Bonnie Tyler – It’s a Heartache

Late seventies at the skating rink…this one was played and that is what I think of. I knew enough about Rod Stewart at the time I was 10-11 to think this was him for a while. My sister got the single and I loved it. Rod Stewart finally covered the song in 2007.

It’s a Heartache was released in 1978 and peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #4 in the UK, and #1 in Canada. It also crossed over to the country charts at #10. The single sold over 6 million copies. This song fits Bonnie Tyler’s voice perfectly. The song was written by Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe.

Bonnie Tyler had throat problems severe enough to require surgery in 1976, the procedure can often be career-threatening. In this case, however, the nodules that she developed singing in nightclubs in her native Wales turned out to be career-making. She was told not to speak 6 weeks after her surgery but she did and it helped cause the rasp.

Some useless trivia… The two weeks that “It’s A Heartache” was at #3, for those two weeks the #1 record was “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb and at #2 was “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty

The drummer on this song was Mike Gibbons of Badfinger.

It’s a Heartache

It’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
Hits you when it’s too late
Hits you when you’re down

It’s a fool’s game
Nothing but a fool’s game
Standing in the cold rain
Feeling like a clown

It’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
Love him ’til your arms break
Then he let’s you down

It ain’t right with love to share
When you find he doesn’t care for you
It ain’t wise to need someone
As much as I depended on you

Oh, it’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
Hits you when it’s too late
Hits you when you’re down

It’s a fool’s game
Nothing but a fool’s game
Standing in the cold rain
Feeling like a clown

It ain’t right with love to share
When you find he doesn’t care for you
It ain’t wise to need someone
As much as I depended on you

Oh, it’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
You love him ’til your arms break
Then he let’s you down

It’s a fool’s game
Standing in the cold rain
Feelin’ like a clown
It’s a heartache
Love him ’til your arms break
Then he let’s you down
It’s a fool’s game

Badfinger -Suitcase

This song was on their Straight Up album but it’s when they were live it came alive. They have a terrific groove going on and Pete wails on the solo. This was Badfinger live as they ventured out of power pop into a jam band. The live version of the band is much different than the studio version.

This song was going to be the B side to Name of the Game issued as a single but Apple never released it. The song has a power pop base but with hard electric on top and it changes the dynmaic of it.

Making the Straight Up album was no easy task. They started off with Geoff Emerick (he produced their last album and engineered several Beatle albums) producing them. The songs were rejected by the Apple’s head of US operations Allan Steckler. George Harrison thought a lot of Badfinger, especially Pete Ham and wanted Name of the Game to be released as a single before the album.  George then started to produce the band himself. He worked with them and they started to make progress. He played slide with Pete on the hit Day After Day and Leon Russell played piano.

They were making great progress but then the  Bangladesh concert came up and George was distracted. He handed off the producing to Todd Rundgren. The band and Rundgren didn’t mix well but he finished producing it in two weeks. The members were much happier with George who actually listened to their ideas.

It was a great album but one of the complaints from the band was it lost a lot of rawness and energy after Rundgren mixed it.

Going through three producers…it’s a wonder it’s as good as it is.

The Studio version is the second video but I would reccomend the live version…and I don’t do that a lot.

Suitcase

Suitcase, suitcase, follow me ’round
Bootlace, bootlace, tie me down
Money for fun, yeah, golden crown
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing for so long

Driver, driver, go too fast
Miser, miser, make it last
Pusher, pusher, on the run
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing for so long

And I’m sorry to be leavin’
Yeah, that’s all I get to say
‘Cause I’m sorry to be leavin’ today

[guitar solo (Pete Ham)]

Well I’m sorry to be leavin’
But that’s all I get to say
‘Cause I’m sorry to be leaving today

(Driver drive)

Driver, driver, go too fast
Miser, miser, make it last
Pusher, pusher, on the run
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing so long

So long

Badfinger – Apple Of My Eye …. Badfinger Long Weekend

The song was written by Pete Ham, produced by Chris Thomas and Badfinger, and released on Apple Records in 1973.

