Brando's Badfinger Newsstand

Straight Up Badfinger
Straight Up
Apple SW 3387

by Mick Garris
Door Magazine (Feb 24 - March 8, 1972)

Ed. Note: The following was found baked in an applesauce cupcake outside of the Homestead, a rest home in El Cajon, near Talbot Castle.

Now, just a doggone minute! There is something smelling of mackerel here. Badfinger is a mystifying discovery of Paul McCartney, whose members remain, for the most part, anonymous to the public. Right now, they are riding on the crest of their third hit single, "Day After Day," from the latest of as many albums, but the mystery stems from the first record, Magic Christian Music. The liner notes begin thusly: "Badfinger are four -- Tom, playing bass, and Joey playing guitar, both from Liverpool, Pete on lead guitar with Mike on drums, both of them born in Swansea, S. Wales."

A simple, Innocuous enough introduction, is it not? AH, but gaze below the text at the picture of the group...There are only three you say! Up. Well, you're half-right anyway. The foreboding shadow of the fourth member extends from the side of the building at the right.

Pay close attention, now, here comes the mystery!

Check out the credits. All of titles are original compositions by the members of Badfinger, save for two: "Come and Get It," by Paul McCartney, and "Dear Angle" by someone named Ron. All of the members of Badfinger contributed to the compositions, except for guitar-strumming Joey, who contributed heavily to the songwriting on the two more recent releases.

We take you now to a time about six months ago

The scene is your local Zingo Discount Platters store. Enter WINLEY and AMBITA stage left.

WINLEY: Ah, ha! The new Badfinger album! Loan me some money so I can get it, Ambita.

AMBITA: No Dice!

WINLEY: Yeah, that's it! The one with the song that sounds so much like the old Beatles! (singing) "No matter whatchoo are, I will always..."

AMBITA: Okay! Knock it off. (She thrusts the necessary amount into his ear.)

The scene is now Winley's bedroom. On the walls are artifacts typical of American adolescence - a poster of Nixon eating a baby, a framed portrait of Ralph Williams, and grand opening flags from the Springfield mortuary. It is thirty minutes later.

AMBITA: You owe me three-fifty.

WINLEY: Okay. (He fumbles with the album, trying to remove the cellophane.)

AMBITA: If you wouldn't bite your fingernails, you wouldn't have so much trouble.

WINLEY: (Ignoring her) There! Got it. (Winley opens out the album cover and gazes inside.) Hey! There's four of them now !

AMBITA: Oh, hoodle toodle, there always were.

WINLEY: Bull! Look, it only shows three of them. (He pulls the first album out from his K-Tel Record Selector and thrusts it in her mug.)

AMBITA: (Reading): "Badfinger are four..."

WINLEY: Lemme see that! (He grabs it from her and read the liner notes. Then he looks inside of No Dice.) Ah hah! Joey's the one that wasn't pictured on the first one. Wonder why? (He looks closer) ACK!

AMBITA: (Bored): What is it? He shows her the new album.

WINLEY: Who does that look like to you?

AMBITA: You're right! Joey looks just like William Campbell!


AMBITA: The guy who took over for Paul McCartney when he died.


For those of you who just came in, here is a brief synopsis of what has occurred. The first Badfinger album listed four members but pictured only three and the one that wasn't pictured turns out to be the only one who didn't do any writing on the album but Paul McCartney wrote a song on the album in fact he discovered them and on the second album we see that Joey who was not pictured on the first album looks oodles and gobs like William Campbell, who looks just like Paul McCartney and he sings just like Paul McCartney and a lot of their stuff sounds a lot like the Beatles and they're on Apple Records but they're really good and you don't care that they sound just like the Beatles 'cause hell, if they're good enough for Paul McCartney they're good enough for me and they got a new album out called Straight Up which is really good too and George Harrison produced some of it which explains why the lead on "Day After Day" sounds just like Harrison.

Well, as I said, George Harrison produced part of it, and the rest of it was produced by the Runt, Todd Rundgren. Their production equals that of George Martin's early work with those four other zany moptops. But let me put it this way -- we have a replacement for the now-defunct Beatles, if not in excellence, at least in spirit and mystery. Hell, they might even be the Beatles for all I know. And (here's a really good one, folks), Liza Williams, who was at Capitol Records at the time No Dice came out, told me that there was a rumor going around that Badfinger recordings were really old Beatle recordings! YEAH!!

But whatever the case, if you've read this far and know what the doo-dah I'm talking about, Mister, you're a better man than I. I just want to say that, no matter who made them, the Badfinger albums are wonderful pieces of rock and roll, especially the new one, Straight Up. Badfinger, whether they are really the Beatles, the Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Grand Funk, or, by some quirk of fate, Badfinger, are really good, and I've got a headache. Goodnight from Mick and the kids. Wish you were here.

Brando comment: This review was done by Mick Garris. The gentleman who is being considered to create the screenplay for a movie about Badfinger. You just have to wonder how much more intense and / or serious the Beatle comparisons would have been had Mick (or anyone) noticed the mysterious images (John Lennon & George Harrison (?)) from the No Dice advertisement in Rolling Stone in January 1971.

Note the last four words of his review. He not only had an affection for the band, but he had some kind of extra-sensory telekinetic powers to foresee the title of the bands second Warner's LP.

I didn't put this review in the Newsstand to analyze Mick's writing style (these passages are a quarter of a century old), but to note that Mick truly was a big fan from the moment he first heard the band. The quirkiness of the review shows a gentleman who enjoyed putting the extra effort into a review by a band he obviously respected. I believe Badfinger's movie script is in the hands of a true believer, that is the point I wanted to make. Thanks.

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