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.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

One-hit wonder Terry Jacks

A song that had a comforting, repetitive circularity to it was Seasons in the Sun, recorded in 1973 by Canadian singer Terry Jacks. Born in Winnipeg, Jacks played rhythm guitar and sang lead for The Chessmen, a group out of Vancouver. Thereafter, he married singer Susan Pesklevits, also a Canadian, did a duo act with her, then added two more members to become The Poppy Family. The couple went their separate ways in 1973, and Jacks, who also had been producing music, failed at getting The Beach Boys to record Seasons in the Sun and instead did it himself in his wistful, youthful voice, which somehow fit the song perfectly.

This song, which has been recorded by many other performers since then, would become his great success. The song was written by Belgian poet Jacques Brel, was translated into English by Rod McKuen, and was likely first recorded in English by The Kingston Trio's Bob Shane. It told of the farewell thoughts of a man who was dying. Brel wrote it for a friend who actually was dying of a form of cancer, the disease that also claimed Brel not so long thereafter, in 1978.

Later Jacks began working less in music and became an environmentalist fairly well known to Canadians. He lives in British Columbia at this writing.

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