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Culture

In 1972, an Italian singer wrote a hit song with English-sounding gibberish and it's so trippy

In 1972, an Italian singer wrote a hit song with English-sounding gibberish and it's so trippy

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

Plus the video someone shared to go with it is fantastic. It's gone crazy viral because how could it not.


And if you thought that video was something, check out another one of the same song by the same singer. Why are there two videos? Who knows. But this is truly one of the most 1970s things that has ever happened.

Adriano Celentano - Prisencolinensinainciusolwww.youtube.com

Wow, right?

In a 2012 interview on NPR's All Things Considered, Celentano explained how the silly pop song came about.

"Ever since I started singing, I was very influenced by American music and everything Americans did," he told Guy Raz, through interpreter Sim Smiley.

"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 said. "And to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didn't mean anything."

In fact, Celentano didn't even write down any lyrics for the song at first, but just improvised the sounds. And people didn't appear to care. "Prisencolinensinainciusol" reached number one on the charts not only in Italy, but also in France, Germany, and Belgium.

Celentano's ability to sound like he's singing in English without actually saying anything in English is pretty impressive. Especially when you hear him sing in Italian, like this:

Adriano Celentano - L'emozione non ha voce - Official Video (With Lyrics/Parole in descrizione)www.youtube.com

Languages are fun. And funky. And frustrating when you don't understand them. Celentano was purposefully making a point with "Prisencolinensinainciusol" to break down language barriers and inspire people to communicate more. Whether he succeeded in doing that or not, it sure is entertaining to see him try.

This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

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