hihat and snare (can’t tell what’s up with the kick on my laptop speakers), so what gives??

    1. Hmmm…Luke White’s comment did say it was written in 1972. Perhaps this isn’t the first recording.

      Heh! Your BB handle is an anagram of mine.

    2. Err… unless I’m really confused, I’m pretty sure that the color version is a fairly modern rendition, and that the black-and-white version is cut in from a (more) original video. The more modern version may also have a more modern beat track.

    3. I tell you what gives: you are wrong.
      Although this video is actually a splice-up of two different performances, one made in 1972-3 and the other definitely later (colour TV was not broadcasted in Italy until 1975):
      I can say that the song you hear here is the same one that was relaesd in the 1973 album “Nostalrock” as I am listening to it right, as I’m writing.
      So I think it might be Roland that owes Adriano some credit at very least…..

  55. More like, “What an American southern accent sounds like to non English speakers. Yes, yes, very droll. And I’ll have you know what I sound nothing like a harmonica…y’all.”

  56. This is an awesome awesome clip.

    But just hold on with that “precursor of rap” title or have you forgotten Gil Scott Heron, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised?


    1. Maybe if they copied our legal system Amanda Knox wouldn’t have to sit in jail for 26 years.

      Ummm yeah…because the USA exempts stpd sknk whrs from the laws against first degree murder.

      1. “Ummm yeah…because the USA exempts stupid skank whores from the laws against first degree murder”

        That, or the USA doesn’t put people in prison for 26 years without having at least a little more evidence than the creation scientists on the God channel.

    2. friendpuppy wrote:

      > Maybe if they copied our legal system Amanda Knox wouldn’t have to sit in jail for 26 years.

      Or maybe she would be dead… :-)

  57. Watching Claudette Colbert in that [Modern Times] makes me feel all funny down there.

    Doh! And 3 hours later I remember that was actually Paulette Goddard.

  58. Here is the video with subtitles in the spirit of CCR’s “There’s a bathroom on the right”. Toberoni found words that more or less match the sounds the singers are producing. Of course the singers weren’t saying actual words but with them on the screen the brain (at least mine) is tricked into interpreting the gibberish sounds as words albeit words that don’t make sense. It is yet another interesting aspect of this song.

  59. Fantastic! Many years ago, I had a friend in Japan who spoke almost no English. I asked him to do an imitation of what Americans sound like and it was basically “Cool, man! Yeah! Yeah! Cool! Man!” over and over in a very whitebread accent. It was great.

  60. sooooo Let Forever Be!!! Michel Gondry HAD to see this at some point…some of the moves, and the whole mirror thing are SO similar! that video is def one of my all-time favorites!

    also, its funny because when i write songs for people, i first sing random syllables that sound the best with the tempo and rhythm, and then fill them in with words that make sense and convey a point. i’ll need to try this, but in French, and without the last step!

  61. Wow I had no idea anyone had done that. I’ve been wanting to start a project for almost a decade that would be quite similar to this. I want to gather recordings of children around the world “faking” speaking languages they don’t actually speak. Now I REALLY want to get working on it.

  62. The first experiment was by another Italian singer which is much much serious than Celentano: Lucio Dalla, who performed a kind of scat using a fake English

  63. I’m from Italy, the song used in the video sounds like the original 1972 release to me. Celentano did a remix in the early 1990’s though. The vocal part was the same as far as I know, maybe he used a drum machine for the backbeat, but I doubt it, he always employs the same drummer, a guy called Gianni Dall’Aglio,

  64. The irons of this is even taken further when you know, that Italians lack some Phonemes to properly speak English. Phonemes are trained in early childhood and never again after (which is why native chinese cannot pronnounce “r”, they can learn to emulate ist, but they are nor able to hear or speak it). So du Italians lack some english phonemes, which results ina an accent makes their english sound very clumsy even if they have perfekt grasp of the language. No wonder it is an Italian then to make fun of it. Its a bit of national revenge on the artistic level. I love it.

  65. Warning: bad English

    This song makes me remember what I miss the most about being unable to speak English; songs lyrics used to make no sense to me (I’m French). Now I can’t listen to Britney Spears, Madonna, or any Rap song (with the exception of Eminem) because I understand the lyrics. And they’re awful.
    I hate understanding what people sing, which is why I don’t listen to French, German (Rammstein was ruined forever when I began to understand what they were saying) or Spanish songs.

    I made my brother listen to that song, he can’t believe it’s not in English, because that’s how American sound to him.

    Oh and my favourite movie as a kid was The Blues Brothers. I though they were singing gibberish and I used to sing along.
    My rendition of Rawhide: “Lolén lolén lolén […] LoHAAAD! lolén lolén lolén, Do ze strim ar solén, Kip dem dogiz lolén, Loharrr…”

    In English “Rollin rollin rollin (x4)
    Rollin rollin rollin
    Though the streams are swollen
    Keep them doggies rolling

  66. I’m amazed that no one yet has mentioned Richard Feynman’s mastery of fake Italian:

    “There were a number of Italian people living near us in New York. Once while I was riding my bicycle, some Italian truck driver got upset at me, leaned out of his truck, and, gesturing, yelled something like, “Me aRRUcha LAMpe etta Tiche!”

