Boy Band Godfather Lou Pearlman Dies In Federal Prison At The Age Of 62
Although the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC divided tweens in the late nineties and early aughts, when it came down to who was the best, both bands actually came from the same man. But it’s the end of an era, as Lou Pearlman died in federal prison over the weekend at the age of 62. His exact cause of death hasn’t been confirmed by authorities. Pearlman was serving a 25-year sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas for running a $300 million Ponzi scheme and other banking crimes in 2006 and 2007, when he declared bankruptcy. He was convicted in 2008.
After his conviction, Pearlman also faced a bunch of lawsuits, one of them from his ex-proteges, the Backstreet Boys. He did not have a good reputation when it came to business, but he did have a knack for creating stars. Lance Bass, of *NSYNC tweeted Saturday, “Word is that #LouPearlman has passed away. He might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn’t be doing what I love today without his influence. RIP Lou.”
Others had mixed feelings too, including Justin Timberlake, who tweeted: “I hope he found some peace. God bless and RIP, Lou Pearlman.” It’s hard to mourn someone who helped make your career, but also fucked with your money. That shit isn’t right. No one said it better than Aaron Carter, who wrote, “#LouPearlman my old manager died in prison… Rip Lou not the best business guy really at all but he did discover me karma is real.”
Pearlman also gave LFO, Take 5, and O-Town their starts, but was long accused of pocketing profits from the groups. He was ultimately sued by everyone he ever worked with, except one minor boy band no one has ever heard of called US5. He was also accused of things aside from just being greedy AF, like alleged sexual abuse.
Bass told The Hollywood Reporter, “He would always have young boy limo drivers for Trans Continental Records. Those limo drivers would always be put into different boy bands. Then I’d hear rumors that he would molest the boys before they would even get into the groups. I don’t know how much of that is true, but to me, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Pearlman denied all of the allegations and told The Hollywood Reporter, “I deeply regret what happened. And I’ll be back.“
Despite his questionable character, Pearlman founding the Backstreet Boys in 1993, and leading them to become the highest grossing pop group ever changed the music scene forever. Without the guy, we’d have no Justin Timberlake or Nick Carter. And what kind of world would that be?