Renato Zero

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Renato Zero
Paoli Fazio Zero cropped.jpg
Background information
Birth nameRenato Fiacchini
Born (1950-09-30) 30 September 1950 (age 71)
OriginRome, Italy
GenresPop rock, soul, rock and roll
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, showman, actor
Years active1965–present
LabelsZerolandia, Sony Music, Tattica
Websiterenatozero.com

Renato Zero (Italian pronunciation: [reˈnaːto dˈdzɛːro]) is the stage name of Renato Fiacchini (born 30 September 1950), an Italian singer, songwriter, producer, dancer and actor whose career spans from the 1960s to the 2020s. Zero is the only artist to have reached the top of the Italian charts in six different decades.[1][2] With 20 million records sold, he is one of the best-selling Italian music artists.[3][4]

Early life and career[edit]

Zero was born Renato Fiacchini[1] in central Rome, in Via di Ripetta, next to the famed Via del Corso.

He quit his studies early to devote himself to his true passion, the arts, more specifically playing music and singing – though initially with little success. From an early age, he would wear make-up and cross-dress. He replied to the criticisms he received (including the recurring insult Sei uno zero! – "You're a zero!") by taking on the pseudonym Renato Zero. He recorded his first songs in 1965: "Tu", "Sì", "Il deserto", "La solitudine", which were never issued. His first published single, "Non basta sai/In mezzo ai guai" (1967), sold a total of 20 copies and was quickly forgotten.

He had several different jobs, including an appearance in an advertisement for ice-cream; work as a dancer in a TV show; playing and dancing in two musicals; and minor roles in two Fellini movies.

In the early 1970s Zero's career was given a boost by the glam-rock movement, from which he benefited with his sexual ambiguity and androgynous appearance. At the same time, this led him to being accused of emulating other celebrities like David Bowie and, in particular, Marc Bolan.[5] In 1973 he issued his first LP, No! Mamma, no! (recorded live), but still with little success. The follow-up Invenzioni met the same fate.

Birth of "Zeromania"[edit]

It was not until 1976 that he scored his first hit with the single "Madame", a collaboration with songwriter Franca Evangelisti and composer Piero Pintucci, with whom Zero continued to work in the years that followed. "Madame" and the album including it, Trapezio, established a regular and loyal audience for Zero. This was to increase exponentially in the following years, until he could boast a huge following of die-hard fans that he dubbed Sorcini ("Little Mice"). Among his greatest hits at the time, all of them topping and breaking the Italian charts for quite some time, "Mi vendo", "Morire qui", "Triangolo", "Baratto" are still popular in Italy, and were among all disco clubs’ playlists.

The late 1970s and early 1980s were years of great success for Zero's character, with the LPs Zerofobia ("Zerophobia", 1977), Zerolandia (1978), Erozero (1979), Tregua (1980), Artide Antartide (1981), Via Tagliamento (1982) and Calore (1983) topping the Italian charts. At this time Renato Zero was amongst the two or three most popular singers in Italy and his songs "Il Cielo", "Il Carrozzone", "Amico", "Più su" and "Spiagge" were already regarded, by fans and critics[who?], as some of the best Italian songs ever.

The name Zerolandia also referred to the moving theatre (a circus tent with a capacity of 5,000) in which he performed shows throughout Italy. On numerous occasions fans would participate in the gigs, made-up like Zero and dressed in his typical costumes.

In 1979 Zero played himself in the movie Ciao Nì (his usual greeting to his fans, which is a term of endearment that can be roughly translated as "Hi, Dear!"). In Italy this film grossed more than the American blockbuster Superman.

In 1980 he founded his own record label called Zeromania Music.[1]

The ‘80s: career dip[edit]

In the 1980s he began to abandon make-up and greasepaint, but this did not rid Zero of his mania for grandeur: in the 1980 tour, for example, he entered the stage riding a white horse. In 1982 he began a collaboration with the opera director Renato Serio, who was to write the string arrangements for almost all of Zero's following LPs. In late 1982 he took part in RAI's Fantastico 3, then the most popular Italian TV show.[6]

His career continued to be successful until 1984. That year, however, his new album Leoni si nasce, that he presented in a press conference disguised as a lion and was escorted by four aborigines, was a commercial failure, even though it peaked at No. 1. His 1987 album Zero marked the lowest point of his career, peaking at No. 13 but then almost immediately disappearing from the Italian charts.