The song is about Pete Ham having regrets leaving Apple Records where the Beatles signed them but Stan Polley (the manager) was  pursuing a larger contract by moving to Warner Bros. Records. This is where Badfinger started their slide into hell. The album cover was about being led away from Apple.

Ass (album) - Wikipedia

Warner Bros offered them a huge contract. As it turned out they would never see the Warner Bros money as Polley took it out of escrow without telling the band. In the next few posts and little more info on this will be given.

The reason Polley wanted the band to leave Apple Records is because he could control everything with a new contract with Warners. He started to take all of the Apple royalities as well until the members stopped Apple from giving it to him. After that no one got the money (Apple held the money waiting for the courts to decide) and the band members were broke. It was held up in litigation until 1985 when some of the money was distributed.

The song peaked at #102 in the Hot 100 in 1973. Apple didn’t do a good job pushing this album because they knew Badfinger was leaving. This song ended up being the last non-ex-Beatles release on Apple Records.

In 1985 the band and family members finally got their money that had been tied up from Apple because of the lawsuits with Warners…all caused by a ruthless manager who really never got punished for his deeds and lived to be 87.

A movie was going to be made of their story…and still might be one day.

Apple Of My Eye

Oh, I’m sorry, but it’s time to move away
Though inside my heart, I really want to stay
Believe the love we have is so sincere
You know, the gift you have will always be

You’re the apple of my eye
You’re the apple of my heart
But now, the time has come to part

Oh, I’m sorry, but it’s time to make a stand
Though we never meant to bite the lovin’ hand
And now, the time has come to walk alone
We were the children, now we’ve overgrown

You’re the apple of my eye
You’re the apple of my heart
But now, the time has come to part

Oh, I’m sorry, but it’s time to move away
Though inside my heart, I really want to stay
Believe the love we have is so sincere
You know, the gift you have will always be

Now, the time has come to part
Now, the time has come to part.

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

Badfinger – Baby Blue

This is my ninth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. Badfinger’s Baby Blue.

The holy trinity of power pop for me are…Badfinger, Big Star, and The Raspberries…those were the 70s  pioneers. Badfinger was the most successful out of the three…hit wise anyway. You can hear later bands like Cheap Trick, The Posies, Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet,  and even KISS get something from each three.

My love for this song is so over the top. Baby Blue, to these ears, is the perfect power pop song. It has the right combination of the hard British crunch and pop with an irresistible guitar riff. Lets talk about that guitar riff. I know there are other good rock riffs but the perfection in this one is sensational. He plays a variant of it through the song always changing plus a walk down or two. Nothing is purely defined and that is just pure brilliance. The solo is simple but fits perfectly. No nuance in this song is wasted…it was in there for the good of the song…not meant to be flashy.

It’s a hook here, a hook there, and a hook everywhere…and…I’ve been hooked since I first heard it. Everything blends. Even the ending is perfect. On top of that it was produced by a power pop guy Todd Rundgren.

You can hear a young Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick listening and learning from this.

I had gone through Han’s entire album draft without mentioning my name sake…Badfinger…I’m here to rectify that now. I learned about Badfinger as a wee young kid who thought “Come and Get It” was a long lost Beatle song. I found out more about them and bought the album Straight Up. I liked many of their album cuts more than their hits.

As they went along they started to move away from the power pop genre because of the too close Beatle connection. During live performances they sorta became a jam band. Later on they made some excellent albums that no one heard because of a manager who would make Allen Klein (Satan, snake, etc) look good. Arguably the most tragic story in rock and roll…but that is for another day. We are looking now at Badfinger in 1972 before the rug got pulled out from underneath them.

A year ago or so I posted a ranking of my favorite power pop songs. This one was at the top of my list before I wrote it, during the process of writing it, and is still at the top. The others have changed places depending on my mood but not this one.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. The “Dixie” in the song was Pete Ham’s ex-girlfriend, Dixie Armstrong whom he’d met during the band’s US tour of 1971. Dixie was from Wichita Kansas (thanks run-sew-read).

