A.V. Club reviews episode 15: Boy Bands, Blimps & Ponzi Schemes

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Lou Pearlman died in August. He was in prison for running a half-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. You probably remember him, though, as the leering, boisterous lug behind ’N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, not to mention the man who helped change the fabric of mainstream music in the late ’90s. In this episode of Between The Liner Notes, host Matthew Billy interviews both Pearlman’s former talent manager, Jeanne Tanzy-Williams, and his biographer, Tyler Gray, to help flesh out the Svengali’s life, career, and downfall. Fascinating anecdotes abound, including the story behind how Pearlman made his fortune and the formation of the Backstreet Boys (both involve blimps). While the episode certainly humanizes Pearlman, it’s not attempting to tug any heartstrings; he was shitty to almost everybody in his life, especially Tanzy-Williams, who still somehow manages to shore up a little sympathy for the man. Still, Pearlman was a visionary, an idea man of rare drive. Sure, he bilked all the kids he worked with to some degree, but he also invested millions upon millions of his own dollars into the ventures. His legacy lives on, whether we like it or not.
[Randall Colburn]