The Big Hurt: Britney, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, Rebecca Black, and Miley Cyrus weigh the price of fame

Britney, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, Rebecca Black, and Miley Cyrus weigh the price of fame
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 14, 2011

John Mellencamp and Stephen King 

BRITNEY SPEARS is being sued for $10 million by the company that helped her score a fragrance deal with Elizabeth Arden. It's claiming that she owes it a 35 percent commission on the sales of her popular scents. This boosts my self-esteem a little — say what you will about my fragrance, at least it's never been actionable.

A mixed bag in the world of music-literature collisions. Bad news if you've been eagerly awaiting BILLY JOEL's memoir, The Book of Joel: you've been eagerly awaiting a fucking Billy Joel book. Oh, and it's cancelled. After HarperCollins promised a June launch for the memoir, an "emotional ride" that would plumb the foulest depths of Joel's substance abuse, divorce, and shitty music, Billy decided he couldn't be bothered. "It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past," he said.

On the other hand, the world has a dope new rock/lit juxto to look forward to in 2012: the gripping horror of STEPHEN KING will meet the rock Americana of JOHN MELLENCAMP for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a stage musical opening in Atlanta next April. Now if you felt any kind of twinge of excitement about this ghost horror John Cougar musical, I urge you to email me and explain your demographic — I can't for the life of me figure out the target audience for this one. I think I've narrowed it down to "weird dads" and "Stephen King."

Things are going swimmingly on the flash-in-the-pan-novelty front: fading meme-ory CHARLIE SHEEN just debuted his SNOOP DOGG collaboration track, "Winning," during his live performance in Detroit, and the full track should be hitting the internet any day now. He already missed the boat on his own worn-out catchprase, but if he's quick, he can sneak in under the wire and get the track out before we all entirely forget why we cared about him for three weeks.

Meanwhile, REBECCA BLACK is preparing her sophomore single, "LOL." Unfortunately, her April Fool's takeover of FunnyOrDie.com revealed that she has a great sense of humor about herself, and laughing at her awfulness won't be any fun if she's in on the joke — it's impossible to recapture that kind of earnest terribleness after self-awareness poisons the well. Plus, since Black and Ark Productions are feuding over the "Friday" rights, we probably can't even expect a sick Patrice Wilson guest rap.

But much as I doubt her future prospects, "Friday" is pretty goddamn undeniable. I love the hell out of it in a manner that becomes less ironic every day. Black herself may be a fleeting phenomenon, but mark my words: that song is here to stay. Which is why MILEY CYRUS is on my shit list this week for dissing Rebecca. "It should be harder to be an artist," she told Australia's Daily Telegraph. "You shouldn't just be able to put a song on YouTube and go out on tour." Even ignoring the obvious fact that Billy Ray Jr. might not want to chuck stones in the legitimacy-of-fame department, hey, idiot, ever heard of my man Justin Bieber? He got his start on YouTube, and now he could fucking crush you in the palm of his hand.

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