Accomplishments and Records

Prisencolinensinainciusol — The Nonsensical Hit Song that Sounds Like English to Non-English Speakers

Italian pop star Adriano Celentano wrote a song that rose to hit No. 1 on Italy’s music charts but wasn’t in Italian. It was inspired by English, but its words weren’t from the English language. The lyrics, in fact, come from no language known to man, but the song was so catchy that everyone was singing it, having no idea what it meant.

Celentano (born 1938) wanted a song that would break through the language barriers. Giving a nod to the influence of American and British music, he decided to write an English-ish song. Instead of turning to an English dictionary, however, he decided to write lyrics that sounded English to non-English speakers.

Celentano said, “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, and to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didn’t mean anything.”

The song is called “Prisencolinensinainciusol.” Initially, Celentano didn’t even write down the lyrics. Instead, he improvised the nonsensical syllables. The only legitimate word is an occasional, “alright.” He released it as a single in 1972. Although virtually ignored upon release, it rose to number one on the music charts in Italy, France, Germany, and Belgium after Celentano performed the song on television.

When asked if that is what American English sounds like to a non-English speaker, Celentano answered, “Yes. Exactly like that.”

“Yes,” he says. “Exactly like that.”

Adriano Celentano performs “Prisencolinensinainciusol”

The lyrics, such as they are, to “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” are as follows:

Prisencolinensinainciusol
In de col men seivuan
Prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait
Uis de seim cius nau op de seim
Ol uait men in de colobos dai
Trrr ciak is e maind beghin de col
Bebi stei ye push yo oh
Uis de seim cius nau op de seim
Ol uoit men in de colobos dai
Not s 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 goris
Oh sandei
Ai ai smai sesler
Eni els so co uil piso ai
In de col men seivuan
Prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait
Ai ai smai senflecs
Eni go for doing peso ai
Prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait
Uel 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 aismai senflecs
Eni go for doing peso ai
In de col mein seivuan
Prisencolinensinainciusol ol rait
Lu nei si not sicodor
Ah es la bebi la dai big iour


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