Click on the above link to listen to the “Best Song Ever” (according to those who posted comments on the UTube website) and sway in your chair to the velvety sounds of Don & Juan’s rendition of “What’s Your Name?”
But don’t be surprised if you didn’t recognize the recording artists of this song that topped the Billboard pop chart at #7 in 1962. That Doo Wop duo never enjoyed the fame of the Everly Brothers or Elvis. In fact, they never enjoyed another smash hit of the mega proportions of this one.
Today, when many of us (of that 50’s, 60’s era) discover the actual singers of those “Oldies but Goodies,” we’re shocked. All too often, the reaction is: “Is that who sang that song?” “I don’t even remember them.” For instance, “Happy Together” was sung by the Turtles; the Archies, an animated band, spun out “Sugar Sugar;” and the Crests sang “Sixteen Candles,” all groups that probably register low on the public recognition meter.
But that would change, as recording artists learned how to embed themselves in the public psyche with savvy marketing.
One who always knew the power of soft manipulation was Liberace. Regarded the quintessential entertainer whose outrageous costumes and suspect lifestyle (no one “came out” in the 50’s) invited speculation and tabloid rumor, he seduced his nationally-televised audience each week, with playful banter, syrupy tones, and stunning showmanship.
But Liberace could be a tough player, too, as was evident when he took to court a Brit. tabloid that suggested his homosexuality in print. He sued and won. Ironically, he’d lose a palimony lawsuit to his former alleged love, Scott Thorson, following their cohabitation and split. But he set the stage (both literally and figuratively) for what worked.
Elvis and the Beatles were next.
One had the rock ‘n roll style, swiveling hips and sexy personna to turn the music industry on its ear, driving home the reality there was a vast untapped reservoir of adolescent money and allegiance there for the plucking, while the Brit. group parlayed their style, good looks, and great songs into legend, driving their fans to frenzied nirvana.
But if Elvis and the Beatles pushed the envelope, others ripped it apart.
Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Ozzy Osbourne (of Black Sabbath) and Alice Cooper all provoked…the Stones for the hard rock lifestyle they seemingly endorsed by example, while Osbourne and Cooper became the Shock Jocks of Rock. As such, they wrought brutality on animals as part of their act. PETA hadn’t emerged yet.
Cher began as half of a husband/wife team who went on her own. Her fame was bolstered by her individualistic lifestyle and avant-garde, over-the-top couture most evident in that memorable see-through dress she wore to the Oscars. Not many folks enjoy world-wide recognition of their one-syllable, first name.
Classicist-turned-entertainer, Elton John, knew the value of sensationalism. He donned outrageously large hats, rhinestone bejeweled glasses, and high platform shoes, before they were fashionable.
Michael Jackson and Madonna left sizable imprints on the industry. The King of Pop danced his Moon Walk and grabbed a part of his lower anatomy, while Madonna wore corsets and conical bras that exaggerated two of her “Lady Parts” (as comedienne Kathy Griffin calls them). She planted a sexual kiss on a young Britney Spears, (Madonna’s heir-apparent?) when the two appeared in concert.
So, who is the intrepid Lady G? Merely the latest to ratchet up the ante. Where Liberace used an electrified candleabra, on his piano, she uses real flames licking hers. Whereas Elton John donned Mad Hatter hats, Lady G stacks hers higher, mimicking the Statue of Liberty.
If she dressed down senators, recently, for dragging their feet on “Don’t ask; don’t tell,” she dressed up in a meat-slab-gone-haute-couture outfit she wore to the Video Music Awards ceremony. How did she answer the backlash from vegetarians and PETA people? She deftly characterized her dress a protest statement (“I’m no piece of meat.”)
So, if Gaga’s a strutting hyperbole in skyscraper-platform shoes and spiked headgear, she’s merely the latest in a long line of artists who differentiate themselves from the pack of wannabes. And Forbes’ recent list for “World’s Most Powerful Women” confirms the fact this talented 24-year-old is succeeding:
Lady Gaga is on that list……………(Click on the website link below).
Inimitable Lady G (with her hat of her own hair)
…But Then They’ve All Been ‘Inimitable’…Haven’t They?