BADFINGER – A primer

20140320_532a5e9028fcaFormed in 1961 as the Iveys, Badfinger was one of the first acts signed to The Beatles’ new record label Apple. Their first album, Magic Christian Music, was a home run with their first smash single, written by Paul McCartney, Come And Get It.

They followed that single with No Matter What You Are, Day After Day and Baby Blue, all worldwide hits. They were all over George Harrison’s opus All Things Must Past, they backed up Ringo on his hit It Don’t Come Easy, they played on most of John Lennon’s Imagine album and they were the stage band for George’s famous Concert for Bangladesh.

With a pedigree like that you would think they would be part of rock’s canon. But no. Badfinger was plagued by bad management, lost opportunities and sadly, two tragic suicides.  You can read a good synopsis of their journey on their Wikipedia page.

So this post is just a introduction to some Badfinger you may not be familiar with, but should be, let’s get to it.

The followup to Magic Christian was the album No Dice.  This work contained the hit No Matter What and a soon to be world wide hit for Harry Nilsson and eventually Mariah Carey, Without You. Every cut on No Dice is great and each one moves further away from The Fab’s shadow.  Here is a beautiful song about the tragic life of a London call girl, beautifully rendered cinematically by writer Peter Ham, Midnight Caller.

The album Straight Up followed and became the band’s biggest seller. Both Day After Day and Baby Blue were on this seminal album, but they were not alone. Here is the poignant Perfection, whose lyrics are as relevant today as they were in 1971.

Also on this album was the great Name Of The Game.

Subsequent albums followed, all worthwhile, but none as powerful as No Dice or Straight Up.  Leaving Apple Badfinger signed with Warner Bros., their second Warner release Wish You Were Here was released in October 1974 and garnered glowing reviews. Unfortunately the bird was mired in management and label woes, thus the album never received any push from either. The band then went on a sad and tragic spiral. (Note:Today, Joey Molland, guitarist and vocalist, keeps the band’s music and legacy alive, you can follow him on Twitter @BadfingerJoey). Wish You Were Here is now considered the band’s masterpiece and one of the great lost classics of rock and roll. I agree, it is a beautiful work. It is hard to find, but if you can ever get a copy, get it. The above Amazon link has it in stock periodically.  Here is a fantastic cut from Wish You Were Here, No One Knows It.

I hope this will open the door for you to discover more of Badfinger. There are some very good Best of collections available, but start with the three albums above, No Dice, Straight Up and Wish You Were Here.

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