    I felt like a crapper. What did he say to me? What should I yell back?

    So I asked an Italian friend of mine at school, and he said, “Just say, ‘A te! A te!’–which means ‘The same to you! The same to you!”

    I thought it was a great idea. I would say ‘A te! A te!” back–gesturing, of course. Then, as I gained confidence, I developed my abilities further. I would be riding my bicycle, and some lady would be driving in her car and get in the way, and I’d say, “PUzzia a la maLOche!”–and she’d shrink! Some terrible Italian boy had cursed a terrible curse at her!

    It was not so easy to recognize it as fake Italian. Once, when I was at Princeton, as I was going into the parking lot at Palmer Laboratory on my bicycle, somebody got in the way. My habit was always the same: I gesture to the guy, “oREzze caB ONca MIche!”, slapping the back of one hand against the other.

    And way up on the other side of a long area of grass, there’s an Italian gardener putting in some plants. He stops, waves, and shouts happily, “REzza ma LIa!”

    I call back, “RONte BALta!”, returning the greeting. He didn’t know I didn’t know, and I didn’t know what he said, and he didn’t know what I said. But it was OK! It was great! It works! After all, when they hear the intonation, they recognize it immediately as Italian–maybe it’s Milano instead of Romano, what the hell. But he’s an iTALian! So it’s just great. But you have to have absolute confidence. Keep right on going, and nothing will happen.”

    (from Surely You’re Joking)

    He goes on to describe reciting a poem in fake Italian to amuse a herd of Girl Scouts. Great stuff. Comedy gold.

  67. This was a smashing dance hit in Belgium where I grew up. It catapulted Adriano Celentano to rock star status there. As a teen my English was minimal and although the title was clearly not English (and we knew of course Celentano was Italian), I always assumed the rest of the song was English indeed. We did sing along with the title though. Ah, those days of teen innocence… Thanks for the memories!

  68. This is clearly a relative of the Man From Another Place (Mike’s arm). This is what music videos are like in the Black Lodge.

  69. wow. Almost, I could understand what was being sung. I definitely heard something about giving a man some shoes.

    and I LOVE the choreography. Good tune, too.

  70. What is also bizarre is that this song was covered and released as a single by cockney UK comedian and soap-star Mike Reid in the ’70s.

  71. A few friends and I, all American men, encountered a group of small school children in a museum in Seoul. As soon as they saw us they started doing this low-pitched, slow, “stupid” sounding gibberish. It took me a few moments to realize they were imitating American speech, in the same way that my friends and I had imitated Asian speech with sing-songy gibberish when I was a kid. It was a very interesting peek into what it’s like to hear American English as a foreign language.

  72. This has nothing to do with article, but I think it is amusing, so I will share it:

    I was at a (computer) trade show. I reached the end of an aisle, where there was a booth, and a man waiting to make eye-contact with everyone who approached. Since it was at the end of an aisle, there was no alternative *but* to make eye contact (at which point he expected to make his sales pitch).

    He asked me if I needed (whatever his product was).

    I said to him, in perfect English with no accent,

    “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak English.”

    He was speechless. Hahaahhahahaha…

    1. #157 I was once in Budapest, and discovered that most of the locals assumed that any “foreigners” were German (I am American.) This was in the mid-90’s when things were just opening up in the East, and a common thing was to be approached by a person on the street offering to exchange currency. One man approached me and made an offer in what I knew was non-native German, and I responded in my extremely limited German that, “I don’t speak German.” He yelled at my back as I walked away, in German, “If you don’t speak German then how did you just tell me you don’t speak German in German?” He had a point, I must admit.

  73. Really, I thought this was written by Eddie Vetter. I mean, change the horns with a Fender guitar and it might very well be a Pearl Jam song. It might be a follow-up to the song Yellow Ledbetter.

  74. Then there’s this from Cowboy Bebop:

    I believe that the singer is Yoko Kanno, and it’s gibberish. Pure, beautiful gibberish.

  75. Hahahaha Do you mean this is not english??!!? I know this video from before and I just thought it was unintelligible. Is even performed by Rafaella Carra! Great!!

  76. Having learned Italian, in part by listening to music, I find this interesting. The Italian rock music was just as unintelliglible to me then (and some still is), but really helped me learn. Now I listen to spanish (south american and mexican) rock to similar effect. Some times I catch whole sentences, but most of the time I’m just along for the ride. In the end, the word meaning are not the most important part of the enjoyability of the song.

  77. I guess I’m weird in that this sounded completely like gibberish and almost nothing like the English language. Sometimes he uses parts of real words but mashes them together to make the gibberish. I enjoyed it because it’s supposed to be a parody, but I honestly would never, ever mistake that for actual English.

  78. Bravo, I had seen that other “what english sounds like to foreigners” video and it wasn’t even close to mimicing English. This is the real deal. Good job.