The song was revitalized again in the great show Breaking Bad. I’m happy that Breaking Bad showcased this song so that another generation knows the song and hopefully that will lead more people to learn about Badfinger. After the show’s finale with this song…the song entered the charts again.

*** Here is the clip from Breaking Bad…but warning…it has a major spoiler for those who haven’t watched it.

Or you can watch them below that with an awkwardly cool Kenny Rogers introducing them. The music is not live but the vocals are…they are playing to a backing track…but listen to those live voices….although they are mic’d up so they are probably playing low along with the backing track.

Baby Blue

Guess I got what I deserved
Kept you waiting there too long, my love
All that time without a word
Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget or I’d regret
The special love I had for you, my baby blue

All the days became so long
Did you really think, I’d do you wrong?
Dixie, when I let you go
Thought you’d realize that I would know
I would show the special love I have for you, my baby blue

What can I do, what can I say
Except I want you by my side
How can I show you, show me the way
Don’t you know the times I’ve tried?

guitar solo

Guess that’s all I have to say
Except the feeling just grows stronger every day
Just one thing before I go
Take good care, baby, let me know, let it grow
The special love you have for me, my Dixie, dear.

Badfinger – Straight Up

Obviously, I really like this band. When I was a newbie Beatles fan I thought Come and Get It was a Beatles song and then I found out it was this band with a funny name called Badfinger . As a teenager I had this album and I bought their  1979 Airwaves album (without Pete Ham) in the early eighties. in the cutout bin. It was a nice album but without Pete Ham it wasn’t up to their standards.

Badfinger was known as a singles band but they did have one great album along with very good ones…and Straight Up was the great one.

I bought two of Pete Ham “solo” albums named Golders Green and 7 Park Avenue in the 1990s. The albums were made of Pete’s demos from the 60s and 70s. The pop world really missed out when Pete decided to leave the earth. His songs were very McCartney like…good McCartney like.

Badfinger had undoubtedly one of the saddest stories in a business that is full of them. Two members committed suicide and the band was ripped off beyond belief by a manager. The band was left virtually penniless after making millions.

Straight Up has two of their big hits…the beautiful Day After Day and what I consider the best power-pop song of all time…Baby Blue. It’s not just the hits though that are good….the band had three songwriters with Pete Ham, Tom and  Joey Molland.  Tom and Joey were not in their bandmate’s writing level but they were very good. There is not a bad song on the album.

Take It All is a song written by Pete and the song is about the Bangladesh concert when Pete got to play with George Harrison up front and his bandmates were in the background. Joey Molland the other guitarist was upset at this so Pete wrote this song.

Suitcase was a rocking song that Joey Molland wrote and was a great live song. It was a departure from the power pop they played…they were expanding their repertoire. Pete Ham plays some great slide guitar in this.

Sweet Tuesday Morning is one of those seventies songs that is beautifully written and performed by Joey.

Of course the hits…Day After Day and Baby Blue…this is Day After Day it peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada and #10 in the UK in 1971.

Badfinger along with Big Star and the Raspberries gave us great power pop and helped create the genre. If you have a greatest hits…this would be a good companion album to go with it.

Take It All
Baby Blue
Money
Flying
I’d Die, Babe
Name Of The Game
Suitcase
Sweet Tuesday Morning
Day After Day
Sometimes
Perfection
It’s Over

Baby Blue peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #7 in Canada, and #73 in the UK.

Badfinger

Badfinger was a very talented band that had a gift and curse of sounding like The Beatles. Their songs are remembered today but not the band which is a shame. They made some very good albums. This band’s story is a cautionary tale that other bands need to look at. This is what signing with a bad manager can do to you.

The members were Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, and Joey Molland (who replaced Ron Griffiths).

They started out as the Iveys and signed with the Beatles new label…Apple. After that, they changed their name to Badfinger. Paul McCartney wrote their first big hit single”Come and Get It” and after that, they were writing themselves. The hits kept coming… No Matter What, Baby Blue and Day after Day. They also wrote Without You…a small blues song that Harry Nilson covered…it became a monster worldwide hit. Mariah Carey also covered it later on and was again a giant hit.

