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Coming off the success of the Paul McCartney-penned "Come & Get It", the newly-named "Badfinger" band (Pete Ham, Tommy Evans, Mike Gibbins - formerly called The Iveys - and new guitarist Joey Molland) entered the recording studio in March of 1970 with Mal Evans producing. These sessions would result in several songs, one of which was ”No Matter What”. No Dice, was the second album issued by Badfinger, but was in fact the group’s debut released in November of 1970. “No Matter What” was finally released as a single that same month and would reach the top 10 in numerous charts around the world; including peaking at #8 in the U.S. and #5 in the U.K.
One of the album’s tracks was a song created when the chorus of a Tommy Evans composition was added to the verses of a Pete Ham composition. The song, “Without You”, would be covered by Harry Nilsson the following year and become an international smash. Ham and Evans would be awarded the Ivor Novello award for Song of the Year for “Without You” in 1972, and it has since been covered by over 180 artists (it was a major hit again in 1994 when covered by Mariah Carey) and is now considered an evergreen music standard.
During this time, Badfinger also contributed to some noted solo Beatles recording sessions. All four members provided acoustic guitars and percussion for George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album and would later perform the same task at Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, with Pete Ham performing a guitar duet with George on “Here Comes the Sun”.
Also during this span of time, Evans and Molland would lend acoustic guitar support on John Lennon’s historical album, Imagine. Their strumming can be heard on “Jealous Guy” and “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier”. Phil Spector supervised the production.
Badfinger recorded their planned follow up to No Dice in June 1971 at Abbey Road Studios with a new producer, George Harrison. Unfortunately, Harrison had to leave the project in July due to commitments in organizing relief for the people of Bangladesh. Todd Rundgren was brought in later to finish the production on the album
Straight Up was released in December of 1971 in the U.S. and February of 1972 in the U.K. The album spawned Badfinger’s biggest hit single, “Day After Day” which peaked at #4 in the U.S. and #10 in the U.K. The song was produced by George Harrison and features Harrison playing the distinctive slide guitar along with Pete Ham (who recorded their parts simultaneously). Harrison also played guitar on “I’d Die Babe”. Straight Up would garner another hit single with the Rundgren produced “Baby Blue” which reached #14 in the U.S. charts. Inexplicably, the single wasn’t released in the U.K.
Their album next recording project, Ass was delayed by Apple due to legal issues regarding song publishing. When the album was finally released in November of 1973 in the U.S. and March of 1974 in the U.K., it had been two years since their last release; effectively killing any momentum the band had created. It was during the Ass sessions that Badfinger’s New York business manager began negotiating with Warner Brothers for a new record deal.
Badfinger wanted to stay with Apple but it was obvious that Apple Records was winding down and staying with Apple wasn’t in the band’s best interest. Then Apple president Allen Klein offered Badfinger a new deal paying them less than what they were getting in their old deal. This was in spite of the fact that Badfinger was the best selling artist on the label. Warner Brothers, on the other hand, was offering a three year multi million dollar deal. This scenario was the inspiration for the cover art for Ass. The album’s lead off song, “Apple of My Eye”, was Pete Ham’s heartfelt goodbye to the band’s label. That poignant song would also be Apple Records final single release.
Today, Joey Molland is the sole surviving member of Badfinger, and tours with a lineup of musicians that each have 10-25 years experience in the band. www.BadfingerSite.com