  79. As a student who is teaching ESL in college, I’m often around internationals and their families. It’s fascinating to compare the speech of Pakistanis to that of Latinos or Philippinos, but I’ve always wondered what English sounds like when you can’t understand it. I’ll zone out sometimes and miss key words in a conversation, or misinterpret several lines in a song, but nothing compares to hearing it like this! I’m glad I read the title of this video first before I watched it or I would’ve been very concerned for my comprehension!

  80. I don’t think you can say that this is what English sounds like to “foreigners”. I believe the most you can say is that this is what it sounds like to Italian speakers. Speakers of a different language might notice other features of English, and to them it might sound completely different.

  81. The dancing is pretty mush AWSEOME.

    English kind of sounds gibberish anyway, this video makes you not really care.

  82. Haha. It really does sound like English. Sort of. It sounds what most songs sound like to me when I don’t know the words.

  83. I liked it a lot, love the rockin sound, and it sounds a whole lot like some songs I’ve heard, but it makes me wonder if other language speakers wonder how they sound to English speakers. Hum, are there any more gibberish videos out there?

    1. You are not the first one to notice that: when Celentano first auditioned for the Italian national TV broadcast company (RAI), sometimes back in the 50’s or early 60’s, he was dismissed as a caricature of “Elvis crossed over with Jerry Lewis”, that has always been the trademark of his stage persona: pushing the antics of Elvis to the point of parody, in a way that makes him look more like JL.
      His nickname his “il molleggiatto” (the springed man, more or less) not by coincidence! (^_^)

  84. Here’s something similar from Norway. The artist Trond Viggo Torgersen’s combined parody of Elton John and how Norwegian children often uses some kind of make-believe language when they are singing popsongs. And it’s a nice performance too. Norwegian up to 00.30, then the makebelieve-english starts.

    The whole song here, but no footage:

  85. This song was popular in Italy when I lived there from 1973-75. Andrea Celentano was known as the Italian Elvis and was very well known. I remember when i first heard this song that it was quite an eye-opener to me as to how I sounded to others. It also encouraged me to learn Italian better. What fun memories to see this performance and hear it again.

  86. Hmmmm…. doesn’t to me as an American… maybe he’s mimicking British ?! I mean, there’s Brits, Irish, Australians, that I can’t even understand !!!

  87. I’m glad other people use the word “creepy” to describe that. I actually felt a bit of frustration, thinking I should be able to understand the lyrics but being unable to. I don’t want to have that experience again.

  88. It seems like there are lyrics in there. I dont know if its just my minds creativity but I can pick out parts that seem to become words or phrases of real english in there.

  89. I’d say not only is he the founder of modern rap, he even beat Michael Jackson at his own choreography game!
    Too bad he’s not nearly as creative these days…

  90. Awesome. As a french guy (so what he calls ‘foreigner’) it sounds every bit like a Rolling Stones song or a U2 or whatever. It actually _was_ a slight disappointement when later on as my knowledge of English progressed and I started uncovering the mistery behind the gibber.

  91. Well, Yoko Kanno apparently has one or two sets of vocabularies that sound vaguely like English or French to be used in constructing songs.

    Jon Anderson has something similar for Italian apparently that he used in his Italian Song, which is meant to sound like Italian but is not.

    Must be others out there.

  92. Couldn’t read *all comments, but guys this was fun.
    Being Italian, this has always been part of what you would define “common pop(ular) culture”. This song has always been there, for us. Verrrrry famous, huge.
    Italy was great at the time and lots of experimental music made it to the pop universe… Celentano being one of those guys who influenced the whole country.

    It’s good to read what native english speakers say: mind you, this song always sounded to us italians as “the way english sounds when you don’t know any of it”. But we knew all along it’s complete gibberish, and that was a big part of the fun of the song.
    And yes, it was rap, we invented it in this country hehehe ;)

  93. The black haired girl in the video who stands up and sings a couple of lines is Claudia Mori, Adriano Celentano’s wife.

  94. Too lazy and pressed for time to see if anybody has put this up but this is the first thing I thought of when I saw this. Warning NSFW.

  95. ok guys, this is not a random guy ! adriano celentano is part of our music history, he’s an ecleptyc legend !
    i’m sure you heard of “Azzurro” and other songs.
    now you understand why english sounds to us perfect for singing and songs, and you are being so successful here in europe. even if most of the people here don’t understand the lyrics, it’s just awesome to listen to.
    and for the dude that just got back from rome, saying that everyone here knows the language, i don’t know what he’s into. i wish it were like that! we italian, or at least a very high percentage of us , don’t know a word of english, and it’s kinda sad for a so called “developed country” part of the g8!!! in many aspect we are a freaking third world country !!

  96. For those of you looking for the root of the rap please allowed me to suggest to hear the original version of “Trouble Every Day” a Frank Zappa song published in the 1966 inside the “Freak Out” album.

