Renato Zero is the stage name of Renato Fiacchini (born 30 September 1950), an Italian singer and actor whose career spans a full 6 decades, from the 1960s to the 2010s, with 40 million records sold, becoming one of the best-selling Italian recording artists.
Zero was born Renato Fiacchini in downtown 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 a couple minor roles in two Fellini movies.
In the late 1960s/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. 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.