The Nearly Men of Pop Music: I'M (NOT)WITH THE BAND ; When Stardom Beckons, Some People Make the Most of Their Good Fortune. Others, Intentionally or Otherwise, Blow It. Following the Death of Rolling Stone Manqu Carlo Little, Ciar Byrne Celebrates the Rock Legends Who Never Were

By Byrne, Ciar | The Independent (London, England), August 1, 2005 | Go to article overview
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The Nearly Men of Pop Music: I'M (NOT)WITH THE BAND ; When Stardom Beckons, Some People Make the Most of Their Good Fortune. Others, Intentionally or Otherwise, Blow It. Following the Death of Rolling Stone Manqu Carlo Little, Ciar Byrne Celebrates the Rock Legends Who Never Were


Byrne, Ciar, The Independent (London, England)


CARLO LITTLE (THE ROLLING STONES)

When Brian Jones asked Carlo Little to join his fledgling band the Rolling Stones, the drummer refused, later saying: 'I was a professional musician and it didn't seem worthwhile.'

Already a successful drummer, who had instructed the Who's Keith Moon in the art and played with Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages, Little opted to stay with Cyril Davies and the All Stars, recommending his friend Charlie Watts to Jones. Despite being described by Keith Richards as 'the best rock and roll drummer in the world', Little remained one of rock's 'nearly men'.

The musician, who died from lung cancer at home in South Shields at the weekend, opted for a life of suburban contentment. A former drummer with the Royal Fusiliers, Little was renowned for his powerful sound. But he never joined a band that really made the big time. The Savages narrowly missed fame with the 1961 single 'Till the Following Night'. After splitting with the All Stars following a row with Davies, Little went on to play as a session musician with a string of bands, including the Hoochie Coochie Men, Buddy Britain and the Regents, Neil Christian and the Crusaders, the Echoes and the Flowerpot Men.

When he met his wife, Iris, Little renounced the musician's life in favour of a steady wage, becoming a greengrocer and driving a Mother's Pride delivery van. For a brief time, he ran a store in Wembley with the former Deep Purple bassist Nick Simper. He later ran two burger bars at Wembley stadium, where he might have played had he stayed with the Stones. In 1998, he was reunited with the band for a TV documentary.

PETE BEST (THE BEATLES)

The most famous 'nearly man' in music history, Pete Best, far right, was dumped by the Beatles two weeks before the release of their first single, 'Love Me Do', in 1962. Best's mother, Mona, ran The Casbah, a Liverpool coffee bar, where Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison first played as the Quarrymen. In 1960, Best joined the Beatles when they played in Hamburg. Here they met Ringo Starr, who replaced Best. He was told he was out because George Martin did not like his drumming. After a couple of attempts at new bands, Best became a baker then a civil servant. In later life, he formed the Pete Best Band and toured the US and the Far East with a sell-out show. In 1995, when the surviving Beatles released Anthology, including tracks on which Best played, he secured a reported pounds 2m from the band. Best still lives in Liverpool and gigs with his eponymous band.

GLEN MATLOCK (SEX PISTOLS)

The original bass player with punk rockers the Sex Pistols, Matlock, at rear, left the band in 1977 and was replaced by Sid Vicious. In his autobiography, I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol, Matlock claimed he quit of his own accord. Other theories were that he was too fond of the Beatles and he was too cute looking. He went on to form the Rich Kids with Midge Ure. He was a member of the Sex Pistols when they played their first gig at St Martin's School of Art in London in November 1975. The next year, the band was signed by EMI and released its first hit single, 'Anarchy in the UK'. Their tour turned sour when the guitarist Steve Jones said the word 'fuck' on television, provoking criticism. Matlock's last Pistols' gig was at the Paradiso in Amsterdam in early 1977 After he left, the band signed to Virgin Records and later that year hit the big time with 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'.

STEVEN DUFFY (DURAN DURAN)

Stephen Duffy met John Taylor and Nick Rhodes at art school in Birmingham and in 1978 they formed Duran Duran.

Duffy, Rhodes and a student friend, Simon Colley, toured the college circuit, but the following year Duffy left. Duran Duran went on to achieve fame with a new vocalist, Simon Le Bon, and their 1981 debut hit single 'Planet Earth'.

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The Nearly Men of Pop Music: I'M (NOT)WITH THE BAND ; When Stardom Beckons, Some People Make the Most of Their Good Fortune. Others, Intentionally or Otherwise, Blow It. Following the Death of Rolling Stone Manqu Carlo Little, Ciar Byrne Celebrates the Rock Legends Who Never Were
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