  97. At the end fo the 50s, Milan’s musical scene became all of a sudden very rich with a new generation of musicians and singers, who had forged their ear listening to records slipped through mysetorious way from the UK. Those records were rock and roll hits sung by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and, of course, Elvis. Those guys were the first to introduce new standards in the somewhat frozen scene of the Italian “melodic” music; this new music was known in Milan, funnily enough, as “boogie woogie”. Giorgio Gaber, Enzo Jannacci, Ricky Gianco and many others took part in this silent “revolution”. In fact, Adriano Celentano emerged as the number one (although many others had remarkable careers). They were not English speakers at all, but it was normal for them to sing songs such as “Love me tender”, “Hound dog” and many others just reproducing the voices they heard. They sang without knowing the meaning of the words, and there are remarkable versions of those hits sung by Celentano, for example. “Prisencolinensinainciusol” is the touch of the genius (and Celentano definitely is one); years later, he put together all the english “lemmas” he had collected through years, and produced lyrics which make no sense, but carry with them the reminiscence of all the old rock and roll standards he ahd “absorbed”. This song is a linguistic laboratory. This happens and demonstates that genius lives everywhere.

  98. Ciao bella gente,
    Celentano è stato antesignano nel genere musicale e nello stile di vita e mi fa piacere che venga scoperto seppur a distanza di molti anni anche oltreoceano.
    Tanti saluti dall’Italia e buon Natale

  99. Celentano is one of the greatest artist on Earth… I am just happy that, just by chance, a lot of people in USA and in U.K. can fall in love with him… as we ALL are in Italy and in other countries (i.e. Russia). Ste

  100. the blond chick dancing is Raffaella Carrà, she is an actress in Von Ryan’s Express with Frank Sinatra (1965)

  101. …and it is more remarkable if you think that in 1972 Adriano was telling us that people were no more communciating…so no need to write e meaningfull comprehensible song, just use sound to go through..

  102. guys just to remember that celentano sold around 150ml LPs around the world, happy u discover him now!! :-) that’s a sign of globalisation..what’s next?

  103. Adriano is the most important and popular artist in Italy. Singer,actor,presenter,ballet dancer,film director.A mixture among yours Elvis, Dylan, Sinatra and Chaplin.He has sung marvelous songs of love and on social theme.Very famous in Europa and in Russia.Frank Sinatra invited him in USA but he has never come because it is afraid to fly.
    Listen his songs on youtube..and look his ballets.Some texts are translated in English, for the other you asks if someone translates.themsome are written by a true poet of the music Italian named Mogol!!The films translated in English there are not unfortunately.. sinned.. you would have made so many laughters!!

  104. lyrics:

    in de col men selvuan
    ol rait
    uis de seim cius nau
    op de seim ol ualt
    men in de
    colobos dai
    tr… ciak is e
    maind beghin de col
    bebi stei ye
    push yo oh
    uis de seim cius nau
    op de seim ol
    ualt men in de
    colobos dai
    not is de seim
    laikiu de promisdin
    iu nau in trabol
    lovgial ciu gen
    in do camo not clus
    no bal for lov
    so op giast cam
    lau ue cam lov ai
    oping to stein
    laik cius go mo men
    iu bicos tue mer
    cold dobrei gorls
    oh sandei
    ai ai smai sesler
    eni els so co
    uil piso ai
    in de col men seivuan

  105. demenziale, questa song. l’italia era piccola piccola, scimiottava l’america.
    però adriano celentano è un grande.


    1. @Anonymous | #249 |così dice: < <..demenziale, questa song. l'italia era piccola piccola, scimiottava l'america.>>

      Perchè adesso l’italia è diventata grande???
      Ora veramente siamo piccoli, piccoli.

      però adriano celentano è un grande.
      Non c’era bisogno che ce lo ricordassero gli americani :)

  106. here’s Mike Patton with Mr Bungle covering “24.000 baci”, another adriano celentano popular song


  107. As one already noted, the blond chick is Raffaella Carra’, an Italian singer-performer-TV show host, quite popular in Italy as well as in Spain and in most Spanish-speaking countries ( The video is a mix of two different ages (so tosay): the footage in b/w dates back to early 70s (taken from the most popular TV show of these times), while the color footage is early 80s (my guess, more details appreciated). In the colour footage there’s a cameo of Adriano Celentano’s wife: the lady standing up is in fact Claudia Mori, a singer herself, acting today as a judge in a popular Italian TV talent show.

  108. This song, as a kid (i was 4 when it topped the charts) was a sort of “bugging addiction” at the time it was released. As you can appreciate, the arrangement is very “different” from what used to come out at that time in Italy (for those of you who are acquainted with italian music of the 70s). As it was so “revolutionary” at the time, it took this single almost a year to top the charts so, even if it was released in 1972, it had its peak in 1973. More or less the whole Italy has always asked itself “what does Prisencolinensinainciusol” mean?” and the result was… nothing: the most accepted version states that Celentano wanted to make a song that “didn’t mean anything or, maybe, a prayer to Lord in the “Lingua Celentana” (celentanian language). The latter is the most credible reason as, in fact, he wrote two other songs in this so-called language: “Quel Signore del piano di sopra” (“the Man who lives upstairs”(the Lord) which exists also in italian language) and “Uel Mae Sae” which was on a single who sold poorly. I don’t know if anybody has already said it, but mr. Celentano did self-sample himself in a 1994 song he released called “il seme del rap” (the roots of rap, even if “seme” means “seed” i think “roots” is the best way to convey the meaning) in which he claims being the first to use rap as an art form. Btw this song is still used in clubs (sometimes, when the mood is right and the bpms allow it) and people still go crazy about it.

