About this Blog

"In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." So said the bleached-out, late lamented artist Andy Warhol. Having lived and worked in New York City, Warhol came to fully grasp the hold celebrity has on us. In this very famous sentence, he meant to point out that in a culture fixated on fame, many people will suddenly flash brightly onto the public screen, then--poof--will just as quickly disappear from public view--like shooting stars. Other individuals derive their celebrity from one stellar accomplishment (one hit song, one iconic role, etc.) that they never again match.

This blog is devoted to the one part of our celebrity culture that no one has written much about: temporary/one-shot celebrities.

The pace of modern life has quickened, and now we hear people speaking of someone's 15 seconds of fame. These "celebrities with a lower-case c" who will appear in this blog sometimes come to us from the world of entertainment, sometimes from the world of news. All are fascinating.

The need of our communications media for a continual stream of new material assures that we will have no end of colorful people who go quickly, where celebrity is concerned, from zero to hero (or villain) and back to zero. Now you see 'em, now you don't. What a crazy world, eh?

Temporary celebrities coming from the world of entertainment include one-hit recording artists; TV and movie icons who, although they might have had a great many accomplishments in their career, are remembered for one big role; standouts of reality TV; sports figures remembered for one remarkable accomplishment; and people whose celebrity came from one big role in a commercial or print ad.

News-based temporary celebrities come in many forms: mass/serial killers, other murderers of special note, sex-crime offenders, disgraced figures of government/military/business/media/religion, spies/traitors, hoaxers, femmes/hommes fatale, heroes, whistle blowers, inventors/innovators, and victims.

Celebrity Blogsburg will consider each category in turn.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One-hit wonder Gene Chandler

Gene Chandler, born Eugene Dixon, had a happy change of fortune as well as a change of outfit in 1962 thanks to his audacious hit song Duke of Earl. Who wouldn't like to be royalty? ( I myself have always wanted to be a Russian grandduke, but so far that hasn't worked out for me.) Chicago-born Chandler was singing with a group called the Dukays when he got the chance to record Duke of Earl, which rapidly sold a million copies and moved to No.1 on the charts.

After his big success, Chandler began performing dressed in a cape and top hat and sporting a cane and a monocle as he performed around the nation. During the 1970s, disc jockey Wolfman Jack toured with a number of performers from the 1960s and '50s, including Chandler. Duke of Earl was featured in the movie Hairspray (1988). Chandler has written, arranged and produced music since those days. He has owned his own label, Bamboo Records, and has been an executive for Chi-Sound Records. He still makes occasional singing appearances--dressed as the Duke, of course.

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