Despite the fact that his albums sit atop the Italian pop charts for half a year, every year and go platinum five times over, outside of Italy, few have heard of camp superstar Renato Zero. In some respects, Zero could be said to be the inventor of glam rock. He was, you know, just being himself long before Bolan or Bowie ever put on eyeliner or platform heels. He even had a punk name long before Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten!
So flamboyant that he makes Freddie Mercury (or even Jobriath Boone) seem positively macho, Zero has steadfastly refused to either confirm or deny that he is gay (as if there would be much doubt?) throughout his now five decade long career. Often called “The Emperor of Rome,” he’s still a huge star today, performing spectacular concerts that would make Madonna jealous. Ladies and gentlemen, take a look at pioneering Italian mega-performer, Renato Zero!
1977 performance of “Mi Vendo.” This was my own introduction to Zero and it was a startling one, I think you’ll agree:
Renato Zero performing “Triangolo” in 1978 and rocking an outfit to die for!
Live, rather elaborate performance of Prendimi