Badfinger


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1968) as The Iveys

- Mike Gibbins - drums, percussion

- Terry Gleason -- drums, percussion

- Ron Griffiths - bass 

- Pete Ham (RIP 1975) - vocals, guitars, keyboards

- David Jenkins - rhythm guitar 

 

  line up 2 (1968) as The Iveys

NEW - Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar (replaced 

  David Jenkins)

- Mike Gibbins (RIP 2005)  - drums, percussion

- Ron Griffiths - bass 

- Pete Ham (RIP 1975) - vocals, guitars, keyboards

 

  line up 3 (1969-74) as Badfinger

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar (replaced 

  David Jenkins)

- Mike Gibbins (RIP 2005) - drums, percussion

- Pete Ham (RIP 1975) - vocals, guitars, keyboards

NEW - Joey Molland - vocals, bass (replaced Ron Griffiths)

 

  line up 4 (1974)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 
- Mike Gibbins (RIP 2005) - drums, percussion
NEW - Bob Jackson - vocals, keyboards, guitar (replaced 

  Pete Ham)
- Joey Molland - vocals, bass

 

  line up 5  (1974)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 
- Mike Gibbins (RIP 2005) - drums, percussion
NEW - Pete Ham (RIP 1975) - vocals, guitars, keyboards 

- Bob Jackson - vocals, keyboards, guitar
- Joey Molland - vocals, bass

 

  line up 6 (1975)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 
- Mike Gibbins (RIP 2005) - drums, percussion
- Pete Ham (RIP 1975) - vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Bob Jackson - vocals, keyboards, guitar 

  line up 7 (1978-79)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 
NEW - Kenny Harack -- drums, percussion
- Joey Molland - vocals, bass

NEW - Joe Tansin -- lead guitar

 

  line up 8 (1979)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 
- Joey Molland - vocals, bass

NEW - Andy Newark -- drums, percussion (replaced Kenny Harack)

NEW - Joe Tansin -- lead guitar

 

  supporting musicians: (1979)

- Nicky Hopkins -- keyboards

 

  line up x (1978-79)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 
- Joey Molland - vocals, bass

- Andy Newark -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 9 (1979)

NEW - Peter Clarke -- drums, percussion (replaced Andy Newark)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 

NEW - Tony Kaye -- guitar

- Joey Molland - vocals, bass

 

  line 10 (1981-82)

NEW - Richard Bryans -- drums (replaced Peter Clarke)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 

- Tony Kaye -- keyboards
- Joey Molland - vocals, bass

NEW - Glen Sherba -- guitar

 

  line 11 (1982)

NEW - Adam Allen -- guitar (replaced Glen Sherba)

NEW - Mike Gibbins -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Richard Bryans)

- Tom Evans (RIP 1983) - vocals, guitar 

NEW - Bob Jackson -- keyboards (replaced Tony Kaye)

 

  line up 12 (1982)

NEW - Donnie Dacus -- guitar

- Tom Evans -- vocals, bass

- Mike Gibbins -- drums, percussion

- Bob Jackson -- keyboards (replaced Tony Kaye)

NEW - Reed Kalling -- guitar, vocals

 

  line up 13 (1982)

- Tom Evans -- vocals, bass

NEW - Greg Gehring -- guitar

- Mike Gibbins -- drums, percussion

- Bob Jackson -- keyboards (replaced Tony Kaye)

NEW - Al Wodtke -- guitar, vocals

 

 

 

 

 

-

- Aviary (Richard Brians)

- Badger (Tony Kaye)

- Blue Goose (Joey Molland)

- Byron Band (Bob Jackson)

- The Calderstones (Tom Evans)

- Comander Cody (Glen Sherba)

- Detective (Tony Kaye)

- The Dodgers (Tom Evans and Bob Jackson)

- The Fortunes (Bob Jackson)

- David Garrick & the Dandy (Mike Gibbins, Pete Ham, and 

  Ron Griffiths)

- Mike Gibbins (solo efforts)

- Pete Ham (solo efforts)
- Indian Summer (Bob Jackson)
- The Iveys

- The Merseys (Joey Molland)
- Joey Molland (solo efforts)

- Moon (Bob Jackson)
- Natural Gas (Joey Molland)

- Off Broadway (Ken Harack)

- The Pleasure Garden (Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, Ron Griffiths 

  and Pete Ham) 

- Ross (Bob Jackson)

- Stealers Wheel (Peter Clarke)

- Tami Show (Ken Harack)

- Joe Tansin (solo efforts)

- Gary Walker & the Rain (Joey Molland)

- Yes (Tony Kaye)



 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Magic Christian Music

Company: Apple

Catalog: ST-3364

Year: 1969

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: cut corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4612

Price: $15.00

 

Formed by guitarist Pete Ham, The Iveys started out as a cover band playing the local Liverpool club circuit (see separate entry). In 1966, while touring in support of The Mojos, band member Lou Collins brought the group to the attention of his father/manager Bill Collins. Collins was suitably impressed with the group's talent and enthusiasm, subsequently signing on as their manager. In early-1968, armed with a demo tape, Collins approached Apple Records' Mal Evans about the possibility of a recording contract. Evans passed the demos to Derek Taylor, who in turn passed them on to Paul McCartney. Impressed with the group McCartney arranged for an audition and a recording contract with The Beatles' newly former Apple label. 

With McCartney acting as mentor, The Iveys recorded a self-titled 1969 collection. While the album was released in Europe, it was pulled in England and the States. Following a series of personnel changes, including the departure of original guitarist David Jenkins and bass player Ron Griffiths (the two were promptly replaced by Tom Evans and Joey Molland) the group reappeared as Badfinger. 

