Inside Joe Walsh, Keith Emerson and John Entwistle’s Short-Lived Supergroup The Best

The band played 5 shows in 1990

John Entwistle of The Who Dies in Las Vegas - File Photos
John Entwistle and Keith Emerson.

When high-profile musicians come together in a new project, the effect can sometimes be seismic: Them Crooked Vultures is one relatively recent example, as well as the likes of Blind Faith and the Traveling Wilburys. Others are more obscure despite their lineups, including The 801, whose lineup featured Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera.

And then there’s the case of The Best, a short-lived supergroup whose lineup included heavy hitters Joe Walsh, Keith Emerson and John Entwistle. You might think that a group featuring members of The Eagles and The Who would be better known, but the story of the band’s founding remains fascinating. In a new article at Ultimate Classic Rock, The Best’s vocalist Rick Livingston shared his recollections of his time in the group.

In 1990, Livingston had recorded an album produced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of the Doobie Brothers — which led to the two becoming the core of an ever-fluctuating house band in Los Angeles. Guests, according to Livingston, included Mick Jagger and Sting.

A number of Japanese concert promoters saw the band play when the lineup featured Emerson, Entwistle and Walsh, and suggested that they travel across the Pacific for a few shows. The members agreed, opting to play sets that drew from their previous bands’ work — though only songs the members themselves had written.

The article describes the group as playing to crowds in the neighborhood of 20,000 people. Unfortunately, the group didn’t last for very long — its most famous members ended up being drawn back into the orbits of their previous bands when they reunited. Still, Livingston’s career since the brief heyday of The Best has had its own successes, including a host of Emmy nominations for his work in television. The Best may not have had the longest history in the rock world, but it’s an interesting history nonetheless.

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