  109. I’m an italian funk dj, I’ve started playing music in the late 70s and this album never left my bag. Unfortunately Celentano never made anything as funky ever since. Still, this (and other more tame tunes still danced like this) earned him the nickname Il molleggiato, which means “the man on springs”. He’s also well known for his ultra-catholic stance on abortion, divorce, etc.

  110. HI everybody, I’m an italian blogger and I can answer at some questions:
    -the blonde woman is the bigger italian showgirl RAFFAELLA CARRA
    – the second female voice is the beautiful woman with long black hair, that is CLAUDIA MORI, the wife of Adriano (they are married from the ’60 since today). Curently Claudia is the third judge of the italian talent show “x-factor”)
    – once I read that Adriano never came in America because is afraid to fly with airplane, so he preferred to have success only in Italy.

    CIAO RAGAZZI, and sorry for my bad english
    AMANDA :)))

  111. Dear Cory, I don’t know where you find Adriano’s video, maybe on my FB page since I shared it not long time ago (2 month).Adriano has always been far ahead in all his songs.
    Just a pity that his songs are in Italian so that most English speaking people are not aware of what he says, but I can guarantee you that whatever he says in his songs is 10-15 years ahead and that it always became true. I consider Adriano a sort of genius.
    Frank Voce

  112. It’s maybe the very first Rap!

    Finally after The Roman Empire, The Pope, Mafia, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Fascism, Cagliostro, Hell, The Radio, Tiber River, pasta, American Drug Trade, Roadways, Religious Intolerance, New Jersey, Opera, pizza, espresso & cappuccino,…

    We discover that also Rap was invented by an Italian!

  113. I’m an italian and was born just 25 years ago…..he is an idol for everybody in Italy, he wrote and still write a lot of amazing song… have to know him……you have to know his music…..thanks Adriano

  114. Hi,

    Adriano Celentano in Italy was the precursor of everything, and in some way he still is the first

    Please bear in mind that in the seventys some people was really against this nosense english. they were taking the piss out of him.
    Now you’re helping Adriano to get his “little revenge”

    you should listen to Adriano’s album, you will appreciate him also in italian


  115. Your blog post made it to Rai2, an Italian channel! I haven’t heard this song in forever! I wonder how you came across it….

  116. listen to “Pezzo zero” (1974) of Lucio Dalla, another great italian singer. In this song he sing like celentano.

  117. Caro Celentano eri molto più simpatico quando cantavi, ballavi, recitavi ma non ti mettevi a politicare..

  118. ADRIANO IS A MYTH! My parents used to put his songs when I was a child. I am very happy that he is rediscovered. PRISENCOLINESINANCIUSOL…ALLRIGHT!

  119. to talk about singers or group using local language as it were english try to hear an italian group comes from naples in the eighty, using napoelitan dialect to cover beatles songs that at the first “hearing” sounds like english lyrics. but they aren’t. and make cover LP as ones of beatles but “localized”, so “apple” of the label became a “tomato” a typical ingredient for “napoli pizza” …

  120. Celentano is a great italian singer since the early ’60.
    This song is not serious but it was made just for fun.

    in de col men selvuan
    ol rait
    uis de seim cius nau
    op de seim ol ualt
    men in de
    colobos dai
    tr… ciak is e
    maind beghin de col
    bebi stei ye
    push yo oh
    uis de seim cius nau
    op de seim ol
    ualt men in de
    colobos dai
    not is de seim
    laikiu de promisdin
    iu nau in trabol
    lovgial ciu gen
    in do camo not clus
    no bal for lov
    so op giast cam
    lau ue cam lov ai
    oping to stein
    laik cius go mo men
    iu bicos tue mer
    cold dobrei gorls
    oh sandei

  121. Hi Guys, just signed in to suggest you to try to find “Yuppi Du”, a movie Adriano made in the 70’s, with a young Charlotte Rampling, recently restored and presented at Cannes. Like Prisencolinesinainciusol, this movie is 40 year in the future. It suggests a number of ecological topics, and the music is fantastic.
    It is settled in a Venice rapidly changing by the progress.

    I’m really pleased the for some reasong Italy still have some fan !

    Silvio, an italian.

  122. As a native English speaker, I actually spent time trying to decide whether or not this WAS my language!

  123. Nice play

    ps. Italians are not stupid.. as somebody claims above. Although media are “mass distraction means” at this time.