Having contributed several tracks to the Apple financed film The Magic Christian (Ringo Starr in a lead role), the company elected to build the group's debut around those efforts. Musically the cleverly titled "Magic Christian Music" was somewhat of an orphan, incorporating a mixture of three songs from the film soundtrack, 'Maybe Tomorrow', several songs culled from the previous released The Iveys LP and a couple of new studio tracks. With Evans and Ham dividing up the majority of writing chores, the result was a highly commercial set of top-40 pop. Melodic and up tempo, tracks such as 'Crimson Ship', 'Midnight Sun' and 'Beautiful and Blue' were ideally suited for radio. Elsewhere, the McCartney penned 'Come and Get It was released as a single.  Backed with 'Rock of Ages' (Apple catalog number 1815), the single became the group's first top-10 hit.  'Carry On Till Tomorrow' b/w 'Without You' (Apple catalog number 1822) was also a minor hit.  Backed by positive reviews, the parent album peaked at # 55. (Always wondered why only three of the four members were shown on the back cover ...)

"The Magic Christian" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Come and Get It  (Paul McCartney) - 
2.) Crimson Ship  (Tom Evans - Pete Ham) - 
3.) Dear Angie  (Ron Evans) - 
4.) Midnight Sun  (Pete Ham) - 
5.) Beautiful and Blue  (Tom Evans) - 
7.) Rock of All Ages  (Tom Evans - Pete Ham - Mike Gibbons) - 

(side 2)

1.) Carry On Till Tomorrow  (Tom Evans - Pete Ham) - 
2.) I'm In Love  (Pete Ham) - 
3.) Walk Out In the Rain  (Pete Ham) - 
4.) Fisherman  (Tom Evans) - 
5.) Knocking Down Our Home  (Pete Ham) - 

 

 


11.) Maybe Tomorrow (Tom Evans) - 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Straight Up

Company: Apple

Catalog: SW 3337

Year: 1972

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2385

Price: $30.00

 

If I had to pick a Badfinger album for an extended desert island stay, I'd go with 1971's "Straight Up".  In fact if I had to pick ten album's to be stranded with, this would be on the short list.  In addition to including two of their biggest hits ('Baby Blue' and 'Day After Day'), song-for-song I'd argue it was their most consistent and enjoyable collection.

 

As you'd expect for anything associated with Badfinger, the album had a tortuous birth.   On the heels of "No Dice" the band found itself trying to record a follow-on album between heavy touring demands.   Working with producer Geoff Emerick they managed to put down twelve tracks, before going back on the road for an American tour.   In the meantime, for whatever reason Apple executives opted to shelve the results.  The band then went into the studio with George Harrison, salvaging about half of the original songs.  Unfortunately with Harrison' focusing his attention on the upcoming Concert for Bangladesh, he couldn't finish the album - ironically Badfinger ended up playing at Harrison's groundbreaking charity concert.   At Harrison's suggestion, Todd Rundgren was brought in to finish the project.  Whereas the band had gotten along well with producers Emerick and Harrison (the latter having actually played on a number of the tunes he produced), their relationship with Rundgren was apparently much different.   Rundgren was seen as domineering, rather than collaborative.   Luckily, Rundgren finished his remixes and production chores in two weeks  The result cobbled together a mixture of tunes from the earlier recording sessions and new material.  Previously shelved, 'Money' and 'Perfection' were re-recorded with Rundgren stripping off much of the earlier orchestration.  Similarly, 'Flying' and 'Sweet Tuesday Morning' were remixed in a stripped down format, while 'Name of the Game' saw horns and orchestration added to the final arrangement.  'Take It All', 'Sometimes'; 'Baby Blue', and "It's Over' were all new tunes.   Against this difficult "birth" it would not have been a major surprise to hear and album that was uninspired and disjointed.   That wasn't the case.  When finally released Badfinger's third studio set found the group throttling back their hard rock aspirations in favor of a more pop oriented approach.  That's not to give you the impression they'd decided to go for shallow, forgettable top-40 success.  In fact, along with two top-40 hits ('Baby Blue' and 'Day After Day')  this was one of those rare albums where every single song was worthwhile - all hyperbole aside, there wasn't a loser here.  

"Straight Up" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Take It All   (Pete Ham) - 4:25   rating: **** stars

'Take It All' was supposedly inspired by the band's work on Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh project. Ham had a great voice; there was just something special in his raspy delivery and to my ears he seldom sounded as good as on the opening ballad 'Take It All'.  Ham on keyboards, Molland on lead guitar.  Add Tom Evans on the harmonies and this was near perfection.   A bit starker than the studio version, YouTube has a clip taken from a 1972 performance in Manchester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBMVBPPWFrM 

2.) Baby Blue   (Pete Ham) - 3:38   rating: ***** stars

The song most folks associate with Badfinger, even if a generation of people only know the song for it's association with the finale of the television series Breaking Bad.   Guess late is better than never.   For hardcore fans, the single featured a slightly different mix than the album cut.  Al Steckler (then heading Apple's US operations), had producer Eddie Kramer remix the song adding extra reverb to Mike Gibbins' snare drums.  

YouTube has a clip of the band lip-synching the tune for what looks like a Kenny Rogers television special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C53QAuOoSgc   

- 1972 'Baby Blue' b/w 'Flying' (Apple catalog number 1844)

3.) Money   (Pete Ham) - 4:25   rating: **** stars

'Money' was one of the tracks originally recorded with Geoff Emerick and shelved.   Working with Rundgren the tune was resurrected and re-recorded.  One of the finest things Ham ever wrote, the song' had everything going or it - strong mid-tempo melody; wonderful vocals (their harmonies were easily as good as anything CSN&Y did), and some killer slide guitar.  How this got relegated to a 'B' side (on the '' single) is a mystery to me.  

4.) Flying   (Tom Evans - Joey Molland) - 2:37   rating: **** stars

Sure, like a lot of folks, I hear Fab Four influences scattered throughout much of their catalog, but Molland and company reminded me of Lennon on the dark ballad 'Flying'.   Always loved Ham's screaming solos on this one. 