1990s: the comeback[edit]

In 1991 Renato Zero participated in the Sanremo Music Festival with the song "Spalle al muro",[7] and from that moment on his career began to rise again. In 1993 he ranked No. 1 on the Italian charts with the LP Quando non-sei più nessuno. The following year L'imperfetto repeated this success. His concerts would regularly sell out, and he returned to his famous dress changes, although in a more balanced style.

In the mid-1990s Zero dubbed the character of Jack Skellington and sang the songs in the Italian release of Tim Burton's motion picture The Nightmare Before Christmas.[8]

In 1999, he sang his hit song "Il Cielo" at Pavarotti and Friends together with tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and later the same year, Italian diva Mina paid him a tribute with her album Mina n° 0, containing ten of Zero's songs, including one sung in duet with him.

From 2000s to 2020s[edit]

In 2004 his tour "Cattura il sogno/Il sogno continua" ("Catch the dream/The dream continues") was awarded by Pollstar magazine as the most successful of the year in Italy as well as one of the most successful worldwide (#30). The recording of his concerts in Rome, held at Olimpico Stadium in June, was the top selling musical DVD in 2004.

In 2005 he took part in the Italian staging of Live 8, in the Circo Massimo. In November his new album Il dono ("The Gift") topped the charts and maintained the No. 1 position until the end of the year. In December 2005 he performed in the Vatican with a song dedicated to Pope John Paul II. He also advocated for safe sex with condoms.[9] Renato Zero's 2006 tour was entitled "Zeromovimento" and involved 25 concerts. After 40 years of his musical career, in February 2006 he refused the Career Award at the Sanremo festival, stating that the award should be for artists who had reached old age.

In 2007 he toured again in major Italian cities, filling sports stadiums. The tour was called "MpZerO", and attracted 270,000 spectators over seven dates, of which 120,000 filled the Olympic Stadium of Rome, his hometown.

Presente, his 30th album, was released in Europe and the Americas on 20 March 2009. It went multi-platinum in Italy, with 80,000 copies sold in the first week. It sold over 350,000 copies.[10] Following the release of Presente, Renato toured again in autumn 2009; the "Zeronove tour" saw 30 sold-out dates and was the most successful gig of the year in Italy. On 10 December the music video for "Ancora qui", the first single from the album Presente, won the best Italian video of the year. In September 2010 Presente (CD edition + special CD+DVD edition) was certified by FIMI as the top selling album in Italy during the years 2009–2010. In 2012 Sei Zero was certified as the top selling DVD of 2011.

In 2013 he released two new albums, Amo – capitolo I and Amo – capitolo II; both peaked at No. 1 on the Italian charts. During 2013–2014 he toured again, after a three-year hiatus; his new show, "Amo in tour", saw all 59 concerts sold out, with a record tenure in Rome (twenty dates), Milan (eight dates) and Florence (eight dates).

On 13 February 2016, he was guest of honor at the Sanremo Music Festival.[11] On that occasion he announced his next album, Alt, to be released on 8 April that year. On 2 March "Chiedi", the first single from Alt, peaked at No. 1 on the iTunes chart. The album later debuted at No. 1 on the official FIMI Italian albums chart.

On 6 November 2020 "Zerosettanta vol. 2" peaked at No. 1 on the Italian album charts, making Renato Zero the only artist in history to have reached the top of the charts in six different decades.[12]

Zero's accomplishments[edit]

Renato Zero is the only artist to have reached number 1 on the Italian charts in six different decades (1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s).[1] He has had no fewer than 30 albums in the Top 10.

Renato Zero has an album (Presente) certified Diamond by FIMI,[13] a goal officially achieved in the Italian charts history by only five artists (Vasco Rossi, Ligabue, Jovanotti and Modà being the others).

He likes to work with other artists, and has written songs for numerous other singers as well. With his particular approach in performances, shows and tours, he is a leading live performer in his country and obtained a unique spot in the Italian musical scene.

Throughout his career, Renato Zero has been a campaigner against drug abuse. His ‘grand force’ is regarded to be having shown "the normality of the diverse", convincing the public that diversity feeds our human abilities to feel and act with love, respect, solidarity and faith.