  124. Forgive my bad English, (I use the translator of google) I read this interesting post just now and I wanted to tell you that Celentano when he wrote this song almost 40 years ago did it just for fun, not to mention the understanding of the people. . Indeed in his song Prisencolinensinainciusol means Universal Love, but the translation does not exist in any language in the world .. It ‘a song just for his beautiful sound .. I want to point out a few years ago with a rebuilt version of Manu Chao and other Italian singers: For me here the sound cancels the difference in language and is universal! Greetings from the city of Turin Italy.

  125. what about “that’s amore”?

    only few words are in italian…or just similar(pasta e fazzol = pasta e fagioli = pasta with beans).

    I really love this song, but for an italian native speaker, as I am, could be sound quite funny.

    how the “italian” part of the song sound to a non-italian speaker?

  126. Celentano is almost a legend here in italy…..and don’t believe that silly guy, we are not mentally retarded, simply, we think that all foreigners think/tell about us is really worth considering and sometimes we overemphasize it

  127. Well, i be damn. I call it a revelation! Im so proud and fortunate to have grown up with adrianos music!I was 15 when we were trying to copy his mooves, what memories what joy! he is 1 of the old time greatest! Thankyou celentano. p.s. can some one tell me if “stand by me” was copied or “preghero” was, sorry for my poor knowledge.

  128. I live in Italy and Adriano Celentano is actually my neighbour (he lives in Galbiate, a small town in the countryside near Como lake).. during the 70s english speaking in the north-Italy provinces was probably something exotic, maybe a sign of rebellion, can’t say. This song is absolutely nonsense, and i find any effort to understand the meaning pretty useless.. Celentano was an italian country boy trying to be “cool” that way, and this is the real clue about this song in my opinion. This was Italy at that time, nothing to be ashamed about – it makes me smile, it was somehow sincere and authentic.

  129. Lets appreciate adriano as an artist and a very great one.. thank you for your memorable and captivating talent! keep going…

  130. “What I really like is that “OK” gesture he keeps making. I’m going to start doing that. It’s going to be my new thing.”

    I think that’s part of the joke.

    There are a lot of places where the “OK” sign is a grossly offensive gesture, comparable to “flipping the bird” in the US or showing “two fingers up” in England. I think Italy is one of those places (correct me if I’m wrong, paisanos.) As I recall it has connotations of buggery.

    So a flamboyant, exaggerated OK gesture in public, accompanied by a cheerful grin, probably screams “American” to his audience about as loudly as shorts and flip flops in a cathedral.

  131. adriano celentano is one of the best Italian singer famous also for some comedian movie. he is famous also for the the dance he makes when sing.

  132. The man is a living LEGEND! His talent on scren and of screen has brought tears of joy to millions of fans all over the world and know america…Thank you ADRIANO!

  133. You see when adriano wrote that song he openly admitted that it was gebberish, unlike million of other lyrics of to days modern music you need to ask another million other people to make some sense out of… the man is a genius an entertainer an extraordenary comic..

  134. the message of the song is much deeper and concern the lack of communication between people .. and that is why today should be played back!

  135. Adriano Celentano is one of the most great italian artist living. Besides his commitment for the problems of the earth is constant from 60s

  136. Ciao, I’m from Italy and I heard about “Celentano’case” on TV, here he is very loved. Just to say that apart the “english” he sang the rap for the first time almost 40 years ago! and he is rock! you can hear his songs!

  137. for the record, the OK sign just means OK in Italy as in most other places. moreover, this is not the only example of celentano using fake english, he did another song, about a decade later, called “svalutation” which was also partly based on that. it was (and it is) his way of questioning the absolute prdominance of english-native artists in italian charts. glad you guys took notice. happy christmas everyone.

  138. i’m italian, adn we are very glad that you are enjoing with ours Adriano Celentano. i’m noto older klike this song, but i could immagine that it was just a joke experiment, in order to awareness the youngest (of 70s), that the communication is changing (was changing), evrebody were running, working, no time for e normal dialogue with parents and family. And it’s also so actual, now internet, and the new way to “taping” sms, or email with PC or an iphone, are changing all our language, an axample? 4us, lov’u ect..what they means?? i prefeare a true I LOVE YOU, and all the time of the world to tell it or type it.

  139. Adriano lo aveva detto nel 1994 che il suo Prisencolinesinanciusol era il primo RAP ante-litteram !!

    Vai Adriano … Sei Forte !!

  140. Prisencolinensinainciusol !!!

    Grande il nostro Adriano! Italian Legend…

    listen also… :


    I cannot speak of love
    Emotion doesn’t have a voice
    And I feel a bit out of breath
    if you’re here there’s too much light
    My soul spreads
    like music on summer
    then you know, desire takes over me
    and turns me on with your kisses
    I’ll be honest with you
    I’ll always be the way I am
    Never dishonest, I swear
    but I can’t forgive betrayal
    I’ll always be your friend
    even if jealous, as you know
    I know I contradict myself
    but you’re precious to me…
    You’ll sleep in my arms calmly
    and it’s important, you know
    to really feel ourselves
    You’ll give me another life
    that I didn’t know
    and you’ll be my mate
    for as long as I’ll know you want to

  141. It’s not the only one! Lucio Dalla (which I personally consider better than Celentano as a musician) published something similar on 1973, “Pezzo Zero”:

  142. another interesting English song (i thinik that it is the only one he sang in English language from Adriano is “don’t play that song).

    no gibberish but beautiful song

  143. I’m a little sad about my fellow italians here which don’t understand what grammelot is…

    Anyways great song, i didn’t knew it! And it’s great.

