A true superstar of Italian pop music, Adriano Celentano essayed virtually every genre and style, from rock 'n' roll to rap, and was able to extend his success to films and television. His first public success was associated with his participation in the first Italian Rock 'n' Roll Festival in his native Milan in 1957. The song "Ciao Ti Dirò" became an immediate hit. His 1959 song "Il Tuo Bacio è Come Un Rock" topped the Italian hit-parade, and since then Celentano went on to produce at least one hit single every year. By 1960 he was already a recognizable face, and Federico Fellini invited him to make a brief appearance as a rock 'n' roll singer in La Dolce Vita (Celentano made his first film appearance in I Frenetici two years earlier.)
In 1961 he participated for the first time in the Sanremo festival, the biggest annual showcase for Italian pop music. His song "Ventiquattromila Baci" won only a second prize but later sold a million copies and topped Italian charts. Such a disparity caused controversy, and the Sanremo festival even became subject to a Parliamentary hearing. The same year Celentano founded his own record label Clan Celentano, in order to have complete artistic control over his music. Stai Lontana Da Me, released in May of 1962, was the first record by the Clan. In 1963, during the shooting of Il Monaco Di Monza he met his future wife, actress Claudia Mori. They got married the next year.
Though the singer made regular appearances in film, he didn't get much critical attention until Serafino (1969), directed by the veteran comedy-maker Pietro Germi. With the 1974 Yuppi-du Celentano debuted as a film director. He also wrote, produced and starred in it. The original soundtrack, also composed by Celentano, went to No.1 on Italian charts as did the title song. The next ten years were the most successful for his film career. Such comedies as Il Bisbetico Domato (1980) and Innamorato Pazzo (1981), directed by Castellano and Pipolo and co-starring the beautiful Ornella Muti, became megahits in Italy and successfully played in some other European countries. However, his subsequent comedies were increasingly formulaic; they relied too heavily on the presence of beautiful actresses, and Celentano's acting verged on self-conscious mugging.
In 1985 Celentano wrote, directed, scored and starred in the film Joan Lui, his most ambitious project, an allegorical fable about the Second Coming of Christ. Dismissed by critics as a self-indulgent big-budget musical extravaganza, the film also flopped commercially, and the singer lost interest in cinema. In 1987 he ventured into television with a weekly show named Fantastico. He proved to be very successful as a TV host, as nobody could remain indifferent to his witty and provocative speeches. On the wave of this success he released the album La Pubblica Ottusità, that went to No. 1 in Italy. The same year he wrote the book Il Profeta e i Farisei ("The Prophet and the Pharisees") based on his experiences on television. In 1991 he released the album Il Re Degli Ignoranti, as well a book by the same title. In 1992 Celentano launched a new TV show, Svalutation, that became famous for its unpredictability and improvisation.