Personal life[edit]

Though the general consensus was that he is bisexual or gay, but conservative in not wanting to reveal his sexuality, Zero self-identified as heterosexual during an Italian talk-show. Zero has admitted to having two relationships; one with Enrica Bonaccorti,[14] a famous television host, and another with Lucy Morante, his former secretary.[15]

His image has changed through the decades, from the flamboyant, makeup-wearing transvestite of the mid-1970s, reminiscent of Marc Bolan or The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Dr. Frank'N'Furter, to today's somber, blue-suit-clad icon of no specific gender and unspecified age, his only affectation a head of jet-black hair and a thin veil of foundation and lip gloss.

Discography and videography[edit]

Album Year Peak Weeks Label Sales Certifications
No! Mamma, No! 1973 RCA
Invenzioni 1974 RCA
Trapezio 1976 32 11 RCA
Zerofobia 1977 16 57 RCA
Zerolandia 1978 3 35 Zerolandia/RCA
EroZero 1979 1 25 Zerolandia/RCA
Tregua 1980 1 26 Zerolandia/BMG
Icaro (live) 1981 1 35 Zerolandia/BMG
Artide Antartide 1981 1 24 Zerolandia/BMG
Via Tagliamento 1965/1970 1982 1 21 Zerolandia/BMG
Calore EP 1983 1 20 Zerolandia/BMG
Leoni si nasce 1984 1 16 Zerolandia/BMG
Identikit (anthology) 1984 14 7 Zerolandia/BMG
Soggetti smarriti 1986 2 22 Zerolandia/BMG
Zero 1987 13 17 Zerolandia/BMG
Voyeur 1989 5 21 Zerolandia/BMG
Prometeo (live) 1991 3 20 Zerolandia/BMG
La coscienza di Zero 1991 5 8 RCA
Quando non-sei più di nessuno 1993 1 23 Zerolandia/BMG
Passaporto per Fonopoli EP 1993 1 13 Zerolandia/BMG
L'imperfetto 1994 1 23 Fonopoli/Sony
Sulle tracce dell'imperfetto 1995 2 21 Fonopoli/Sony
Amore dopo amore 1998 2[23] 51 Fonopoli/Sony
Amore dopo amore Tour dopo tour (live) 1999 1 34 Fonopoli/Sony
I Miei Numeri 2000 12[24]
Tutti gli Zeri del Mondo 2000 3 19 Fonopoli/Sony
La Curva dell'Angelo 2001 1 40 Tattica/Sony
Cattura 2003 1 53 Tattica/Sony
Figli del Sogno (live) 2004 2 39 Tattica/Sony
Figli del Sogno DVD 2004 1 60 Tattica/Sony
Il Dono 2005 1[27] 35 Tattica/Sony
Renatissimo! (anthology) 2006 3[28] 34 Tattica/Sony
Zero40 DVD 2008 1 28 Universal
Presente 2009 1 89 Tattica
Segreto Amore 2010 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
"Zeronove" tour DVD 2010 1 13 Tattica
Puro Spirito 2011 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Sei Zero DVD 2011 1 20 Tattica
Amo - Capitolo I 2013 1 28 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Amo - Capitolo II 2013 1 16 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Alt 2016 1 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Arenà (live CD/DVD) 2016 9 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Zerovskij 2017 1 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Zerovskij – Live 2018 3
[30]
Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Alt in Tour 2018 6
[31]
Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Zero il folle 2019 1
[32]
Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Zerosettanta vol. 3 2020 2 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Zerosettanta vol. 2 2020 1 Tattica/IndipendenteMente
Zerosettanta vol. 1 2020 2 Tattica/IndipendenteMente