  144. I’m italian and I speak english better than Celentano.
    By the way, the “sound” of his english is absolutely similar to your language (great) and is better than my sound…
    Celentano is the Jhon Titor of music. His music is fantastic and also the meanning of the songs. Go to unload his music, ask somebody to translate the words… you will disocver a wonderful world.

  145. Also a Great vid of Adriano Celentano:

    This song is from one of the best albums he ever made: Io Non So Parlar D’amore (I don’t speak of love) from the year 1999!

    I think that prisencolinensinainciusol is one of the famous’ songs he ever made!

  146. americans and english should really make an effort and discover foreign music. plenty of awesome artists that are waaaaay better than the avarage US/English ones.
    Language is the main barrier tho. Cmon guys, learn new languages!!

  147. In my opinion, Celentano ment to show how good is music whithout undertandig a word. At that time, in Italy nobody knew english, but a lot of american songs were played in the radios, so i think his aim was to do, as italian, the same effect with a song of him. If you don’t know the meaning of a song and you like it, you give it surely a positive meaning. I find it a great idea.

  148. Celentano rocks! I suggest you to listen also to “Storia d’amore”, another song by him. I think it’s drum & bass 30 years before drum & bass!


  149. In Italy we call him: ADRIANO! And everyone knows what we are talkin about. An artist who was able to get the changing of the times already in the 70’s. (Sorry for my English). Bye

  150. Adriano Celentano is one of the most famous italian singers, the first that sang rock and roll in our country.
    He changed the way to compose and sing music.
    He can be romantic, lover singer,and rock.
    I have much pleasure the you have discovered him ;-)
    To day your blog is in the most important newspaper in Italy for this reason.

  151. Celentano is not a songwriter, certainly was not in 1972, Early in his career he pretended to play guitar but do not know how to play! his grandeur, was not on the things he did, but as he did! his greatness lay in knowing how to turn anything into art! even though he has always known how to choose well his collaborators!
    the spirit of this song consisted precisely in highlighting his ability to transform a nonsense into a great song!

    But if you want to hear the best Italian pop music of all time look for Lucio Battisti!

  152. Adriano Celentano is the better living artist in Italy. He captures attention and interest, through his originality and actractive style of his music and way to show his art.

    In shorts words is an ARTIS(singer, actor, show man.



  153. Hy! I’m an italian Celentano fan.
    This is another – recent (1990) – rap song written by Celentano:

    I Hope you’ll like it!


  154. In italian “to make fun of someone” could be say “to carry someone by ass” and prisencolin… have a sound that resembles that. A sort of: this is not real english, is just to make fun of you…

  155. In my modest opinion,you may wanna consider some pre-Celentano (gangsta)rap,courtesy of Fred Buscaglione:

  156. hello everybody! i’m paolo from Italy, I love Celentano and I know every song and film he ever made….
    Yuppi du is a great opera! it was a movie and it is very famous in Europe! the language is english and false english…. see it!

  157. Alright! This song is the exactly contrary, and a natural complement, of “That’s amore” by Dean Martin.
    Enjoy this 1972 italian hit, so faraway so close!
    Davide, Italy.

  158. In the 60s and 70s Italy was a nation where 99% of the people didn’t know a word of English. In a nation where 50% and more people use to listen English music without knowing meaning of the lyrics. Do you think that Italian people knew the meaning of Beatles, Jon Lennon, Rolling Stones, etc. songs. For them was just music… nothing to understand. Celentano practically demonstrate that is possible to be on top of the hits with a totally invented language, just say similar to English.
    So consider Prisencolinensinainciusol a great sociologic test that he made in the ’72 not just a nice music. This is just a simple example. Celentano was quite ahead for his times.

  159. Il Clan Celentano comunica che stiamo seguendo con grande curiosità e piacevole interesse ciò che si sta scatendando sulla rete dopo la notizia diffusa l’altro giorno da Mr Cory Doctor sul blog BoingBoing.
    Nel frattempo crediamo che farà piacere sapere che entro il 15 gennaio sarà presente su iTunes la versione originale e remix del brano Prisencolinensinainciusol.
    Continueremo a seguire i vari commenti su questo brano di Adriano Celentano.

