Brando's Badfinger Newsstand

Badfinger:  shaking off Beatles image  (same picture used in The Natural Way article, just cropped into a square for this article) Fickle Fate of Badfinger

by Chris Charlesworth
Melody Maker , Nov 14, 1970 or Jan 30, 1971

"EVERYONE who interviews us wants to talk about the Beatles. Sure, we were influenced by the Beatles, like ten million other groups.

"'There are a million groups copying Led Zeppelin at the moment but nobody bothers to criticize them for it. We like melodies and songs and we get called a second Beatles."

That's Pete Ham talking. Pete is guitarist, singer and keyboard consultant with Badfinger, a group strangely ignored in this country since their chart success with "Come And Get it " a year ago. Now they're back in the charts again with "No Matter What."

Badfinger are trying desperately these days to shake off the "new Beatles" image, and there's a lot of truth in what Pete said about Zeppelin. Perhaps it was the Apple label, a McCartney-composed hit, and Magic Christian music that did it.

The situation is just as bad (or good) in America, where Badfinger are far more successful than in this country. Their recent three-month tour over there went down a bomb, and they're looking forward to returning soon for another lengthy stay.

Badfinger live in big house in Golders Green and signs of their increasing wealth are littered around. A large blue Mercedes truck stands in the street, and workmen are currently putting the finishing touches to a mini-recording studio -- sound-proofed for the neighbours' benefit -- on the ground floor.

Guitars and amps are scattered about, but bedrooms don't display the untidiness of most group houses. Perhaps their tidy nature is reflected in the tidy songs they write and sing.

Peter Ham appears to be the father figure. Liverpool accented Joey Molland sits cross-legged and grins cheekily. Tommy Evans, the bassist who -- I can't help it - looks remarkably like McCartney, starts sentences but doesn't finish them, and Mike Gibbins says very little.

"Badfinger has been my only group so I'll tell you about us," says Pete to my initial question. "We were going as The Iveys when we joined Apple to make some demo tapes. That was two and a half years ago and that was when Badfinger was born. Joey joined us about then and we decided to start again with a new name.

Badfinger:  shaking off Beatles image  (same picture used in The Natural Way article, just cropped into a square for this article) "It was then that we did 'Come And Get It' which became a hit. Just before then we had done a song called , 'Maybe Tomorrow' which we thought was going to be very successful but it wasn't."

"When it didn't do anything It was quite a blow to our own judgment but 'Come And Get It' came along and we did that instead. That was very big in America and we did an album which also did well over there so we went over for 12 weeks."

We did 35 college dates over there and had our minds blown in various directions," said Joey. "It took us about a week to get used to the place but when we did it was great. It was unusual for us to play to people who were sitting down and watching and listening for a change.

"The people there seemed to have come specifically to see you instead of just to see another group to dance to.

"The Beatles have done us a lot of good," admitted Joey after a bit of pressing. "To have been associated with them has, done us a lot of good because they are great people."

"What we would really love is to be accepted in this country but it doesn't seem as though we are yet," said one of them.

"We're not complaining. It's a fight for us in England," said Joey.

"English people think of us as the group that did 'Come And Get It.' Full stop," said Pete. "They don't seem prepared to listen to other things we do, but in America they view every number separately,"

Essentially a melody group, how do Badfinger rate the current wave of heavy bands? "Boring," said Joey. "A lot of it is a load of rubbish. They play a guitar riff and write a number round it. They should try writing a number and finding a guitar riff to fit it. That's much harder.

"I think people will get back to more melodic things soon. The have all learned to improvise now and they will use this in writing good songs. That is what we are trying to do."

Back to Brando's Badfinger Newsstand
Back to Brando's Badfinger Page