Front page headlines don’t get any better that “Headless Body In Topless Bar,” and Vincent Musetto of the New York Post was the man who wrote it. He died of cancer yesterday at age 74:
The headline appeared above an article about an infamous crime in which a psychopath entered a bar in Queens, shot the owner, and then had the one female patron cut off the victim’s head.
When the police report came across Musetto’s desk, he thought it was almost too good to be true. Upon finding out the that the drinking establishment also featured topless female performers, fate had aligned with those five words. He created the perfect headline.
One of the city editors yelled to Musetto across the room, expressing his disbelief that the local bar was actually a topless one. Musetto jumped on top of his desk and waved his arms yelling,“It’s gotta be a topless bar! This is the greatest f***ing headline of my career!”
And it was. As Thomas Novelly of the Washington Free Beacon notes, “The famous headline earned Musetto his spot in the pop-culture hall of fame and his clever turn of phrase was featured in Saturday Night Live sketches, became the title of a crime film, and even earned him a night in the guest chair with David Letterman.”
It’s also the title of a fun-packed anthology of Post headlines that the Manhattan tabloid published a few years ago. If you’re a blogger, you owe it to yourself to buy a copy and study it as if it were a how-to guide, because it is: no matter how good a post you write, no one will see it unless the headline grabs them first.