Monday, January 09, 2017

The reason pop star deaths always make the news

We were out at lunch with old friends yesterday when we got the news Peter Sarstedt had died.

I asked my friends whether the news of his death would make the BBC Six o'clock News. The consensus of the table was it was unlikely. One hit and such a long time ago. It wouldn't be enough.

I said I thought he would be.

We were driving back when I got a text from one of the friends from the lunch. They had the radio on and, sure enough, the news of Peter Sarstedt's death was on the Six O'Clock.

With pop star deaths the question of news values becomes muddied by the desire of a radio producer to interrupt their diet of hard news with a little bit of music.

The one hasn't been born who can resist.


  1. Anonymous12:18 pm

    Genuine question: Had the departed's sole hit been in 2009 rather than 1969, would the death have made the news? I ask because I wonder if the news agenda might be based on total sales (presumably far higher back then) or the song's afterlife, or if it is merely based on the target audience's age. Did Sarstedt's death make it onto Newsbeat or whatever happens these days on Radio 1?

    1. Fair point. I personally don't think it would. I don't think stats come in to it. It's just a feeling that this song would be familiar to the programme's audience. Interesting that they've just closed down the Newsbeat web page because they found that young listeners preferred to get their news from the traditional news bulletins.

  2. As you noted in your opening sentence, it is news. In fact I didn't know he'd died, so this was news to me.

    Whether such "trifles" are considered "newsworthy" is always a moot point.

    I was never a fan, but I can hear "Where Do You Go To My Lovely" once in a while without any shudders. As with so much of music, it reminds of....times and places and things.

  3. Anonymous7:21 pm

    He was the supplier of one of the two great sardonic laughs of 60's pop with "ahahaha"
    Followed closely by Nancy Sinatra's These Boots are Made For Walking's exclamatory "Hah"

    I once found him judging a beauty contest in a half empty Thursday's nightclub in Ken High St midweek late 70's.
    He was wearing the white suit.