Badfinger – Without You

Ever since I wrote about Baby Blue by Badfinger for Hanspostcard’s draft…I have been listening to them again and I wrote up a few posts so I thought I would make a weekend of it…so lets start the weekend a little early!

Most everyone knows this song by Harry Nilsson and some by Mariah Carey. Harry to me has the definitive version but Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger wrote it as a simple blues song. They never dreamed it would be turned around into an epic song.

The song was originally on the No Dice album released in 1970. The album peaked at #28 in the Billboard 100. The album spawned the hit No Matter What that peaked at #8 in 1970.

Badfinger - No Dice | Releases, Reviews, Credits | Discogs

Without you was not released as a single and it wasn’t meant to be. Pete and Tom put together two songs they were writing… Pete’s in the verses and Tom’s chorus. They always thought of it as a little blues song that was an album cut.

Badfinger were in the studio one night and Nilsson called them over to listen to what he had recorded. They had no clue he was recording their song…when they heard Harry’s version it blew them away. Over 180 artists have recorded the song since then. The band didn’t start getting royalities from this song or much of anything else until `1985 when the court case was settled. Their former manager tried to get his hands on it then but wasn’t successful. The two families of Ham and Evans…received some of the money for the late songwriters.

You can’t really compare the versions. Badfinger never meant it to be commercial sounding and who could sing like Harry Nilsson?

In a way…this song sums up Badfinger perfectly. 

Without You

Well, I can’t forget this evening
And your face when you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile, but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes, it shows

Well, I can’t forget tomorrow
When I think of all my sorrow
I had you there, but then I let you go
And now it’s only fair that I should let you know
What you should know

I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give any more
I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore

Well, I can’t forget this evening
And your face when you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile, but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes, it shows

Oh

I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give any more
I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore

I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give any more
I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore

I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give any more
I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore

I can’t live, if living is without you

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

41 thoughts on “Badfinger – Without You”

    1. No one could sing like Nilsson but I don’t think they realized what they had…and didn’t try to make it into a pop song. Those two songs went together perfectly to form one.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I always loved the Nilsson version and didn’t know of this Badfinger original connection. It came like fresh air. I thought these two recordings of Badfinger were wonderful and captured the words like I wasn’t expecting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There should be a special level of hell reserved for managers who’ve ripped off their clients a d Badfingers one should be in an esp painful one given the consequences of his greed

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL… the only thing I’ve liked…and that is because I have memories to it was her Christmas album…
        I respect great voices but as you know…I love imperfect voices like Dylan and Janis Joplin

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LOL…those imperfect voices are interesting because they rely on soul and meaning more than technique…if that makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Max, I had no idea this originally was a Badfinger tune. I’m very familiar with Nilsson’s rendition, which I have to say I used to like better than I do nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, his vocals are incredible, but at the same time, I find it a little bit too intense. I do like Badfinger’s original, however, a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it! Get ready for more because I’m sticking with the through the weekend lol.
      I like both versions and Badfinger has grown on me

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s such a beautiful and bittersweet song, and so well-written that all three major versions are tremendous. Nilsson and M. Carey’s versions sound more dramatic because of their grandiose orchestral arrangements, but Badfinger’s has an understated poignancy that’s very effective in conveying the heartache expressed in the lyrics.

    Liked by 1 person

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