5.) I'd Die Babe  (Joey Molland) - 2:05   rating: ***** stars

Geez, talk about a classic pop tune ...  a song that had top-40 written all over it ...  a song with a lyric that was guaranteed to make you smile "You make my daisies grow high  ..." and a classic slicing guitar solo.    How is it this wasn't the album's third massive hit ?

6.) Name of the Game   (Pete Ham) - 5:49   rating: ***** stars

Apple originally planned to release Ham's 'Name of the Game' as a follow-on to 'For What It's Worth'.  One of the prettiest and most poignant tunes he ever wrote, the song had a stunning melody, killer refrain,  thoughtful lyrics, and to-die-for harmonies ...  most bands would have killed for access to something as great as this track.  For Badfinger it was just an album track and naturally Apple management dropped the idea to release it as a single.   Damn, now I can't get the song out of my head.   

 

(side 2)

1.) Suitcase   (Joey Molland) - 2:53   rating: **** stars

'Suitcase' was one of the tracks recorded with Harrison at the production helm.   It's also a track featuring Harrison's editorial imprint.  In this case Harrison was so convinced the song had commercial potential, he asked Molland to delete the word "pusher" from the lyric in favor of the less sensitive "Butcher".  Always liked Molland's dry, raspy voice and he seldom sounded as biting as on this dark and cynical look at touring in the States.   Pete Ham's' stinging slide guitar and wah wah licks only made the song even better. And for anyone who thought they were just a bunch of pretty boys in a studio, YouTube has an extended live performance of the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bidVR-eQMzg   There's also a shorter take o the song from a 1973 performance on The Midnight Special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8sodjvkNBs 

2.) Sweet Tuesday Morning   (Joey Molland) - 2:31   rating: *** stars

Written for his wife, Molland;s country-tinged ballad wasn't something you'd expect from these guys and while it wasn't the most impressive thing they've ever done, it was sweet and charming.   No idea when or where it was recorded, but YouTube has a wonderful acoustic performance of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXE-u8ILjOU  

3.) Day After Day   (Pete Ham)  - 3:10  rating: **** stars

Classic Badfinger performance and one of their biggest hits (# 4 in the States),  'Day After Day' was one of the four tracks Harrison produced, though Rundgren finished the song.   Harrison also provided some of the song's instantly recognizable slide guitar - Leon Russell on keyboards.  Great tune, but there simply isn't much more one can say about it.

YouTube has an early promotional video for the song - kind of a strange clip of the band uncomfortably slogging through wilderness and farmlands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XonFZjuyc6E   YoTube also has an uncredited 1972 live performance of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6N3hPY9gLs  

-1972's 'Day After Day' b/w '' (Apple catalog number 1841)

4.) Sometimes   (Joey Molland) - 2:57    rating: **** stars

Imagine The Beatles deciding they wanted to be a bar band ...  That's what the rollicking 'Sometimes' has always reminded me of.   The real hero on this one was drummer Mike Gibbins.  Gibbins sounded like he was going to knock a hole in his drum set on this one.  Terrific tune and it's hard to understand why Apple didn't tap it as a single.   Oh, that's right - there were even better tunes on this collection.

5.) Perfection   (Pete Ham) - 5:10    rating: **** stars

Another Emerick track re-recorded after being shelved, band's suddenly deciding to make activist statements usually irritate the crap out of me.  I'm not saving Ham deserved a Noble Peace Prize for the ballad 'Perfection' , but the lyrics were sweet and well meaning.  And when his lead guitar kicked in, well, even if you didn't like the  touchy-feely lyrics, all was forgiven.  

6.) It's Over   (Tom Evans) - 2:24   rating: **** stars

'It's Over' was supposedly a commentary on having completed their American tour and getting off the road.   (Evans apparently didn't know they were about to head out on the road again ... ) Fantastic Ham  guitar solo.    Always loved their harmony vocals on this one.  They really sounded tired on this one.

 

 

In spite of lackluster support from Apple, propelled by the two top-40 hits and another American tour, the LP eventually hit # 31 on the US album charts.

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Ass

Company: Apple

Catalog: SW 3411

Year: 1973

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes original custom inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 879

Price: $30.00

 

 

With Badfinger having signed a big dollar contract with Warner Brothers, by late 1972 the band's  partnership with Apple Records was coming to an increasingly acrimonious end.  After a quickly aborted attempt to record a follow-on to 1971's Straight Up" LP with producer Todd Rundgren, the band had recorded a collection of self-produced material, only to see Apple management reject the project.  Produced Chris Thomas was brought in to try to salvage the results.  Unfortunately, by the time 1973's "Ass" saw daylight, it was essentially a contractual obligation album; pulled together without active band participation   Musically the album offered up a pair of songs recorded with Rundgren ('I Can Love You' and 'The Winner), material previously recorded and shelved for their planned 'Straight Up" follow-up (with new mixes from Thomas), and a couple of never tunes (reportedly Molland's 'Icicles' and 'Constitution').  The album's  haphazard roots probably went a long way to explaining its varied sound and the surprising number of non-Pete Ham compositions.  A count of the ten tracks showed two Pete Ham compositions, five by Joey Molland, two from Tom Evans, and one from Mike Gibbins.  With that kind of history this should have been gawdawful.  The fact it wasn't half bad and actually included more than a couple of classic Badfinger tunes ('Apple of My Eye', 'Blind Owl', 'Constitution' and 'Timeless') had to be taken as a reflection of the band's immense talent.  Was it their creative zenith ?    Not by a long shot, but song-for-song it was well worth hearing and, as mentioned, about two thirds of the tunes were worthy of appearing on any kind of extended Badfinger anthology that might someday grace the buying public.

