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So Close, Yet So Far – The Unlucky Musicians

We have read time and time again about some surprising successes of famous people. You are probably familiar with how some publishers refused to take on a book that became a huge hit. Still, some people were members of bands that made it big shortly after they left and all they have from it is the ability to say “I once played with those guys.”

Anthony Tony Chapman (The Rolling Stones)

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This British drummer almost made it – he was really close. He actually played with The Rolling Stones for a while and was the drummer at their first official performance back in 1962. When he joined the band, he had doubts about the way they played blues. Additionally, he hated their name. Chapman did not feel like he fitted in with the band. He, therefore, decided to start his own.  While his career went on, he never made it as big as the Stones did.

Stephen Duffy (Duran Duran)

Duffy is actually one of the founding members of Duran Duran. He used to be the main vocalist of the band and formed Duran Duran with John Taylor. The two previously met in School of Foundation Studies & Experimental Workshop. He had one hit in Kiss Me. However, just like Tony Chapman, he did not grow to be compared to his first band.

David Marks (The Beach Boys)

David Marks actually spent years with the band when they were starting. Back in 2012, he was a part of the reunion tour. However, he missed the opportunity to be with them when they were putting out classic hits such as “Pet Sounds” and “California Girls.”

Doug Sandom (The Who)

Doug, unfortunately, did not choose to leave the band. He was actually kicked out, as he explained in his book “Who I Am”: I didn’t get on well with Peter Townshend. I was a few years older than he was, and he thought I should pack it in more or less because of that. I thought I was doing all right with the band…”

Randolph Peter Pete Best  (The Beatles)

Pete Best joined The Beatles thanks to a promise that Paul McCartney made to him regarding the money he would get. He said they would each make 15 pounds per week. Unfortunately, he didn’t fit right in and was dismissed from the band. The only thing Epstein told him was: “The lads don’t want you in the group anymore.” Almost 40 years later Paul McCartney explained what happened: “It’s like in the Beatles, we had Pete Best, who was a really good drummer, but there just was something, he wasn’t quite like the rest of us, we had a sense of humour in common and he was nearly in with it all, but it’s a fine line, you know, as to what is exactly in and what is nearly in. So he ‘left’ the band and we were looking for someone who would fit.”

Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Jack Irons was a founding member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Still, he did not see a lot of potential in the band itself and decided to put a lot more effort toward his other band. He stayed in theRed Hot Chili Peppers until Hillel Slovak, the guitarist, died from heroin overdose in 1988. Irons simply couldn’t bear playing in the band after the death of his friend, and he left. He was there for their second and third albums.

John Berry (Beastie Boys)


Guitarist John Berry was very important during the beginnings of the Beastie Boys. He motivated them to become better, put on gigs in his apartment, and encouraged Adam Yauch to stick with his bass. He had appeared on ‘Polly Wog Stew’, but shortly after, he lost interest in the band and simply left. Once he was gone, they replaced him with Adam Horovitz and eventually made it big.

Tracii Guns (Guns N’ Roses)

For those who didn’t know this, the band was named after the people who formed it. Axl Rose and Tracii Guns. Actually, Guns is the one who was there before Axl. He played in a band called L.A. Guns and Roses came when they needed a new vocalist. In the end, he left because he was too lazy to be a rockstar. “I just stopped going to rehearsal. Axl would call me screaming and yelling,” he explains. He left a year before the release of ‘Appetite For Destruction.’

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