Badfinger were originally a Welsh / English rock band formed in Swansea that were active from the 1960s to the 1980s. The best-known line-up consisted of Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, and Joey Molland. They are recognized for their influence on the 1970s power pop genre.
The band evolved from an earlier group called the Iveys, formed in 1961, which became the first group signed by the Beatles "Apple" label in 1968. The band renamed themselves Badfinger, after the working title for the Beatles' 1967 song "With a Little Help from My Friends "(" Bad Finger Boogie "). From 1968 to 1973, Badfinger recorded five albums for Apple and toured extensively before becoming embroiled in the chaos of Apple Records' dissolution.
Badfinger had four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: "Come and Get It" (written and produced by Paul McCartney, 1970), "No Matter What" (produced by Mal Evans, 1970), "Day After Day" (produced by George Harrison, 1971), and "Baby Blue" (produced by Todd Rundgren 1972). Their song "Without You" (1970) has been recorded many times, becoming a US number-one hit for Harry Nilsson and, decades later, a UK number-one for Mariah Carey.
After Apple Records folded in 1973, Badfinger struggled with a host of legal, managerial and financial issues, leading to Ham's taking his own life in 1975. Over the next three years, surviving members struggled to rebuild their personal and professional lives against a backdrop of lawsuits, which tied up the songwriters' royalty payments for years. Their subsequent albums floundered.
As Molland and Evans alternated between cooperation and conflict, their attempts to revive and capitalize on the Badfinger legacy floundered.
In 1983, Evans also died by suicide.
Badfinger have put out some really good music. Everyone has their own favorite Badfinger stuff, here are my 5 faves in no particular order.
Take it All. The opening track on the "Strait Up" album. Written by Peter Ham and featuring him o vocal, guitar, keyboards, it gets the album off to a moody start.
Day After Day. Another Peter Ham song off "Strait Up" with Peter and Joey Molland on vocals. George Harrison plays slide guitar on this and produced the track. Leon Russell on keyboard.
No Matter What. Probably my favorite Badfinger song, it really moves along. Gutsy guitar, good vocals and classic harmonies. and, nice drum fill!
Without You. I didn't know this was a Ham/Evans song, always thought it was a Harry Nilsson, having only ever heard him sing it. It wasn't till 1975 when I got "No Dice" in for a customer at my shop that I heard the original version. A classic example of two songs written by the two members put together to make one classic song.
Baby Blue. Another Peter Ham song, it moves along nicely. It was written about as girl had met in the US, but on returning to England, did not contact her. The song got to No. 14 in the US, was scheduled to be released as a single in the UK, but Apple cancelled the release.
“No Dice” was the follow up to “Magic Christian Music” which was recorded under the bands original name, The Iveys. When bass player Ron Griffiths departed, Joey Molland joined on guitar, and Tom Evans moved from rhythm to bass. Joey had achieved a taste of success with Gary Walker and the Rain, especially in Japan.
The sessions were mostly done at Abbey Road studios, and Mal Evans (of Beatles fame) started as producer.
However, Apple didn’t agree, and he was replaced by Geoff Emerick, who had worked with the Beatles among others. Commencing in July 1970, “No Dice” came out in December. The goal was to highlight the bands song writing skills and their wide variety of styles.
1. "I Can't Take It" (Pete Ham)
2. "I Don't Mind" (Tom Evans/Joey Molland)
3. "Love Me Do" (Molland)
4. "Midnight Caller" (Ham) Ham with Evans
5. "No Matter What" (Ham)
6. "Without You" (Ham/Evans)
1. "Blodwyn" (Ham)
2. "Better Days" (Evans/Molland)
3. "It Had to Be" (Mike Gibbins)
4. "Watford John" (Evans/Gibbins/Ham/Molland)
5. "Believe Me" (Evans)
6. "We're for the Dark" (Ham)
Badfinger "Straight Up" Album
The bands third album, and many say its best, came out in the U.S. in December 1971, and the UK in January 1972. This was a year since “no Dice” and their hit single “No Matter What.”
As usual, comparisons were made with the Beatles, some calling the album “Badfinger for Sale”
Sessions ran from January to March 1971, beginning again with producer Geoff Emerick, and 12 tracks were completed, six of which made it to the final cut of the album.
Apple pulled Emerick out, and George Harrison took over.
George really gelled with the band and really enjoyed working with him.
Reworked versions of “Day After Day”, “Name Of The Game”, (which was considered for their next single, but Apple pulled it) “Suitcase” and “I’d Die Babe”, the latter featuring George on guitar.
But all good things come to an end, and George went off to his Bangla Desh mission and Todd Rundgren, the successful American producer was brought in to finish the work.
This he did. The band did not get on well with Rundgren, apparently taking no notice of their input, and being very dictatorial.
Badfinger took part in George Harrison’s Bangla Desh Concert, in August ’72 and the Strait Up album was released to mixed reviews.
And it did not receive the high praise “No Dice” Received, one critic stating “"a barely decent album, one which is the poorest of Badfinger's three LPs and by far the least likeable".
However, opinions have since changed and it is now regarded as Badfingers best work. At the time, I thought it great album, and bought it after hearing one track on the radio, “Day After Day”
1. "Take It All" Pete Ham
2. "Baby Blue" Ham
3. "Money" Tom Evans
4. "Flying" Evans/Molland
5. "I'd Die Babe" Molland
6. "Name of the Game" Ham
7. "Suitcase" Molland
8. "Sweet Tuesday Morning" Molland
9. "Day After Day" Ham
10. "Sometimes" Molland
11. "Perfection" Ham
12. "It's Over" Evans
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An expose of the music business, "Without You "also serves as a tribute to the band's work. A great inside look at the band.
Badfinger's Ass album
Ass is the fifth studio album by Badfinger leased on Apple. The opening track, "Apple of My Eye", refers to the band leaving the label to begin its new contract with Warner brothers Records.
The cover artwork, showing a donkey chasing a distant carrot, alludes to Badfinger's feelings that they had been misled by Apple. Ten tracks including "Blind Owl" a great song. Only reached No. 122 on Billboerds charts. Badfinger Ass Album
The original Peter ham written "Without You" later covered by Harry Nilsson.
And their all time classic, "No Matter What"
Filmed when all was well. tight harmonies and great guitar work.