"Ass" track listing:
(side 1)

1.)  Apple of My Eye  (Pete Ham) - 3:06

I'm not a Badfinger scholar, but its amazing how Pete Ham seemingly effortlessly tossed off so many beautiful melodies  ...   and this one had some of those patented Ham-Molland harmonies that were even prettier than usual.   I'm sure someone out there will know; perhaps I've read too much into the title and the lyrics, but I've always wondered if this one was inspired by the band's ongoing dispute with Apple Records  ... "never meant to bite the loving hand, now the time has come to walk alone ...".  If so, this would be one of the all time great corporate breakup tunes.  Apple also released it as a single.    rating: **** stars

2.) Get Away   (Joey Molland) - 3:59

Penned by Molland, 'Get Away' was a good, old-fashioned, no-frill slice of rock and roll.  There wasn't anything flashy, or frilly on this one, but that was part of the song's overall charm.   rating: **** stars

3.) Icicles   (Joey Molland) - 2:32

C'mon how could you not instantly like a song that opened up with backward guitar, some of the band's most melodic lead guitar work, and a beatific life-is-good singsong structure.   rating: **** stars

4.) The Winner   (Joey Molland) - 3:18

Supposedly a Molland pot shot at John Lennon (if so I missed it), 'The Winner' was a bouncy rocker with a nice guitar rock.   rating: *** stars

5.) Blind Owl   (Tommy Evans) - 3:00

With Ham and Molland getting most of the writing and singing spotlight, folks tended to overlook the fact Evans could churn out a decent rock tune - the breezy 'Blind Owl' was one of his best.  With a rollicking melody and a surprisingly likable Evans vocal (imagine a more commercial Ronnie Lane), this was the tune I would have tapped as the lead single.   (It ended up as a 'B' side.)   Shame it faded out just as it was starting to really sizzle   rating: **** stars

(side 2)

1.) Constitution  (Joey Molland) - 2:58

Geez, this was a Badfinger track ?   No stinkin' way !!!   Perhaps the hardest rocking tune they ever recorded, this one featured some simply blazing Hendrix-influenced lead guitar from Ham.  You've never heard him shred a tune like this one.  Like a good Hendrix tune, it effortlessly mixed hard rock moves with Evans and Gibbins adding a distinctive psych edge to the rhythm section.   Wonderful tune and one of the best things Molland has ever penned.  rating: ***** stars

2.) When I Say   (Tom Evans) - 3:05

Initially I thought 'When I Say' was one of the album's lesser tracks, but Evans turned in a nice vocal and the country-rock touches were surprisingly attractive with a beautiful melody that eventually climbed in my head and wouldn't leave.   rating: **** stars

3.) Cowboy  (Mike Gibbins) - 2:37

Gibbins had written and recorded 'Cowboy' for a projected solo effort.  With a distinctive country feel, it simply sounded out of place on this album (plus I'm not a big country fan).      rating: ** stars

4).  I Can Love You  (Joey Molland) - 3:33

Initially I thought 'I Can Love You' was one of the album's lesser tracks and I still so.   The song had a pretty enough melody and Molland's lyrics seemed heartfelt, but to my ears he sounded like we trying to fight his way through a bad head cold.  rating: ** stars

5.) Timeless  (Pete Ham) - 7:39

Clocking in at almost eight minutes, 'Timeless; was another atypical Badfinger tune with Ham seemingly dipping his songwriting toe into progressive waters.   With a charming plaintive feel, to my ears, ham's guitar playing on this one has always had kind of an Abbey Road feel that would have made George Harrison smile.   rating: ***** stars

 

Apple tapped the album for a single, but did little to promote it:

 

 

- 1973's 'Apple of My Heart' b/w 'Blind Owl' (Apple catalog number PP-1864) #122 pop

 

Fitting in with the band's seemingly never ending streak of bad luck, "Ass" was released within a couple of week of the band's Warner Brothers debut "Badfinger".  With two new studio albums saturating the market, they essentially negated each other's commercial potential leading to minimal sales for both.   "Ass" peaked at # 122 on the US charts.   Not that Apple really tried to promote the album.   Perhaps nothing more than urban legion, but supposedly the Peter Corriston and David Hefferman designed "ass and giant carrot in the sky" cover painting  was intended as a non-too-subtle dig at the band's decision to leave Apple in favor of a big dollar contract with Warner Brothers.  Another version of the story is that the band commissioned it as a reflects of their resentment over having been mislead by Apple management.

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Badfinger

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BS 2762

Year: 1973

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: cut lower right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 7480

Price:  $25.00

 

Free of their entanglements with Apple Records, today the band's 1974 debut for Warner Brothers is widely viewed as a disappointment.   I guess I'm in the minority again, as I actually think the cleverly-titled "Badfinger" was actually pretty good and it was even more impressive when you consider the fact they began recording it a mere six weeks after completion of "Ass" (their final album for Apple).

 

Teamed with producer Chris Thomas, the album's planned title was "For Love or Money"  (a pun based on the band's move from Apple to Warner Brothers which had deposited a hefty $600,000 into an escrow account controlled by band manager Stan Polley).  Naturally, by the time the album was released, the title concept had somehow been lost in the shuffle (Warner Brothers management was supposedly less than happy with the title) and it was too late to modify the album packaging - hence the clever "Badfinger" title.  Musically this wasn't their greatest achievement.  All four members contributed to the songwriting chores, but the inclusion of Ham's 'I Miss You' (previously recorded as a demo by The Iveys) and tracks like Evans 'Why Don't We Talk' and Gibbins rustic 'My Heart Goes Out' seemed to underscore the creative pressures the band was under.  Those tracks weren't really bad, rather sounded hasty and occasionally incomplete.  Still, you can only write so many good songs in a twelve month period.   By my admittedly biased count, seven of the twelve tracks were keepers and that's a darned good batting average for anyone.   Highlights included Ham's 'Shine On' (exhibiting that instantly recognizable Badfinger sound) , the poignant 'Song for a Lost Friend', and two Molland tracks - the rocking 'Give It Up' and 'Andy Norris'.

