McNamee, one of the founders of Silver Lake Partners and now of Elevation Partners is also a musician via an alter ego, Chubby Wombat. McNamee/Wombat's band Moonalice includes hired guns Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Pete Sears of its spin-off, Jefferson Starship. At his 50th birthday in 2006, however, McNamee enjoyed the public serenading of his Elevation business partner Bono at the San Francisco Zoo. McNamee probably didn't have to pay for that appearance, unless you count the money both were losing on Elevation's bets in the mid-2000s.
In the 1980s, multi-day birthday parties could lead to some serious business deals. Michael Marto recalls one binge in Monaco that brought together execs of Lockheed Martin and finance ministers from the Gulf states -- but this one was more about preserving investors' unity. McNamee and Bono's faith in Elevation has paid off, as its 2009 investment in Facebook helped erase memories of its gambles on Palm and Forbes. It's unclear whether McNamee's birthday concert or his changing his band's name was the key to his turn of luck.
NEXT: Steve Schwarzman, 2007