Arguably the most tragic band of the seventies – or any other decade come to that – Badfinger has risen from the ashes, not only to tour, but to give us some new music.
Back in 1969, the band, led by Pete Ham and Tom Evans, was the first group to be signed to The Beatles’ Apple label (apart from the Fab Four of course), and after a faltering start, the Paul McCartney composition ‘Come And Get It’ became the bands’ first hit in January 1970, reaching number four in the charts.
‘No Matter What’ hit the Top Five exactly a year later whilst ‘Day After Day’ was another Top Ten hit exactly a year after that.
Both these hits and ‘Baby Blue’ which just failed to make the charts were written by Pete Ham, who also co-wrote the multi-million selling ‘Without You’ for Nilsson.
Badfinger was almost the ‘house-band’ for Apple, as they played on the soundtrack of ‘The Magic Christian’ starring Ringo Starr as well as three of The Beatles’ solo albums.
Legal problems beset the band and Pete Ham left, to be replaced by singer/keyboard player Bob Jackson. Pete retracted his resignation, but Bob stayed until the band finally split in 1974.
But the story didn’t end there, frustrated by the legal wranglings surrounding the band and his own attempts to get his royalty payments for ‘Without You’, Pete committed suicide in 1975.
The band resurfaced five years later and at other times since, but then Tom Evans also took his own life.
Badfinger’s music was always a delight to listen to, with excellent vocal harmonies and a strong sense of melody and their songs feature prominently on playlists everywhere.
In 2013, ‘Baby Blue’ rocketed to number 14 in the Billboard charts after being used in the series finale of the hit TV series ‘Breaking Bad’.
Then last year, Bob Jackson was asked to put a version of the band together for a package tour with some Sixties artists.
Speaking from his home, Bob – who is also a member of Sixties’ hitmakers The Fortunes – said that the reaction to the new version of the band was positive.
“We had a fantastic response,” he said. “And that has encouraged me to do it again.”
But this time around the band are headlining. Bob said: “The Badfinger catalogue is so rich, so this year we are doing a full show which will incorporate the history of the band and some new stuff.”
Bob has always been the one to keep the Badfinger name alive. He said: “I’ve been in The Fortunes for 20-odd years but I never lost the Badfinger connections. They all kept in touch and I even appeared on Pete Ham’s solo album.
“I never forgot my time in the band and it was always close to my heart, so when I got the opportunity last year to tour, The Fortunes had a gap in their schedule so I jumped at the chance.”
Badfinger play at The Flowerpot in Derby on October 14. Bob said: “There will be a rich mix with obviously all the hits and a whole load of stuff from the albums.
“I don’t want it to be a time-piece and not move forward.”
He has gathered a group of fine musicians to perform with. “I’ve got Andy Nixon on guitar and vocals, Mick Healy on bass and vocals and Ted Duggan on drums and vocals. They’ve all been around and I had knowledge of them and their work.”
A new Badfinger track – ‘In A Different World’ which was written by Bob is available as a free download from the website. He said: “It’s an old song of mine and I’m hoping to get a few more together and release an album.”
As for the future, Bob is unsure. “I have no set plans really, The Fortunes are terrific but there is a thirst for Badfinger so I’ll just see how it goes.
“If it goes well then I’ll do more.”
Overall, he is optimistic.
“I’m really looking forward to the live date. Obviously it’ll be a bit of a challenge, but I’m confident that it’ll be great.”
He concludes. “To be playing these songs again is very emotional, but I’m exorcising all the bad bits from the band’s career.”