"Badfinger" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Miss You   (Pete Ham) - 2:36

'I Miss You' was one of the earliest songs Ham had written (for anyone interested, there's an early demo floating around on YouTube.  A demo version was recorded by The Iveys, but apparently lost.  Apparently short of material for the Warner Brothers debut, Ham pulled it out again.   Apparently inspired by a girlfriend who'd ditched Ham to move overseas, the song wasn't all that great - a lovelorn ballad with your standard I-was-wrong-and-will-be better lyrics.   The church organ accompaniment was kind of cool, but not enough to save it.   The track was released as a single in the US.   rating: *** stars

2.) Shine On   (Pete Ham - Tom Evans) - 2:52

Another tune inspired by a girlfriend, 'Shine On' was a glistening, up-beat slice of power-pop, kicked along by wonderful acoustic guitars, it's hard to believe this one wasn't tapped as a single.  Not sure where is came from, but YouTube has a wonderful band rehearsal of the tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abHUo_scThI   rating: **** stars

3.) Love Is Easy   (Joey Molland) - 3:08

'Love Is Easy' was another nice Molland rocker with some cool distorted guitar and weird sound effects.   Only complaint with this one was Molland's vocals sounded strained.  The song was released as an English single.   rating: *** stars

4.) Song for a Lost Friend   (Pete Ham) - 2:52

Another beautiful tune that exuded that unique Badfinger sound, 'Song for a Lost Friend' was interesting for contrasting a bouncy melody and sunshine vocals over a sad and thought provoking lyric.    The song was even more ironic when you considered Ham's forthcoming suicide.    One of the album highlights.   rating: **** stars

5.) Why Don't We Talk   (Tom Evans) - 3:45

The track listing and labels showed 'Why Don't We Talk' as the fifth tune on side one.  It wasn't.  Anyhow, once you got through the sound effects, 'Why Don't We Talk' was actually one of Evans better tunes - nice McCartney-styled mid-tempo ballad with some nice harmony vocals.   rating: *** stars

6.) Island   (Joey Molland) - 3:40

'Island' was one of the heavier rockers they'd recorded with some nice twin lead guitar and Gibbins given a rare opportunity to showcase his chops.    The downside was the song sounded like it had been recorded in a small bathroom.   My copy had a extremely muffled sound.   rating: **** stars

(side 2)

1.) Matted Span  (Pete Ham) - 

In spite of the goofy title  (I'm sure some Badfinger fan out there has the background), 'Matted Spam' has always been one of my favorites - the band taking an impressive stab at blue-eyed soul; kind of Bonnie and Delaney vibe with some excellent fuzz bass from Molland and some unexpectedly punchy horns.  One of the better tunes on the album.   rating: **** stars

2.) Where Do We Go From Here?   (Tom Evans) - 

Perhaps because of the poor sound quality, this one's always struck me as sounding like an unfinished demo.  It could have been quite good (ditch the steel drums), but was an also ran ... rating: ** stars

3.) My Heart Goes Out   (Mike Gibbins) - 

Penned and sung by Gibbins (easy to see why he got limited spotlight time), 'My Heart Goes Out' has always reminded me of one of those folk-rock numbers forced on to Faces LPs.   The acoustic tune was quite pretty and you quickly got acclimated to Gibbins rustic voice, but it probably wasn't what most folks wanted to hear on a Badfinger album.   rating: *** stars

4.) Lonely You   (Pete Ham) - 

Say what you will about the late Ham, but the man had an uncanny knack for tossing out beautiful melodies.   In fact, there were so many, they tend to lose their impact over time.   That said, 'Lonely You' was clearly one of the prettiest melodies he'd ever written and when Ham and Molland team up on vocals, the results were wonderful.   Would have been a dandy single.   rating: **** stars

5.) Give It Up   (Joey Molland) - 

Molland's best contribution to the album, 'Give It Up' traded off between low-keyed country-blues (seemingly just Molland and strumming electric guitar) and  full tilt molten guitar-powered rocker that sounded like something taken off side two of "Abbey Road".   Not sure they ever recorded anything that rocked as hard as this one.  Great tune.   rating: **** stars

6.) Andy Norris   (Joey Molland - Cathy Molland) - 

Geez, talk about a proto-punk song ...   Again, I have no idea what it was about, but literally exuding jerky, high energy guitar moves, this track would have sounded right at home on a late-'70s pub rock album, or perhaps even a new wave release by the likes of Wreckless Eric, or maybe Nick Lowe.   Actually,  Molland once said the track was inspired by a tape engineer at Olympic Studios, but who know.  Another album highlight and quite different than you typical Badfinger pop number.   Neither the picture or sound quality are very good, but YouTube had a clip of Molland performing the song at a 1987 club date:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9Z0cUJUkzY   rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun off a couple of poorly selling singles:

 

  US release:

- 1974's 'I Miss You' b/w 'Shine On' (Warner Brothers catalog number WB 7801)

 

  UK release:

- 'Love Is Easy' b/w 'My Heart Goes Out' (Warner Brothers catalog number K-16323)

 

In keeping with the band's string of horrible luck, the album came out within a month of "Ass".   In the UK the album was actually released before "Ass".   The practical result was simply too much Badfinger product at one time with the two albums essentially off-setting one another and minimizing sales.

 

Given Badfinger has always struck me as a quintessential British band, the highly stylized John Kosh and Peter Howe cover photo has been a personal favorite.  

