Music Books - Tyler Gray

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

Lou Pearlman is best known as the grossly obese manager behind such boy bands as Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, both of whom went on to sue him for stealing their money. While they were selling millions of albums and touring the world, Pearlman was paying them less than minimum wage. But pop music was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the Orlando-by-way-of-Queens svengali who went to prison for bilking investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars using a pyramid scheme involving his other (often fictitious) companies. Tyler Gray, a senior editor at Blender, was the only journalist to interview Pearlman in prison, and he runs down his tragic life story in the book The Hit Charade. Gray portrays him as an ambitious pathological liar who was creepily drawn to young boys. Pearlman wanted to appear wealthy and influential, even if it meant bilking grandmothers out of their life savings. Four stars.