Friday, February 19, 2016

Badfinger – "Baby Blue" (1972)

Guess I got what I deserved
Kept you waiting there too long, my love

In the words of one pop music writer, Badfinger is “inextricably linked” to the Beatles:

  – After the Beatles started their own record label in 1968, Badfinger – then known as the Iveys – were the first group they signed to a recording contract.

  – Paul McCartney gave them the song that would be their first big hit: “Come and Get It,” which made it all the way to #7 on the Billboard “Hot 100.”  (There was no better song to sing along to when you were a teenage boy driving around with you friends after school in 1970, the year the song was released.)

  – George Harrison produced the group’s biggest single, “Day After Day,” in 1971.

  – Members of the group contributed to George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album and Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy” single.

The media compared Badfinger to the Beatles for the entirety of their career – and for good reason.  “The thing that impressed me so much was how similar their voices were to the Beatles,” producer Tony Visconti said.  “I sometimes had to look over the control board down into the studio to make sure John and Paul weren't singing lead vocals.”

Badfinger eventually left Apple to sign with Warner Bros.  The band’s management contract provided that all its sales royalties and other income was to be paid to its manager, Stan Polley, who was supposed to pay the band members salaries and invest the rest.  Polly’s financial shenanigans resulted in lawsuits, a fraud investigation by the Riverside County (California) district attorney, and the 1975 suicide of Pete Ham, the group’s singer/songwriter/guitarist.

Ham was 27 when he hung himself.  His suicide note called Polley “a soulless bastard.”  

Ham’s bandmate, Tom Evans, never got over Ham’s suicide.  Evans hung himself in 1983. 

“Baby Blue,” which was written by Ham, was a top-20 hit in 1972.  The song was featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, but it was the use of the song during the last scene of Breaking Bad that returned “Baby Blue” to the public’s consciousness over 40 years after its original release:

Here’s “Baby Blue”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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