Pete & Roger, John & Paul, Mick & Keith

Last year I read the Keith Richards autobiography and a biography about Paul McCartney.

On this most recent vacation, I started reading the Pete Townshend autobiography.

It’s amazing how the Stones, Beatles and the Who all started. Each with their own very different life stories. And their love affair with music is inspiring. 

The one thing they have in common (besides being English) is their complex personal relationships inside the band. It’s no secret that Pete Townshend/Roger Daltrey (The Who),  John Lennon/Paul McCartney (Beatles), and Mick Jagger/Keith Richards (Stones) all had strained relationships over the years.

Last year Fred was reading the Keith Richards book at the same time I was. It was fun to email each other our favorite parts as we went along. Fred pointed out the reason the Stones made lame records in the 80’s is because it was the time when Mick and Keith’s relationship soured. 

The same thing is becoming clear in the Pete Townshend book as well. 

I can’t help but compare these rock and roll founders with the founders I see in startup land. While we always look for the very best founding team, history has shown that these teams don’t always stay together. Sometimes the band breaks up and the founders simply cannot or won’t get along. 

Sometimes its jealousy. Sometimes it’s about ego. Sometimes its depression. Sometimes its because both founders want to be the lead singer. (Sorry I can’t help but compare it to these rock and roll books).

But one thing is clear: when the band is tight, they make the best music. When the band is fighting and drama takes over, the music and the fun stops.

It’s true in rock and roll and it extends to relationships everywhere. In startups, in venture capital firms, in marriage, in your family.