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Ernesto Assante (29 September 2020). "I 70 anni di Renato Zero, il rivoluzionario che non ha mai tradito se stesso e il pubblico". la Repubblica. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Renato Zero segna un nuovo record: Mai nessuno come lui nelle classifiche di vendita".
  3. ^ Deirdre Pirro (18 November 2010). "The best years of our lives". The Florentine. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  4. ^ "RENATO ZERO/ Compie 60 anni uno dei cantanti più amati d'Italia. l'Intervista: "Sono profondamente religioso"". 23 September 2010.
  5. ^ "I primi 70 anni di Renato Zero, lo Ziggy Stardust del pop italiano". Corriere del Ticino. 20 September 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  6. ^ Giulio Bonotti (5 July 2021). "Raffaella Carrà e quel successo inaspettato di Fantastico 3 che la legò a Milano. Sala: "Grazie Raffaella, le icone non muoiono mai"". la Repubblica. Retrieved 14 September 2021. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  7. ^ Giuditta Avellina (2 March 2021). "Perché Sanremo è Sanremo! 5 cose indimenticabili del 1991". GQ Italia. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  8. ^ "The Nightmare Before Christmas at AntoniaGenna.net's Il Mondo Dei Doppiatori". Antoniogenna.net. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  9. ^ Paolo Conti (3 December 2005). "Renato Zero: "I gay? Dio non vuole ghetti"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  10. ^ a b Sandra Cesarale (11 May 2010). "Zero attacca i talent show: usano i ragazzi come cavalli". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 14 September 2021. le canzoni del cd “Presente” (350 mila copie vendute)
  11. ^ "Renato Zero mattatore a Sanremo: medley e nuovo brano". Rai News. 14 February 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Renato Zero primo in classifica con Zerosettanta Volume Due, davanti a Izi e Pezzali". 6 November 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Italian certifications – Renato Zero" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 14 September 2021. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Renato Zero" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Tutte le sezioni" under "Sezione".
  14. ^ "Enrica Bonaccorti e la storia con Renato Zero: "Dovevamo sposarci"". Metropolitan Magazine. 25 July 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Lucy Morante, chi l'ex fidanzata di Renato Zero". Metropolitan Magazine. 25 July 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  16. ^ Gianni Pennacchi (15 November 1977). "Una Wanda Osiris con più fantasia". La Stampa. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  17. ^ Valeria Salamone (30 September 2020). ""Zerolandia", il folle mondo di Renato Zero". Metropolitan Magazine. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Renato Zero, dopo 25 anni ripubblicati quattro album storici della sua carriera" (in Italian). Adnkronos. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  19. ^ "I settanta anni di Renato Zero, le provocazioni e le canzoni più belle". Rai News. 29 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  20. ^ Mario Luzzato Fegiz (17 January 1983). "Torna Renato Zero ma il tendone è semivuoto". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 14 September 2021. Ma Renato Zero nega decisamente che la sua popolarità sia in declino: il mio ultimo album ha venduto 600.000 copie - dice - Non vedo chi possa dire che sono in crisi.
  21. ^ a b "Comunicato Stampa: Renato Zero in concerto per Radio Italia e Video Italia Solo Musica Italiana". Rockol. 17 March 2004. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  22. ^ "Renato Zero torna in tour dopo due anni". Corriere della Sera. 27 August 1995. Retrieved 14 September 2021. ,basati soprattuto sul suo ultimo album, “Imperfetto”, che ad oggi ha venduto circa 200 mila copie
  23. ^ "Hits of the world". Billboard. 16 May 1998. p. 50. Retrieved 14 September 2021 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ "Hits of the world". Billboard. 27 May 2000. p. 64. Retrieved 14 September 2021 – via Google Books.
  25. ^ Mario Luzzato Fegiz (20 July 2001). "Zero "imperatore " all'Olimpico". Billboard. Retrieved 14 September 2021. In oltre trent’anni di carriera ha venduto oltre 17 milioni di dischi. L’ultimo album, “La curva dell'angelo” e a quota 400 mila copie
  26. ^ Sandra Cesarale (23 June 2004). "Renato Zero, un sogno targato Broadway". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 14 September 2021. dal nuovo album “Cattura” (500 mila vendute)
  27. ^ "Hits of the world". Billboard. 10 December 2005. p. 64. Retrieved 14 September 2021 – via Google Books.
  28. ^ "Hits of the world". Billboard. 20 January 2007. p. 58. Retrieved 14 September 2021 – via Google Books.
  29. ^ "LE CIFRE DI VENDITA 2006" (PDF). Musica e dischi. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  30. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 21 (dal 2018-05-18 al 2018-05-24)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 49 (dal 2018-11-29 al 2018-12-06)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 40 (dal 04.10.2019 al 10.10.2019)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 12 October 2019.

External links[edit]