The Fourth Supreme, the Beastie Boys' drummer, a man too weird for The Velvet Underground & other almost famous musicians.
Ever wonder if your old band could have sold millions if you’d all stuck with it? The 10 people on this list don’t. They grapple with a much more cumbersome certainty that they would have played stadiums if they’d stayed in a group that went on to become incredibly famous. Here’s how their lives ended up after a near run-in with fame.
Pete Best, Drummer for The Beatles Until 1962
The unluckiest man in rock history, Pete Best was The Beatles’ drummer — right until they signed a record contract. John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison recruited Best before they vacated Liverpool to play the nightclubs of Hamburg. The other three left his firing to manager Brian Epstein and the reasons for Best’s replacement with Ringo Starr have been murky. Reportedly, producer George Martin was unimpressed by his drumming or perhaps the others were jealous of Best’s good looks. He joined Lee Curtis & the All Stars, a band that failed to take off, and felt a tinge of pain whenever he heard a Beatles song, so the ’60s were tough.
In 1965, he attempted suicide by lethal gas. Afterwards, he quit music to become a civil servant. His assignment? Helping Liverpoolians with their careers. In retirement, Best began drumming again and tours with his Pete Best Band. In a 2004 radio interview, he said, “It’s wonderful to be in a position where you can say I’ve enjoyed life, regardless of what happened 40-odd years ago. I’ve still got my health. I’ve still got my happiness. I’ve still got my humor.”