Britney Spears' new album is in stores today. Will "Oops! ... I Did It Again" live up to the sales of last year's No. 1 "Baby One More Time"? Will some new budding teen singer steal her audience? Or will her audience simply move on on its own? Tony DeFranco knows the pressure facing the "Oops" girl.
Maybe he never made the kind of megamoney that 18-year-old Spears is swimming in, but the lead singer of the polyester-era DeFranco Family ("Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat") was every bit as much the "It" popster for 1973 as Spears was the "It" popster for 1999.
DeFranco Family DeFranco survived the inevitable loss of fame that usually comes with the post-puberty years. And while the fan mail stopped coming, DeFranco went on to succeed as a record producer and businessman.
So, when the 40-something singer offers a bit of unsolicited advice for teen stars, maybe Britney should lend an ear, especially if she doesn't want to go the way of Tiffany ("Oops, I think I'm a has-been.").
"Choose your friends wisely," DeFranco told Hollywood.com at a recent party celebrating the reissue of the DeFranco Family's two albums on CD.
He continued: "Everyone may say they love you and you may think you can do no wrong, but question where these friends will be when you don't have a song at the top of the charts. Try to have someone, a mentor, that you can call for real advice."
(We already know that Britney has a mentor, her mom, Lynne Spears. They talked a book together, the just-published "Britney Spears' Heart to Heart.")
DeFranco: "Stay humble. Try not to get caught up in the high life, and most of all, keep your ego in check. Success can be short-lived, so be careful how you treat people. You'll meet these same people on the way down.
(Translation: Remember, Britney, to tip car valets and fast-food employees, so they don't dent your car or spit on your onion rings on the off chance you're a little short of cash 10 years from now.)
DeFranco: "Have fun, it may not last!"
(Translation: Ignore all those rumors about breast implants, Brit. Soon, it won't be your breasts they're talking about.)