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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One-hit wonder Rick Lewis

Get a Job, a poor man's lament set to rock music, was written by Richard "Rick" Lewis during his time in the U.S. Army in Korea. Lewis was wounded in action and in 1954 returned to the States. He had done some gospel singing on Armed Forces Radio and continued this type work in Philadelpia with a group having the unlikely name The Gospel Tornadoes. Changing the group's name to The Silhouettes, the group cut a non-religious rock record. The side they thought would do well was the forgettable "I Am Lonely." To their surprise, the flip side, Get A Job, caught on big in 1957 and sold something like 2 million copies. It captured with both humor and poignancy the plight of many a poor black man in a discriminatory America--failing to find even temporary work and having to return home to his wife rejected and embarrassed to "hear that woman's mouth, preachin' and cryin,' tell me I was lyin' about a job that I never could find." Lewis sang the number with the group, although Bill Horton did the lead.

The Silhouettes kept singing into the early 1990s and were mainly considered a doo-wop group. Lewis outlived the rest of the original Silhouettes but died in 2005 of multiple organ failure.

No comments:

Post a Comment