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DJs rise from party-spinners 
to superstars

(CNN) -- Once just spinners-for-hire who played new hits and old favorites on the wedding/bar mitzvah/prom circuit, DJs (short for "disc jockey") have risen to a new level of talent and popularity.

Thanks to the ever-evolving club culture that started with the televised dance parties of the 1950s and picked up momentum through '70s disco, '80s hip-hop and '90s techno crazes, DJs have become part musician, part remixer and all hype.

"The DJ has replaced the rock star, the pop star, the front man," says writer/director Justin Kerrigan, whose film "Human Traffic" focuses on British club culture. "He's the superstar now."

To be a superstar DJ requires talent and ingenuity and the ability to set oneself apart from the others -- and there are many -- on a fickle club scene always on the hunt for the next big thing.

One of those superstars, DJ Spooky, agrees that DJs need to be ahead of the crowd. "You don't want to be (just) a jukebox because that will make you obsolete," he says. "You have to be creative, always be five steps, 10 steps ahead of what everybody else is up to."

Join us this weekend as WorldBeat correspondents Serena Yang and Bruno Delgranado catch up with DJ Spooky, Moby, Fatboy Slim, William Orbit, Ronni Size and the rest of the DJ culture's best and brightest.

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Prank Dismays Britney Spears Fans

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - The disc jockey thought it was pretty funny, but Britney Spears' fans weren't laughing. An announced appearance by the teen pop star prompted about 400 children and parents to line up outside WBHT-FM's studio. Their hopes were shattered when a limousine pulled up and a tuxedo-clad man emerged carrying a Britney Spears doll in a box.
``See, I told you she was a real doll to work with,'' disc jockey Bill Fox told the crowd, according to parent Michelle Brady. 

Tears streamed down little girls' faces, parents cursed and debris flew through the air. Brady said her 5-year-old daughter was hit in the head with a bottle intended for Fox. She was not seriously hurt.

``My daughter's heart was broken,'' Brady said. 

Fox said listeners should have been able to ``read between the lines'' and figure out that this joke was no different than any other pranks the station has played.

Fatboy Slim
Fatboy Slim: Better living through DJing

(CNN) -- Fatboy Slim is one of Britain's most popular exports, a DJ whose whimsical, fun-loving exterior masks a serious musician.

The DJ, whose real name is Norman Cook, mixes the songs of his youth with the tunes of today, creating a bouncy sort of nostalgia.

"What I do is kind of a rock, rap, reggae, house, Latin and pop all mixed in one great kind of cauldron," said Cook, 32. "I'd walk down the street when I was a kid in the summer when everyone's got their windows open and you'd hear reggae coming out of one house and then you'd hear house music coming out of another and then you'd hear Latin music coming out of another...The music I make would be a sum total of my favorite bits of what I heard."

Cook spent 13 years in the music industry before becoming a DJ, notably playing bass for the Housemartins, a late '80s alternative pop band. After two years in the group, Cook split off to join a new dance scene, one driven by electronica-infused house music. But that was not enough; Cook was drawn to the DJ scene.

"I just got a bit more eclectic," he told WorldBeat. "The idea was to put the fun back in clubbing. Everyone was kind of taking it a bit too seriously. Why not make it more like a party at a nightclub?"


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