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Wish You Were Here

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BS 2827

Year: 1974

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4612

Price: $25.00

 

 

 

 

With the release of their second album on Warner Brothers, Badfinger seemed poised to final break into the realms of mega-stardom.   As events transpired, 1974's Chris Thomas produced "Wish You Were Here" (they nabbed the title way before Pink Floyd), did break the band, but not in the way they had hoped.  With all four members contributing material, the album found the band in top notch creative form.   Everything you loved about earlier Badfinger was here including catchy melodies; gorgeous vocals (how many bands can claim four decent singers) plus more !  This time out the band took some stabs in new directions including a country-rocker ('You're So Fine') and a pair of "Abbey Road" styled medleys - ' In the Meantime / Some Other Time' and  'Meanwhile Back at the Ranch / Should I Smoke'; the former even including a tentative nod towards progressive sounds.  One of those rare albums where virtually every one of the nine tracks had something going for it, picking favorites is a major challenge.  In fact, it's easier to simply pick the weaker tracks - in this case Gibbins' country-rocker 'You're So Fine' and  Tom Evans' 'King of the Load'.   How often do you fund and album where even the weakest songs are still good ?   Moreover, as good as the album was, the results were even more impressive when you recognized the personal and professional pressure the band was facing.    

 

"Wish You were Here" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Just a Chance   (Pete Ham) - 2:56

One of Ham's best power-pop tunes with roaring guitars, an insidiously catchy melody, and a great, thundering Joey Molland bass line.  I take that back.  This wasn't power-pop; this was straight ahead rock and roll and great.   rating: **** stars

2.) You're So Fine   (Mike Gibbins) - 3:02

'You're So fine' was a change of pace for the group, with drummer Gibbins turning in a charming  country-rocker.   Imagine Poco hanging out with George Harrison and you'd get a feel for this one.  rating: *** stars

3.) Got To Get Out of Here   (Joey Molland) - 3:26

A stark, largely acoustic ballad, 'Got To Get Out of Here' sounded like it was inspired by Molland's growing frustration with the band's management and record label.   It was one of the prettiest things he ever wrote and the church organ accompaniment gave it an eerie feeling.   rating: **** stars

4.) Know One Knows  (Pete Ham) - 3:13

'Know One Knows' was one of those patented pop songs that the band seemed to effortlessly throw out.   I've always wondered about the Japanese spoken word segment - not sure why it was there, or what it meant.   I'd describe it as irritating.   Nevertheless, the results were very commercial, though the song's secret weapon was actual Gibbins' machine gun drumming.   rating: *** stars

5.) Dennis  (Pete Ham) - 5:17

Kicked along by some heavy metal guitars, 'Dennis' was another wonderful mid-tempo ballad with a great lyric and the band's patented harmony vocals.   Depending which reference you read, the song was inspired by Ham's son-in-law, or the son of a girlfriend.    Wonderful tune.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) In the Meantime / Some Other Time  (Mike Gibbins / Joey Molland) - 6:44

For anyone who was under the impression these guys were nothing more than a pop production line, ''In the Meantime / Some Other Time' should have come as a major surprise.  It sure was a surprise to me.  Opening up with some Beatle-esque discordant orchestration, the medley seamlessly stitched together segments written by Gibbins and Molland, offering up a pounding rocker that includes some light progressive touches.  Interestingly the biting opening segment has always reminded me a bit of a Roger Waters effort.   Wonderful tune and one of the best things in their catalog.   rating: ***** stars

2.) Love Time  (Joey Molland) - 2:18

A breezy, largely acoustic ballad, 'Love Time' was highly commercial with glistening acoustic guitars and an even better electric guitar solo.  rating: **** stars

3.) King of the Load   (Evans) - 3:31

Opening up with some nice electric piano, 'King of the Load' was Evans lone contribution to the album. Judging by the lyrics, the song was seemingly inspired by a band roadie.   Nice enough, but couldn't compete with the rest of the album.   rating: *** stars

4.) Meanwhile Back at the Ranch / Should I Smoke  (Pate Ham / Joey Molland) - 5:16

Even though it seemed inspired by their on-going business problems, 'Meanwhile Back at the Ranch / Should I Smoke' was a wonderful, power-pop track that showcased 'the band's best attributes.  Glorious melody; great arrangement (The Average White Band provided the horns), fantastic vocals, blistering guitars ...  how could you not love this one ?  rating: ***** stars

 

In the wake of the album's release, things were looking good for the band.   The album attracted strong critic reviews and quickly hit #148 on the US charts.  Unfortunately things turned nightmarish when Warner Brothers management discovered $600,000 that had been set up in an escrow account for the band had simply vanished.   Unable to get a clear answer as to what had happened to the money, Warner Brothers pulled all support for the album, going as far as recalling previously released copies.    Whatever sales momentum the album had vanished in an instant.  The resulting litigation also saw a rift develop across the band with Ham sticking by manager Stan Polley, while the other members demanded new management (sounds like they pulled this from The Beatles domestic relationships manual).    About to hit the road for British tour in support of the album, a frustrated Ham announced he was quitting.  Bob Jackson was brought in as a replacement, but in the midst of litigation, Warner Brothers insisted Ham complete the tour or the band would be dropped from their recording contract.  Ham complied, but at the end of the tour Molland announced his departure.

