Bad Career Moves, Part 1
It’s no secret that rock stars aren’t the best businessmen (and women) in the world. The very few rock stars who have also “made it” in the world of business are not those you would have expected – Jimmy Buffett, for example, has managed to parlay his business ventures (Margaritaville restaurants, deals with satellite radio and clothing) into an $80 million a year fortune. You know about Kiss’ Gene Simmons and all of his varied business deals, which earn a mint. And there are many young people today who think Jerry Garcia is just some guy who designs ties.
But despite their business sense (or lack of it) almost all of the biggest rock gods and goddesses have made stupid decisions when it comes to choosing projects for themselves – the longer the career, the more time one has to make a fool of him or herself at least once. Bruce Springsteen and U2, for example, just this year put out mediocre albums but nothing truly embarrassing (some may argue that point over Bruce’s “Outlaw Pete,” but whatever). So over the next few days we’ll look at a few of the truly mortifying what-the-hell-was-he (she)-thinking moments from rock history:
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Movie: At the peak of his late 1970s fame, Peter Frampton agreed for some reason to star in producer/label owner Robert Stigwood’s valentine to the Beatles. Frampton played Billy Shears, an English musician, and the Lonely Hearts Club band was brought to life by none other than the Bee Gees. This 1978 holocaust is virtually unwatchable, due to the non-existent acting talents of the leads and the utterly ridiculous story.
Oh, it has Beatles songs – but imagine Steve Martin singing “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” or “Because” as a duet with the Brothers Gibb and Alice Cooper! Clear Channel pseudo-radio stations near you probably still play a few songs from the soundtrack – Aerosmith’s version of “Come Together,” or Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Got To Get You Into My Life,” which was actually a hit.
The movie and soundtrack album were NOT a hit. What they really were, rhymes with “hit.” Now don’t make the excuse that you loved this as a little kid so you’re going to get the DVD (which, inexplicably, is still available). I used to love Cocoa Krispies when I was nine, but I don’t have to like them now.
Tomorrow: Who needs Peter Frampton? Paul McCartney can embarrass himself, thank you very much!