After long ranks in Northern Italy's night clubs, he was noticed by a TV producer who let him make his debut in sketches and music turns for some variety shows.
First records date 1956 and they are 78rpm, mostly consisting of Neapolitan songs, recorded for Italian RCA; with the migration to 45rpm, under Columbia label, here it comes the first success with "Simpatica", by Garinei, Giovannini e Kramer.
In 1958 he took part to "Canzonissima" and subsequently he drew attention to himself in a show conducted by Lelio Luttazzi, where he took part as a regular guest together with Mina, entitled "Sentimentale". The homonymous theme became a hit, recorded by both the singers in two different versions.
In the meanwhile Nicola went on to improve his great passion, jazz, taking part to festivals and dedicated performances (for example 1959 Festival del jazz, together with Franco Cerri), and highlighting himself thanks to his crooner style.
In this period his greatest hits: "Un giorno ti dirò", "Amorevole", "I sing ammore", "My wonderful bambina", "I love you forestiera". The titles in two different languages were an habit of songwriters at the end of the 50's, who saw "postcard-songs" as a way to promote our tourist beauties (the most famous example will have been "Arrivederci Roma" by Renato Rascel).
In 1963 he was the protagonist of another saturday night show, "Il cantatutto", together with Milva and Claudio Villa, wherein he enjoyed swapping his repertoire with the two other colleagues and performing gags and comic sketches.
In 1964 he took part to Festival di Sanremo with "Venti chilometri al giorno", and afterwards started a long and very lucky career as an advertising testimonial, which ensured him very good receipts, also when his music engagements will have become less frequent, thanks to generation replacement and arrival of beat wave.
Arigliano surprisingly came back to television in 1977 in several episodes of "Non stop", a show by Enzo Trapani dedicated to cabaret.
In 1985 he made a live record "Mario Schiano presenta Nicola Arigliano al night club Il Sorpasso - Con l'orchestra I Primi" where, in spite of the title, Mario Schiano was not there: he was, in fact, the promoter of some music performances near Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome to celebrate the PCI's overtaking of DC during European election of 1984 (this thing explains night club's name "Il Sorpasso"); but in the record played some of the most famous Italian jazz musicians, like Marc 4 keyboard player, Antonello Vannucchi, Gegè Munari on drums and Giorgio Rosciglione on double bass.
More recently (1996) he won Premio Tenco for his album "I sing ancora"; in 2001 he published "Go man!", album recorded live in Milan that houses some of the most famous Italian jazz musicians: Franco Cerri, Enrico Rava, Gianni Basso, Bruno De Filippi, Renato Sellani and Massimo Moriconi.
In 2005, 81 years old, he was the oldest singer taking part to Festival di Sanremo: on the occasion he introduced the song "Colpevole" (accompained by Antonello Vannucchi of Marc 4 and Franco Cerri), winning the Critics Prize.
On 2005 summer he turned his band upside down opting for a formation without piano, replaced by accordion and guitar. With this versatile band he has started a particularly fervent and industrious moment of his career earning everywhere unanimous consents. His last performance (with the inseparable Frank Antonucci on guitar, Reverendo Otis on double bass, Al Ventura - accordion and Santi Isgrò - drums) dates back to September 8th, 2007 on the occasion of the Award to the career that his hometown Squinzano wanted to bestow upon him.