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Badfinger: The Best Post-Beatles Band

Updated on March 27, 2012
From L-R: Joey Molland, Evans, Pete Ham, Gibbons
From L-R: Joey Molland, Evans, Pete Ham, Gibbons
First 1968 single
First 1968 single
1974 LP
1974 LP
1969 and 1970-1 LP
1969 and 1970-1 LP

If The Beatles ruled music in the 1960's, Badfinger, was their extension in sound in the 1970's. No question about it. Badfinger, formerly The Iveys, shot to prominence with their #1 song penned by Paul McCartney in 1970-71. One could say, Paul had discovered their talent while they were The Iveys before 1968. While two of its members resembled John and Paul, and their harmonies were very Beatlish-their music, penned by themselves, could have been what The Beatles might have sounded like in the 1970's, had they stayed together.

Badfinger originated in Wales and while they spoke with heavy Welsh accents, when they sang, their words were clear and precise. It was Mal Evans, The Beatles road manager that made them known to Paul and John. John passed on them. Paul thought otherwise and thought their, Maybe Tomorrow, could be a hit for Apple. He was right, it became #1 in some countries but was not released in the US.

The Iveys name changed their name when Apple signed them. The name sounded too nice. Lennon suggested, "Prix" ( a play on the work, prick), McCartney suggested, "Home". One of the Beatles manager suggested "Badfinger". Badfinger was tied to the Beatles' famous 1967 song, "With a Little Help from my Friends". Prior to that name, this song had been called "Badfinger", simply because John had to play the piano section with such a finger.

Badfinger descended on America in 1970 on apple records. The "Come and Get it" single was in the Top Ten. Once again showing that Paul's magic as a songwriter still reigned. Both Paul and George would play on a few of their songs during their career into 80's.

Badfinger created their material and it was worthy. They had their own style, more of a Beatles Abbey Road sound in composition. Joey Molland looked like Paul or a twin brother. After "Come and Get It", other hits of theirs were: Day After Day, No Matter What, Baby Blue. Their most famous song and covered by Nilsson and Mariah Carey was their original, Without You.

Many of their songs on their LPs are not listed here, but they were of equal caliber in content and music. The band members were all true rock musicians and just a little younger than The Beatles themselves. The band did not try to emulate them, say like The Monkees, they developed their own style. Badfinger has a strong following and fanbase, but it was never on the same level as The Beatles. The band continued making a series of solid, good LPs, with their best in 1974, Wish You Were Here and Ass. But their management, unknown to the members, were ripping them off in recording contracts. Each of the members averaged only $7-8,000 a year, while their manager reaped $75,000!

Like The Beatles in 1968, Badfinger had a series of legal problems starting in 1974-5 involving contracts and amounts that their manager had signed. Internal band politics, ironically, just like The Beatles in the Let It Be movie, boiled over. Then, Pete Ham, a key member and song writer, quit the band for weeks. Then, its other key member, Joey Molland, quit in Dec. 1974. Apple sold their contract to Warner Brothers negotiated by their dubious manager. In 1975, WB filed a lawsuit that took four years to resolve over contractual violations of their manager.This eventually brought in the Riverside County DA (in California) that filed criminal charges against Badfinger's manager.

1975 would bring Badfinger to its end. The band did not receive much money due from WB because of legalities. They could not play much. The members were going broke and had houses and other things to pay for. In April, its key member, Pete Ham, depressed and drunk, hung himself. Leaving a suicide note for his wife and baby. Badfinger ended.

Its other key member, Joey Molland, went on to play in the short lived, Natural Gas, band. They were not successful. By 1977, the former members were all nearly flat broke, selling their equipment to survive. Molland and his wife lived her parents in LA and he later started to install carpets to make money. Another member drove a taxi in London. Badfinger came back in 1979 with their, "Airwaves" LP, which was somewhat of a success. In 1981, they released another LP, Say No More, that was in the Top 100.

The new Badfinger also had legal problems with different managers this time that ended up in a $5 million dollar lawsuit. The two original Badfinger members, Molland and Evans, grew hostile to one another over time because of it and royalties from their biggest hit, "Without You" in 1973-4. After one heated argument, Evans, followed Ham-he hanged himself.

That, once and for all, ended a great band called Badfinger.

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    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 

      6 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      Wow, I never knew that Badfinger was associated with the Beatles. As a big Beatles fan, I should have known, Badjanie, lol. At any rate, I did like Badfinger as a young person, good hub and voted up!

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      6 years ago

      I have all their LPs, and like the Fab Four, there are many other great songs on them that were not releases as a single.

    • Theeyeballkid profile image

      Theeyeballkid 

      6 years ago

      Fascinating hub, I've only known Badfinger from "Day after Day", I'm interesting in hearing more of their songs after reading this hub.

      Voted up.

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