In 1975, a little known singer called John Paul Young released his second single, ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ and was catapulted to [local] stardom. Ironically, the song itself was about the fleeting nature of fame. JPY was introduced on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s iconic TV series, Countdown; he was Australia’s first ‘created’ pop star.
The show’s producer, Michael Shrimpton, and talent co ordinator, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, arranged for girls to mob JPY’s car on camera and to pull him from the stage during performances. He went on to have a few more hits with famously interchangeable lyrics on the same riff.
Now, as the fever builds worldwide for the latest synthetic boy band, I am reminded of JPY in reports of empty seats at ‘sold out’ concerts that leave weeping tweens in the streets outside the venues. We’ve seen it all before. The MO of The Beatles was dissected and regurgitated for The Monkees, The Bay City Rollers, New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, A-ha, Bros, Big Fun, Brother Beyond, Take That, Boyzone, MN8, 911, Damage, East 17, Five, Another Level, Point Break, Westlife, No Mercy, LFO, O-Town, US5, All 4 One, 98 Degrees, Hanson, Jonas Brothers, Dream Street, A1, Blue, Busted, McFly, O-Zone, Overground, Tokio Hotel, EXILE, and Super Junior.
It doesn’t matter how many times they do it; we buy it all again and again.
It isn’t hard to fabricate mass hysteria. Advertisers know the psychology of group manipulation backwards. There are a few very basic principals which can be used on the great unwashed over and over again without being questioned. They begin with the simple creed – ‘Act as if ….’
Why does it surprise us then, when we see the same thing happen with books? [more....]