'Tutte le migliori', a CD box set bringing together his duets with Italian singer Mina, is at third place in the charts and he is busy filming 'Adrian', a TV series due to be screened by private broadcaster Mediaset.

Mr Celentano began his career on May 18, 1957, when he played a music festival in his native Milan, winning the competition and his first record contract.

Things really took off two years later with the song ‘Il tuo bacio è come un rock’, and the shake-up of Italian pop began.

Mr Celentano soon became known as the “Molleggiato” (the flexible one) because of his unique style of dancing.

In 1961, he made his first appearance at the Sanremo Song Festival with ‘24 mila baci’, and he is still remembered for his revolutionary performance with his back to the audience.

From that moment on, he became a pioneer of Italian pop music, carving out a space for himself as a preacher in support of environmental issues with songs such as ‘Il ragazzo della via Gluck’ and ‘L’albero di 30 piani’.

He has also been ahead of the curve in managing his career, seeking independence from record companies and founding his own record label, il Clan.

In 1964, he married actor and later producer Claudia Mori and in the 1970s and 1980s, he tried his hand at film direction with ‘Yuppi Du’ and ‘Joan Lui’.

Television subsequently provided the ideal vehicle for his “preaching”, which now also finds space on his blog.

His shows have sparked endless discussion and controversy to the extent that his music has moved to the background.

In 1998, the album recorded with Mina including the song ‘Acqua e sale’ sold 1.6 million copies.

His last public performance was in 2012, when he sang live in two dates at the Verona arena broadcast by Canale 5 to great public acclaim.