The Tragic Story Of A Forgotten Band

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Bunn, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Brian Bunn

    Brian Bunn Second Unit

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    In my never ending search back in to the history of rock music I have just now read of the tragic story of a forgotten band - Badfinger. Badfinger came along in the late 60's, greatly influenced by the Beatles. What band wasn't back then. But The Beatles were more than just instrumental in Badfinger's sound, they signed them to Apple Records in 1970 and produced some of their early records. And Badfinger came out of the gates running with hits like "No Matter What", the McCartney penned "Come And Get It", "Day After Day", "Baby Blue", and the much covered "Without You". This band had some serious talent. Pete Ham wrote most of their early songs. The guy was something special. He had a knack for writing catchy melodies that one had difficulty getting out of their head. You could definitely hear The Beatles influence , especially in the early albums. But still they had plenty of originality in their sound that one could never say that they were just a Beatles knock off.

    But the story of the rise and fall of Badfinger is heartbreaking. With their early successes the band was on top of the world. With a Number 1 hit, "Day After Day" and several other Top 10 hits, Badfinger had made it big. Pete Ham (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Joey Molland (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Tom Evans (bass, guitar, vocals), and Mike Gibbons (drums, percussion) had made Badfinger a successful musical entity.

    The guys in Badfinger seemed to be just regular guys. Genuine musicians. Modest guys that were not into showing off. Just writing and playing their music with little fanfare...letting the music remain the focus. And it was some of the best music the 70's would produce.

    Like many young musicians just finding success, they knew little of the business side of the music industry, putting trust in others to handle this side of it for them. It was this trust that ultimately led to the tragedy of Badfinger. The people they entrusted to the business of Badfinger turned out to be con men that stole nearly all the bands earnings. Especially the bands manager Stan Polley. While the band members struggled financially, despite their success, the band managers lived high on the hog. This all apparently became too much for Pete Ham to handle and he took his own life in 1975. Another extremely talented singer-songwriter-musician commits suicide and is lost forever way before his time.

    Of course, this was a huge blow to the other members of Badfinger. Would they go on? Yes, but they were never quite the same band. Sure they went on to record some good stuff even after the death of Ham, but with that tragic event the band began to spiral downward and it resulted in the surviving band members fighting over money, song rights, and what was left to the Badfinger name. All of this eventually became too much for another band member to take, and Tom Evans took HIS own life in 1983.

    And so an immensely talented band from the beginning was ruined by low-life con artists that couldn't see beyond the dollar signs flashing before their eyes. They saw these young, eager, talented musicians and they went in for the kill. And cut short the promise of a great band, resulting in the suicide of it's two most talented members.

    The music of Badfinger should not be forgotten. I urge anyone interested that hasn't already to pick up some Badfinger albums and give them a listen. You may want to get a copy of The Very Best Of Badfinger, which is loaded with all the best of the early songs of Badfinger and is a great place to start. The songwriting genius of Pete Ham and Tom Evans surely shines through on song after song. If you don't know much about Badfinger many of the songs will be instantly recognizable and you will find yourself saying "Hmmmm, I didn't know that was a Badfinger song".

    You may also want to check out the book Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger by Dan Matovina. It goes into great detail of the story of Badfinger and is very well written.

    May Badfinger's music live on.
     
  2. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    Their tragedy lay in that they were talented...or at least Pete Hamm was...but sometimes talent just isn't enough in the Music Business. So what else is new ?

    The group never overcame The Beatle Clone Factor...but then if the hadn't signed on with Apple Records and accepted their eventual Obscure Destiny in the first place, they wouldn't have Made It into our Collective Music Consciousness anyway!

    Just another mediocre music group from the sixties...a few catchy, hit songs didn't make a difference here.

    Some "tragedies" are best left forgotten.
     
  3. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    The only thing I remember about the band was that McCartney wrote Come and Get It in a hotel room one night, decided not to use it and gave it to Badfinger.
    I like their early hits and I don't care about the whole "Beatles Clones" thing. As for the tragic part of Badfingers history it's always sad when outside forces destroy a band. Damn Yoko! [​IMG]
     
  4. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    It's interesting to see the effect of female spouse on music group dynamics. Badfinger had their problems with Joey, or Tommy Molland's wife stealing master tapes or something. But when a group disintegrates, it isn't due to just one person or incident.

    Maybe this one person, just magnifies and upsets the very tenuous emotional balance of the collective group emotional makeup, but then that always exists.

    Yoko always gets slagged unfairly, I feel. A classy lady she must be, because it must be hard to take all of those unjustified hits from Fans and the Media, as she has unfairly, for years. Face it, the Beatles were already in disaray before Brian died, as they were out of their nutter, in one way or another, with the drugs and the self-indulgent life style.
     
  5. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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  6. Brian Bunn

    Brian Bunn Second Unit

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    Yeah, what Kirk said! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but I would hardly call Badfinger "just another mediocre music group". Sure signing up with Apple and getting a boost from McCartney helped, but they impressed him atleast enough that he thought the band had the talent to go somewhere. It is a tragic story of a very talented band that, had they been more aware of what was happening earlier and got a handle on things sooner, could have gone on to become one of the biggest bands of the 70's. I believe they had that kind of talent, especially Pete Ham. Just go back and listen to their records. Very good stuff in my opinion.

    I very much enjoy the music of Badfinger, and I don't think the tragedy of the band should be forgotten. If nothing else to serve as a warning to up and coming bands today to watch out for the sharks in the music industry waters, not to let them get a hold of you and eat you alive.

    Badfinger mediocre?! To my ears not hardly.
     

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