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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One-hit wonder Van McCoy

Of the 700 or so songs written by Van McCoy of Washington, D.C., the one great hit was the 1975 disco dance song The Hustle. People liked it so well that specialized versions of the dance sprang up: the Latin Hustle, the L.A. Hustle, the New York Hustle, etc.

McCoy's earliest performances were as lead singer for a quartet called The Starlighers, who recorded a dance tune called The Birdland at some time in the 1950s. Before and after his big hit, McCoy wrote and arranged music for many other performers, such as Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Tom Jones, Nat King Cole, and The Shirelles. He made appearances on The Johnny Carson Show and the Mike Douglas Show and, prior to his untimely death of heart failure in 1979 at age 39, he had started his own orchestra, Soul City Symphony.

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