  160. I am Italian and I was thinking on how much is terrible the berluconized TV of these years…very horrible…actors and TVs in Italy ’70 was VERY great…

  161. Celentano is the greatest singer of all time. It ‘an innovator, a trial has a voice that is enchanting. It ‘the first rapper, singer 1 environmentalist, an extraordinary actor and director, a showman of the highest level. Adriano let us know we love your music!
    The song will be downloadable from iTunes prisencolinensinanciusol in the original version and remix by January 15

  162. Having read about this blog about the song, a few days ago Celentano has been interviewed about it, and confirmed he didn’t “write” the lyrics (he admittedly never studied english seriously) but used “the sound” of the words. You know, Prisencolinensinainciusol was a HUGE hit here in Italy, where Celentano was also a movie celebrity (I remember seeing him in Milan, shooting near my school in the early eighties). To me, the most important thing about Adriano is he’s the guy who introduced rock and roll in Italy. Starting in late fifties, he was THE ONE who recorded RnR! Before him, we had only Doris Day-like music. Of course he was devastatingly young, and brave. He set up his own label (“Clan”) to make his music in freedom, and a number of friends of his – singers, authors and musicians – had the chance to work and be successful.
    Let’s point it out: the blonde girl in the video is Raffaella Carra’, one of the greatest showgirls Italian TV ever had… BUT the girl singing in the song is not Raffaella, but Claudia Mori, Adriano’s wife. The couple had a few hits together, and Claudia had hits on her own right, mostly in the 60s and 70s. You can see Claudia in the video for a second, she’s in the classroom with the other girls and stands up before singing her part (but in this cut-and-paste video Claudia disappears and it looks like Raffaella is singing)….
    I can’t say nothing about Celentano’s late recordings: to me they sound awful! I wonder where that brave, eager to shock singer has gone…. today his repertoire sounds like Sinatra’s, which is not what I expect to hear from a music pioneer like Celentano. But he’s still controversial, and he’s an incredibly funny man!
    I love the guy, and I’m really glad you all came to like him too!

  163. The last song of Adriano Celentano “Sognando Chernobyl” song on the catastrophic end of the world if we go on to destroy the earth. Adriano speaks of the death penalty, nuclear power plants, the dishonest people, melting glaciers, rising seas, pollution, etc … The song was also given to Al Gore.Una great song of great impact with a catchy and modern music with choirs from fear. The song he has written, arranged and played the same Celentano. Has caused a stir in Italy at its release last year.
    The song with the video catastrophic “SOGNANDO CHERNOBYL”

  164. The dance is also an incredible anticipation of michael jackson ‘s.If you think of it, it looks like Prince and M.J only 30 years earlier . Guido Cupolo – Brescia – Italy.

  165. il grande Adriano Celentano e le sue fantastiche canzoni. Ascoltate “SOGNANDO CHERNOBYL”, vedete il suo video… e capirete tutto il mondo di questa grande interprete

  166. For those of you who want to know more:
    Celentano had actually been mastering gibberish English a long time before this song, and there is no better proof than in Federico Fellini classic 1960 film “La Dolce Vita”.
    Check this out to refresh your memory:

  167. Every time that Adriano is on TV is followed by 40-50% of the population on Italian television. 150 million records sold worldwide in 52-year career. 40 films of which at least 20, are blockbusters. The film “yuppie Du” in 1975, was approved unanimously a masterpiece of Italian cinema and just last year at the Venice Film Festival was presented in a new version, including the accolades from the critics and the public that has immediately purchased 100,000 copies of the DVD.
    Undoubtedly, Adriano Celentano is the King of Italian song … and maybe Europe.

  168. This and’ it initials her/it some telecast where him and exhibited adriano celentano:

    and this and another ballet:


  169. actually I have had the pleasure to meet Adriano celentano, raffaella carra` and is wife claudia mori!

    adriano is my kind of singer!



  170. This is great, thanks for clueing us Canadian youngsters in to this great video (and I’m 40 now – ack!) I read most of the previous comments (great too), but noticed no one mentioned Stars on 45 (I think that was their name – ?) – they released a Beatles cover medley back around 1980 (that was a big Top 40 hit where I was in southern Ontario), and then we heard later that the singers didn’t actually speak/understand english, they just mimicked the sound… not exactly the same as ‘intentional gibberish’, but it’s a good example of how non-english speakers interpret it (especially through music)! Anyway, thanks!

  171. That article in Il Giornale alternates between snarky and whiny. When I found out that Italians had ‘discovered’ Nick Cave I didn’t sneer about how long it took them and how many awesome albums he’d released before anyone in Italy knew who he was, or say “see? SEE? Australians make music too, SEE?!?” or compare him to Italian artists who I think are shit. Yes, Celentano is a legend, and yes, his awesomeness is not that well known outside of Italy. There’s nothing unusual about that. The journalist should get over his cultural insecurities and just be glad that Celentano is being appreciated by a whole new audience.

  172. in this video, a student-girl ask to “professor Celentano” why he has written a song with strange word without meaning in english?
    And he answer her:
    today in the world there isn’t dialogue, and exactly I have developed the topic of the incomunicability…all right?

  173. I love this. I’ve always wondered what foreigners might hear when they hear English. This video is awesome, and the song is super sexy…

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