A few weeks ago I mentioned that Minnesota Public Radio station The Current was going to air a show entitled “Those Were The Days: The History of Apple Records.” Well, the show was rescheduled and it will now air tomorrow night.
This promises to be an interesting show as the story of Apple Records is a fascinating, and occasionally sad one. While most people only know of Apple as it relates to The Beatles, there were many other great artists that passed through the doors of #3 Saville Row.
One of those stories, unfortunately tragic, is the story of Badfinger. Badfinger was one of the first bands signed to Apple in 1968. At the time of their signing they were known as The Iveys. The Beatles renamed the group after the working title of “With A Little Help From My Friends,” which was known as “Bad Finger Boogie.”
After The Beatles breakup in 1969-1970 Badfinger was quickly dubbed the heir apparent to the Fab Four, earning them the honor of being first band to be called “the next Beatles.” With their songwriting ability, Lennon-McCartyesque vocals, an early hit record (“Come and Get It,” written by Paul) and natural connection to The Beatles via the label, the comparison seemed plausible, though still a bit generous.
Despite a number of hit singles, “No Matter What,” “Day After Day,” “Baby Blue,” and “Without You,” (written and recorded by Badfinger, but a smash hit for Harry Nilsson) Badfinger fell victim to poor management and bad contracts. Broke, and unable to live up to the unfair expectations given to them so early in their career, singer and principal songwriter Pete Ham committed suicide in 1975. Badfinger maintained an on-again, off-again existence with the three surviving members until 1983 when Ham’s songwriting collaborator, bassist Tom Evans committed suicide.
While people may know them from their hits, their early albums No Dice and Straight Up are well worth listening to -mainly due to the songwriting abilities of Pete Ham. Here are a few examples.
*if you are unable to listen to the broadcast, The Current’s website archives these shows so you can still catch it.