Supergroup ‘The Best’: Emerson, Entwistle, Walsh

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Emerson and Baxter react to Entwistle's solo at Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan, September 26, 1990

Emerson and Baxter react to Entwistle’s solo at Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan, September 26, 1990

When someone asks you who your favorite classic rock band is, it’s easy to rattle off three or four names. But what if that same person were to ask you who the best band is? There should really be no arguing that one. Because, turns out, there was actually a 1990 supergroup named The Best and chances are pretty good you’ve never heard of them. But you sure have heard of their members.

This short-lived collection of superstars included ELP’s Keith Emerson, Eagles’ Joe Walsh, The Who’s John Entwistle, Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers alum Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and longtime Toto drummer Simon Phillips. Their lead vocalist was a Canadian session singer named Rick Livingstone who a few years earlier had an album produced by Baxter. Entwistle noted in an interview that longtime Who drummer Zak Starkey had also performed with them.

Their brief 1990 tour of Japan and Hawaii featured songs from their “day jobs” including “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Boris the Spider,” “My Wife,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Rocky Mountain Way,” “Takin’ It to the Streets” and “Reelin’ In The Years.”

Our Classic Video is from The Best’s concert at Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan on September 26, 1990 and their lively performance of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Emerson kicks things off but there are solos aplenty from the various members. At the 4:15 mark, Entwistle begins his and Thunderfingers takes us on an extended ride. A tip of the cap to our pal Lenny for this one. Enjoy!

There’s even a DVD of that concert (see Amazon link below or click here).

Watch the Ox lead the band on a version of his “My Wife,” from Who’s Next

He died on June 27, 2002, at age 57, just as The Who were to begin a tour.

Baxter, born December 13, 1948, has also worked as a defense consultant to the Pentagon and many well known military contractors such as Northrup Grumman and General Dynamics.

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Best Classic Bands Staff

6 Comments so far

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  1. Jim
    #1 Jim 6 November, 2017, 07:56

    I have the VHS version of this (it’s obviously been around awhile !) and it’s really fun to watch these artists in their prime !

    Reply this comment
  2. Greg Brodsky
    #2 Greg Brodsky 14 December, 2017, 23:54

    Do you not see the Amazon links at the bottom of the article?

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  3. Jim
    #3 Jim 14 December, 2018, 01:22

    I was in Hollywood in Jan 1990, and actually jammed with these killers! The keyboardist was T Lavitz from the Dixie Dregs, an old friend, who was living in the desert. I asked Skunk why he was playing seated when we were in the men’s room, alone, figuring he had an injury. He went into a diatribe about some classical gtrist who taught him he could reach more notes from that position. I think he just preferred to sit, LOL.

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  4. essjay
    #4 essjay 14 December, 2018, 04:24

    Baxter astonishing from countdown to ectasy onwards and with Joe Walsh astonishing……..listen at some point to Walsh on the extended…..TURN TO STONE…..from the opening to the wonderful solo it’s an utter gem revisit or discover this it a stunner

    Reply this comment
  5. Batchman
    #5 Batchman 4 November, 2020, 19:00

    Thanks for posting the video of Entwistle singing My Wife. For the first time in 49 years I can understand all the lyrics.

    Reply this comment
  6. CG
    #6 CG 27 September, 2022, 07:20

    Jeff “Skunk” Baxter plays in a group currently “American Vinyl Allstar Band” with Barry Goudreau (formerly of Boston), Mousey Thompson (James Brown Band), Leroy Romans (The Wailers), Tim Archibald (J Geils Band, RTZ). Singer is Danny Beissel of Fosterchild and Featherborn. Great bunch of musicians.

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