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Airwaves

Company: Elektra

Catalog: 6E 175

Year: 1979

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 7478

Price: $25.00

 

By the late-'70s Badfinger was dead with Joey Molland and Tom Evans completely out of the music business.  Apparently unhappy with his nine-to--five job laying carpet in Southern California, Joey Molland decided to accept an offer to join Chicago-based musicians Kenny Harack and guitarist Joe Tansin in a new band.  Molland subsequently convinced Evans (working in England as a pipe insulator), to join the line-up, which eventually morphed into a reactivated Badfinger - the band members apparently figured out they'd be more marketable under the old name.  Perhaps based on past glories, in 1978 the quartet signed a recording contract with Elektra.  Teamed with producer David Malloy, their comeback came in the form of 1979's "Airwaves".   In an ironic twist, drummer Harack was fired during the recording sessions.  Former Badfinger drummer Mike Gibbins auditioned as a replacement, but was passed over in favor of sessions player Andy Newark.  With Evans and Molland responsible for the majority of the material (Tansin contributed two tracks - 'Sympathy' and 'The Winner'), the collection wasn't half bad as far as comebacks went.  With a small assist from multi-tracking, on tracks like 'Look Out California', 'Lost Inside Your Love' and 'Come Down Hard' the pair were largely able to recreate the fabled Badfinger harmonies.  Probably the biggest surprise came in the form of Evans contributions.  He was never a prolific writer during the earlier line-ups and much of his material paled in comparison to Ham and Molland songs.   This time around he came baring treasures, including two of the standout performances - the bouncy 'Look Out California (which should have been a single), and the pretty ballad 'Lost Inside Your Love'.  That said, the album didn't come close to the enthusiasm and energy of earlier releases.   In fact, exemplified by tracks like 'The Dreamer' and 'Sail Away', about a third of the material was rather faceless.  


"Airwaves" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Airwaves   (Tom Evans - Joey Molland) - 0:29

'Airwaves' wasn't more than a bluesy song fragment, which was unfortunate since it sounded promising.   rating: ** stars 

2.) Look Out California   (Tom Evans) - 3:27

Penned by Evans (who was clearly happy to be out of pipe insulating), the autobiographical 'Look Out California' was one of the most heartfelt glad-to-be-back-in-music tunes you'll ever hear.  Full of jamming guitars and some of the band's patented harmonies, it should have been a single.  Evans described the song as: '...  just a song I wrote when I knew I was really coming over here. It was cold and raining in England at the time. California seemed like such a good idea at the time, so much to look forward to, you know? That's exactly what I feel... look out, I'm coming! rating: **** stars

3.) Lost Inside Your Love   (Tom Evans) - 2:42

With the pretty ballad 'Lost Inside Your Love' the reunited band showed the could still write a commercially viable track - in this case a radio friend ballad.   Very pretty and Evans had seldom sounded as good which is probably why it was released as a single.  Evans described the inspiration as: "Basically it's a love song and it's funny because it's a song I had running around in my mind for a time as a hate song! It was a downer song I'd written in a very bad period of my life. Once I got over here and I realized how everything was going to work out, it turned around in my head, became very positive".   Neither the picture nor sound quality are very good, but YouTube has a promotional clip of the song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSDLRphIfzQ   rating: *** stars

4.) Love Is Gonna Come At Last   (Joey Molland) - 3:37

A glistening mid-tempo ballad with a gorgeous hook,  'Love Is Gonna Come At Last' was clearly the breakout single the band had hoped for.   Complete with their patented slide guitar sound, Molland's pounding bass, and those wonderful harmonies it was in fact released as a single, hitting # 69 on the US charts.   I found an online reference where Molland talked about the tune: It's a song about hope - that's the real thing I get from it. It's something we believe. I think this one sounds most like the things we did in the past, brought up to date."   rating: **** stars

5.) Sympathy  (Joe Tansin) - 4:28

Catchy enough, but with what was almost a disco-ish feel, 'Sympathy' had a totally different vibe than the Evans and Molland material.  It was the  first of two Joe Tansin contributions (several other Tansin tracks were left on the cutting room floor).  rating: *** stars


(side 2)

1.) The Winner   (Joe Tansin) - 3:26

The second Tansin contribution (though Molland handled the lead vocal), 'The Winner' was a pedestrian West Coast slice of AOR.   Professional, but fairly anonymous, this could have been a Pablo Cruise tune for all it mattered.  The quality isn't very good, but YouTube had a clip of the band performing the song on The Midnight Special television program:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSHqWLa5EME    rating: ** stars

2.) The Dreamer   (Joey Molland) - 5:20

Probably the album's dullest number, 'The Dreamer' was a lengthy and plodding ballad that never kicked into gear.  Molland's strained vocals and the heavy orchestration didn't do the song any favors.  The nice guitar solo at the end of the song came too late to save it.   Molland's comments on the tune: "It's like a story-song. Sometimes it seems to me to be about the music business and sometimes about life. I dream all the time, and this seems to be one of my dreams about the history of the rock musician. It began as a song about somebody who was fighting himself, and finally decided he could win."    rating: ** stars

3.) Come Down Hard  (Joey Molland) -3:48

My pick for the album's best track, 'Come Down Hard' at least approached some of the energy of past glories.  Molland's comments on the tune: "It's a rock story-song about a chick and a guy, there's some two-timing in it. She has all her plans laid out, but it just doesn't happen that way. She comes down really hard, just facing the reality of the situation."   rating: **** stars

4.) Sail Way   (Tom Evans) - 3:31

The album closed out with a pretty, but largely forgettable, piano-based ballad (credit to Nicky Hopkins).   Evans recollections of the tune: "I think it's pretty, really pretty. The basic idea is when you feel fed up, what will you do? I think all of us just -- sail away!"   Joe Tansin's comments: "Sail Away was my idea to do with just piano; they added the strings. Tom sent that song to Joey and me from England before he came over. I remember hearing his rough piano vocal demo on a cassette. I loved the song instantly. We recorded a demo at Sound City. The Airwaves version was better. I remember watching the orchestra cut their parts at Capitol Studio B. What a memory. That song always had a beautiful sadness about it."   rating: *** stars

 

Two singles were released:

 

  

- 1979's 'Lost Inside Your Love' b/w 'Come Down Hard' (Elektra catalog E-46022)

- 1979's 'Love Is Gonna Come At Last' b/w 'Sail Away' (Elektra catalog E 42025) # 69 pop

 

Unhappy with his role in the band (just look at the album cover art) and the fact much of his material had been dropped from the final track listing, Tansin, quit after the recording sessions.   Evans and Molland quickly recruited drummer Peter Cook and guitarist Tony Kaye and started touring in support of the album.  Coupled with the minor hit, the parent LP eventually hit # 125 in the States.

