Renato Carosone (3 January 1920 - 20 May 2001) was among the greatest figures of Italian music scene in the second half of the 20th century. He was also a modern performer of the so-called ''canzone napoletana'', Naples' song tradition.
Carosone was born in Naples. He studied piano at the Naples Conservatory and obtained his diploma in 1937, when he was just 17. Soon after he signed a contract as a band leader for a tour of Africa, which resulted in him working in Addis Ababa as a pianist. Here he would become a prominent figure of the music scene, performing with his band on several occasions. He returned to Italy only in 1946, after the end of World War II.
During the 1950s Carosone became more and more popular, his orchestra was in great demand both in Italy and abroad, and records sales were soaring high.
His song Torero - specially composed for a Spanish tour - remained for 14 weeks at number 1 on the US hit parade. Torero was translated into 12 languages and no fewer than thirty cover versions were recorded in the United States alone. On 5 January 1957 Carosone and his band started off a successful American tour with a concert in Cuba. This tour concluded with a triumphant performance at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York.
Several of his hits were the result of his long and fruitful collaboration with the lyricist Nicola Salerno, who used the pseudonym Nisa. They could understand each other perfectly: just one hint by Carosone, and Nisa wrote a funny, witty little story about it. "'O suspiro", "Torero", "Tu vuò fà l'americano", "Mambo Italiano", "Caravan Petrol", "Pigliate 'na pastiglia","'O Sarracino" were among their greatest hits.