As I said in a recent post, I’ve changed my thinking about the use of the term ‘one-hit wonder’. I know that it’s always been meant as a put-down and I’m sure it’s perceived as such by the artist, but it doesn’t have to be. After all, they’ve achieved something that countless others haven’t — they’ve had a hit record — and that’s cause for recognition and even celebration.
To take it a little further, just because an artist doesn’t have additional hit records doesn’t mean they weren’t talented, and it also doesn’t mean that their one big song wasn’t a dandy. A good example is the smooth singing group known as the Elegants, whose 1958 recording of “Little Star” has been called a masterpiece.
A New York based group, the Elegants included five guys who had all logged time in other combos before they came together. But when Vito Picone joined up with Arthur Venosa, James Mochella, Carmen Romano, and Frank Tardogono, they soon became a popular draw on Staten Island’s South Beach. It wasn’t long before a recording contract came along, and the group hit it big with a song inspired by a nursery rhyme. Written by Picone and Venosa, “Little Star” turned “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” into a shooting star, and it easily climbed the charts to the top position, earning a gold record for the group.
The Elegants made several good followup records in subsequent years, but none did particularly well on the charts. Still, even though there were some dry periods, the group managed to find amazing longevity in the decades since, with a variety of different combos usually led by Picone. In fact, at last report they are still doing their thing for fans.
2 thoughts on “The Elegants Struck Gold With A Star”
I very much agree that there is a somewhat degrading stigma with the term ‘one hit wonder’. Obviously most artists who fall into this category have little or no profound influence on the musical genre of which they are a part. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that their music was of no significance whatsoever. And this song by The Elegants, “Little Star”, in my opinion, is one of those building blocks you’ll find supporting the foundation of the Rock and Roll genre. Their doo-wop arrangement of this song was right up there at the top of that class and became a “poster child”, if you will, for the aspiring groups of that time period. If there were a rock and roll song Hall of Fame, this song would have long since been inducted.
Well said, Alan. Thanks for another solid and thoughtful contribution.