The Hit Charade: Lou Pearlman, Boy Bands, and the Biggest Ponzi Scheme in U.S. History

Tyler Gray, Author Collins $24.95 (287p) ISBN 978-0-06-157966-0

In the wake of phenomenally successful tweeny-bopper pop stars like Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers—as well as the recent reunion of boy-band New Kids on the Block—the time is right for a good look at the ever-present sleaze of the music industry, and journalist Gray provides it in great, greasy bucketfuls. His focus is Lou Pearlman, the manager of the Backstreet Boys and INSYNC who, Gray explains, used their earnings to finance his exorbitant lifestyle including a multimillion-dollar mansion, a fleet of private planes and expensive cars, and, inevitably, “a shady world of endless investments.” Gray’s look at the bands’ music is serviceable. However, Gray has a keen eye for business, and he writes fluently in detailing how Pearlman with “an assembly of hucksters as his new business partners,” massively scammed not only his boy bands (he collected “50 percent of all recording royalties, 100 percent of all advances”) but hopeful model wannabes as well as gullible investors, including Pearlman’s first cousin Art Garfunkel and government officials of Orlando, Fla. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/15/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
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