Classic Rock Hits & the Greatest Band That Almost Was
Classic Rock hits began in the early '60s with the British invasion and the Beatles. During their career, the Beatles penned more number one hits than any rock or pop group before them or since. While the Beatles were touring the US, another popular band called the Iveys was becoming increasingly popular in Wales. When they moved to London, the Iveys were being watched by Mal Evans, who was a Beatles roadie, also known as the 5th Beatle. He was so impressed by the group that he brought them to Apple, where they changed their name to Badfinger, inspired by a John Lennon song called "Badfinger Boogie".
Badfinger began its journey inspired by Pete Ham and Tom Evans, who were the equivalent of Lennon and McCartney. Pete Ham would write music, based on the mood he was in. If he was happy he would write an upbeat tune, and if he was in a melancholy mood he would usually write about lost loves or missed opportunities. Tom Evans was sort of a schizophrenic type character who could switch moods at the drop of a dime. His spirit was truly a driving force that helped push the band to be the best it could be. During its heyday, Badfinger was completed with Mike Gibbins on drums and Joey Molland on guitar and backup vocals. During their short span of time, the band had five powerful classic rock hits.
Badfinger truly had such a great sound that you could easily mistake them for the Beatles if you didn't know any better. Of course part of this came to pass when Paul McCartney penned their first hit single, "Come and Get It". Pete wanted to change the tempo of the song but Paul insisted they keep it as is, and it became their first big hit.
When the Beatles broke up, Badfinger headlined as the next Beatles. Peter Ham penned their second top 10 hits in the summer of 1970 called "No Matter What". Badfinger worked on John Lennon's Imagine and Pete had a duet with George Harrison in the concert for Bangladesh.
In 1971 two big hits followed. George Harrison produced "Day after Day" and played guitar on it. The year before, Pete Ham and Tom Evans played on Harrison's first solo album, "All Things Must Pass"
"Without You" was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans. It is perhaps the biggest hit of Badfinger's career. It has been the top money-earner for Badfinger in publishing royalties. It was famously covered by Harry Nilsson, who had a transatlantic #1 hit with his version. Paul McCartney once described this ballad as "The killer song of all time."
Later on, in 1971 Pete wrote another great tune about a girl he met on the road, called "Baby Blue". This tune broke the top 20, and many consider it to be the best tune they recorded. I still get a chill when listening to this "Baby Blue", because it brings back so many great teenage memories.
Badfinger was on such a high going into 1975, that it seemed as if they were destined for greatness. Unfortunately, bad decisions and misguided loyalties caused huge money problems. Pete Ham was an honest individual who had a trusting nature in people. He was living with a lady named Anne Ferguson, who already had a son, named Blair. They were expecting a child together, but such was the disarray of the band's finances (a situation which many blame on their manager, Stan Polley) that Ham was unable to pay the mortgage installments on his new house in Surrey. On the morning of April 24th. 1975, he was found by Anne, having hanged himself in his garage. A note left behind read: "Anne, I love you. Blair, I love you. I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better. Pete. P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me."
After Pete Ham died, the band was never the same. Members of the original Badfinger split into two groups each calling themselves Badfinger. One of them featured Joey Molland, and the second featured Tom Evans. Only one of these two was permitted to use the name. Tom Evans "Badfinger" was forced to give it up. Additional financial problems and the close relationship with Pete Ham, eventually caused Tom Evans to hang himself in 1983.
The few classic rock hits that Badfinger recorded were so powerful that the band has since become known as the greatest Band that almost was. I personally believe that they were the most underrated classic rock band of all time.
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