They signed with a manager named Stan Polley and got a massive contract with Warner Brothers after leaving Apple. Things were looking really good. They had hits but they never made it over the hump in being a big-time group. Warner Brothers could have pushed them over the hump…Polley setup an escrow account for the band with the advance money and the money disappeared.

He told the band that he was planning for their future etc..He put them on a small salary and embezzled the rest. He really swindled them and their royalties for their songs were tied up for years.

The band was basically broke. With all of their self-written hits, they should have been set financially for years.

Pete Ham didn’t have the money to pay his mortgage and with a baby on the way drunk and depressed at the fatal age (for rock stars) of 27 he hanged himself in his garage in 1975. In 1983 after scrambling for gigs, Tom Evans broke and not able to get to any of the royalties due him from co-writing Without You with Pete…hanged himself also.

Pete was a trusting soul and never would believe Polley was cheating them until the very end. His suicide note read…

“I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better  P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.”

They all wrote to some degree but Pete Ham was a great songwriter. He had so much potential. He also was a great guitar player and singer.

Stan Polley died in 2009… escaping other scandals without punishment.

Their albums were

Magic Christian Music – This was the soundtrack to the movie The Magic Christian. Come and Get It is on this album and a minor hit called Maybe Tomorrow which is a good pop song.

No Dice – No Dice is where Badfinger starts to be themselves. No Matter What and Without You came off of this album. It also has some other great songs… I Can’t Take It, Blodwyn, We’re for the Dark, Better Days, and my favorite of the album and possibly of Badfinger…Midnight Caller.

Straight Up – This is my favorite album by them. It has Baby Blue and Day after Day but a host of other good songs. Take It All, Money, Name of the Game, Suitcase, Sweet Tuesday Morning, and I’d Die Babe. Joey Molland’s songwriting and singing were very good on this album.

Ass – Their last album for Apple records and the start of the downward spiral. The songs I would recommend are Apple of My Eye and Icicles.

Badfinger – They just signed a new record deal with Warner Brothers and this was the first album. They recorded this album as soon as they finished their previous album Ass for Apple which was too soon. They should have waited a while before recording this album. This album didn’t do well and one of the reasons is because it was competing with their previous album. They were released within months of each other and it. The songs I like are I Miss You and Shine On.

Wish You Were Here – The album was released in late 1974 and was pulled in early 1975 before it had time to do anything because of litigation between their manager and the Warner Brothers. It was released and pulled in a matter of weeks. Warner Brothers saw the money was missing and yanked the album off of the shelves. The songs I like are Dennis and Just a Chance.

Head First – They recorded this album after Wish You Were Here with Bob Jackson after Joey Molland had quit. The album was stuck in limbo for 26 years never released. It wasn’t released until 2000. I went out and bought this the day it was out at Tower Records when I read they were releasing it. On some songs, you can tell they are having problems with their management. The songs that stand out to me Lay Me Down, Hey Mr. Manager, Rock N’ Roll Contract, and Keep Believing. A good album and I wish it would have had a chance at the time.

They did make a couple of albums after Pete died called Airwaves and Say No More. The song Lost Inside Your Love is the only song that approaches the Badfinger early quality.

Without Pete, the biggest talent was gone. That is not a knock on the others but he was just that good. Tom Evans was a good singer, songwriter, musician who worked with Pete well and had a great voice. Joey Molland was a good guitar player, singer, and songwriter. The band didn’t lack talent.

In 1997 a CD was released of Pete Hams demos called 7 Park Avenue. It was various demos from his entire career. A follow up was released in 1999 called Golders Green. The melodies he had rivaled McCartneys. He was an amazing songwriter.

Go out and google Badfinger and more importantly listen to them. This band needs to be remembered.

Baby Blue… Maybe the most perfect power pop song ever.

No Matter What

Day After Day

Midnight Caller

Suitcase

 

A good article on Badfiinger