At 17 Carosone left, hired as a pianist and conductor, for Italian Eastern Africa with a company of artists, and when the company dissolved, he remained in the area of Massawa and Addis Ababa for nine years, serving in the army during the Second World War on the Italian Somali front. He played in various ensembles, met his future wife (with whom he had a son, Pino), and in 1946 returned to Naples. Against the expectations of his father, he moved to Rome, where he gained a good reputation in the music sector.
On 28 October 1949 he founded the "Trio Carosone" with Dutchman Peter Van Wood - among the first to play the electric guitar in Italy - and imaginative Neapolitan drummer Gegè Di Giacomo. The Trio inaugurated the Shaker Club of Naples, attended by the U.S. military and the new rich. When in 1952 Van Wood decided to leave the trio to move to America, the band widened first as a quartet and then as a sextet with guitarist Franco Cerri (later replaced by Alberto Pizzigoni), bass singer Claudio Bernardini (later replaced by Piero Giorgetti) and saxophonist Riccardo Rauchi. The group widened to include saxophonist Gianni Tozzi Rambaldi, clarinetist Tonino Grottola and guitarist Raf Montrasio, often joined also by percussionist Aldo Pagani.
The reputation of the group increased in the fifties, during the seasons at the "Bussola", which opened in Focette, Versilia, on June 4, 1955. Between 1954 and 1958 the seven 33 rpms of "Carosello Carosone" were released, the largest collections of his irresistible compositions. During the concerts, which were true shows, as the first "Canta Napoli", there were dialogues and sketches, to finish with the involvement of the public.
The first commercial success was Maruzzella (1954). The following recordings, especially those composed together with the Neapolitan lyricist Nisa (aka Nicola Salerno) - 'O suspiro (1956), Torero (1957, which was for two weeks top in the U.S. charts), 'O sarracino (1958) and Caravan Petrol (1958) - conquered the charts in Europe and North America. In 1956 the group went on a memorable American tour starting from Cuba, including Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and on January 5 1957 the Carnegie Hall in New York.
On September 7, 1960, at the time of greatest popularity, Carosone suddenly decided to retire from the stage ("to get out of the limelight - he would say later - while I was still alive"), to the shock of his fans. He came back only a few times, the first in 1975 at the Bussola (a celebrated local in Versilia) and then only at galas in his honor, as the Sanremo Festival in 1989. His Naples applauded him for the last time on the occasion of New Year's party in 1998.
Away from the public scene, Carosone spent the last years of his life devoting himself to painting. He died Sunday, May 20, 2001, at his home in Rome, where he is buried in the Flaminio cemetery. His lifetime musical partner, drummer Gegè Di Giacomo, died aged 87 at his home in Poggioreale, Naples, on 1 April 2005.