 

 

Surprisingly the record's been reissued a couple of times.  With Tansin apparently owning rights to the "Airwaves" material, the 1999 CD release on Permanent Press (catalog number PPCD 52712) included a series of  five bonus tracks, though technically three of them were Tansin efforts seemingly recorded after-the-fact without any Badfinger involvement (subsequent reissues dropped the bonus material).

 

1.) More Time    (Joe Tansin)  2:57 

2.) Send Me Your Love  (Joe Tansin)  4:12 

3.) Steal My Heart  (Joe Tansin)  3:56 

4.) Love Can't Hide  (Joey Molland - Joe Tansin)  2:45

5.) Can You Feel the Rain (Joe Tansin)  4:03

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Say No More

Company: Radio

Catalog: 6E 175

Year: 1981

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 880

Price: $20.00

 

1981 found Tom Evans and Joey Molland continuing the Badfinger nameplate with support from a new line-up featuring former Aviary drummer Richard Bryans, former Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, and guitarist Glen Sherba.  Signed to the Atlantic affiliated Radio Records, the band's label debut "Say No More" teamed them with producers Jack Richardson and Steve Willmack.  Musically the set was surprisingly enjoyable with prime writers Evans and Molland focusing on a more up-tempo and rock oriented sound this time around.   Compared to the earlier "Airways" they sounded like a real band that was ffar more energetic and committed to the comeback.   It was far from the best Badfinger album you've heard, but tracks like 'Because I Live You', 'Three Time Loser' and 'No More' would  have sounded at home amidst their earlier recorded glories.   And here's where it gets kind of strange.  If you grew up with the original Badfinger, this late inning album was professional; even enjoyable, but far from anything special.  If you didn't have an extensive Badfinger background, it was quite enjoyable.

 

(side 1)
1.) I Got You    (Joey Molland) - 3:39

Originally I didn't think much of the chuck Berry-ish rocker 'I Got You', but over time it's kind of grown on me.  Not a traditional Badfinger type of tune, but the song's nervous energy was refreshing.  It was tapped as the album's second 45.    YouTube had a nice clip of the song with a hysterical interview - the poor woman interviewing the band was simply totally clueless.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lhF_WnXFaI  rating: *** stars
2.) Come On   (Tom Evans) -  3:23

'Come On' found the band seemingly taking a step into AOR.   With a nifty hook, it wasn't half bad.   The video and audio quality are bad, but YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song for a Milwaukee television program (Shock Horror).  Interestingly Bryans, Kaye, and Sherba are all gone replaced by guitarist Adam Allen, former drummer Mike Gibbins, and keyboardist Bob Jackson.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do_7H7KXx-w   rating: *** stars
3). Hold On   (Tom Evans - Joe Tansin) -  3:24

Apparently a carry-over from the earlier "Airwaves" sessions, 'Hold On' was a glistening slice of top-40 pop that came close to capturing their earlier magic. One of the best post-Peter Ham things they ever recorded.   YouTube has a clip of the band lip synching the tune on the Solid Gold variety show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaE-jx65rtw      rating: **** stars

4.) Because I Love You    (Joey Molland) - 2:48

With a happy, bouncy melody and some nice Molland-Evans vocals, 'Because I Love You' was one of the tracks that came the closest to recapturing the old Badfinger vibe.   With one of the album's most commercial sounds, you had to wonder why it wasn't tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars
5.) Rock N' Roll Contract   (Tom Evans) -   5:36

I guess it should have come as a surprise to see the band reach into their tragic business history for inspiration.   In spire of the bouncy, rockin' melody, this autobiographical tale of misery simply didn't match the rest of side one.   rating: *** stars   

 

(side 2)
1.) Passin Time    (Joey Molland) - 3:30

Easily my pick for the albun's best tune, 'Passin Time' was tuneful, rockin' and thoroughly fun with a great Molland bass line.   The perfect summertime rocker, this is the one I would have released as a single.   rating: **** stas.   
2.) Three Time Loser    (Joey Molland) -  3:30

My pick for second best tune, 'Three Time Loser' had a bouncy melody; lots of jangle, and one of the best vocals Molland's ever laid down.   rating: **** stars
3.) Too Hung Up On You   (Tom Evans - Joe Tansin) -  3:21

Judging by the writing credits, 'Too Hung Up On You' was another 'Airwaves' carryover.   The album's only real ballad, the tune was pretty enough with one of Sherba's prettiest solos, but ultimately forgettable.  rating: ** stars
4.) Crocadillo   (Tom Evans - Roach) - 4:29

With jittery, new-wavish feel, 'Crocadillo' was an interesting change of pace.   Not particularly impressive, but different.   rating: *** stars

5.) No More    (Joey Molland) - 3:21

With an ominous synthesizers dominated opening and some treated vocals, 'No More' sounded like a cross between Pink Floyd and acid-tinged Bealtes (think along the line of 'Blue Jay Way').   With some great Evans and Molland vocals, it was one of the toughest rockers they'd ever recorded, making for another album highlight.    rating: **** stars

 

Two singles were pulled from the album:

 

 

- 1981's 'Hold On' b/w 'Passin' Time' (Radio catalog number RR-3793) # 56

- 1981's 'I Got You' b/w 'Rock and Roll Contract' (Radio catalog number RR-3815) 

 

Accompanied by considerable promotion (I can remember seeing them on the Solid Gold television show), the parent album hit # 155.

 

The band apparently recorded some material for a projected follow-up album that never saw a release.  And then it turned ugly with Evans and Molland having a falling out that saw the two recruit and tour with their own Badfinger line-ups.

 

Sadly, frustrated with on going songwriter credits and royalties, Evans committed suicide in 1983.

Gibbins died of cancer in 2005.

 

 


 

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