Top 10 Badfinger Songs
The top Badfinger songs show why the group were one of the first signed by the Beatles when they decided to get in the record-company business. In fact, their debut single, recorded when they were still known as the Iveys, was one of Apple’s first releases. The band’s breakthrough single, ‘Come and Get It,’ was written by Paul McCartney. The Beatles didn’t abandon Badfinger after the Fabs split up; George Harrison even produced their biggest hit, ‘Day After Day.’ Tragically, singer and songwriter Pete Ham killed himself in 1975, and the band broke up. They reunited with a new lineup in the late ’70s for a couple more records but disbanded again a few years later. Here’s our list of the Top 10 Badfinger songs:
‘Meanwhile Back at the Ranch / Should I Smoke’
Not too many people heard this tough rocker from the band’s sixth album because the LP was pulled less than two months after its release because Badfinger’s managers and their label’s publishing firm were feuding. Too bad, because the album is one of their best, and the five-minute closing medley, ‘Meanwhile Back at the Ranch / Should I Smoke,’ is one of their strongest album tracks.
Nilsson took ‘Without You’ to No. 1 in 1971, but Badfinger recorded the song a year earlier on their second album, ‘No Dice.’ The ballad — which was also a huge hit for Mariah Carey in 1994 — was written by the band’s Pete Ham and Tom Evans. We still think Nilsson’s version is the definitive one, but Badfinger’s more restrained original hits all the right emotional notes. A quiet gem.
‘Love Is Gonna Come at Last’
Following Pete Ham’s death in 1975, Badfinger called it quits. Four years later, led by the group’s other singer and songwriter Tom Evans, they regrouped and released their seventh album, ‘Airwaves.’ But their big comeback bombed. The LP didn’t make it any higher than No. 125, and the album’s only charting single, the retro-sounding ‘Love Is Gonna Come at Last,’ stalled at No. 69.
Evans, along with longtime member Joey Molland, tried one final time to lift the reunited Badfinger off the ground with 1981’s ‘Say No More.’ It’s a bit sturdier than ‘Airwaves’ (see No. 8 on our list of the Top 10 Badfinger Songs), and its only single, ‘Hold On,’ managed to climb to No. 56, their best showing in almost a decade. But it didn’t last. The album stiffed, and Evans took his own life in 1983 at the age of 36.
Before they were Badfinger, they were called the Iveys, and the Pete Ham-led group was one of the first to be signed to the Beatles’ new Apple Records. Their debut single, ‘Maybe Tomorrow,’ is a Beatlesque slice of British pop that managed to make it to No. 67 on the U.S. chart. A year later, they returned with a new name and a Top 10 hit (see No. 2 on our list of the Top 10 Badfinger Songs).
‘Apple of My Eye’
Badfinger’s last charting single to feature Ham is all about the group’s impending move to a new record label, which was offering them more money. The band had mixed feelings about the switch (also see ‘Ass” album cover, which features a tempting carrot — a reference to Warner Bros., which also owned Bugs Bunny). Turns out they made the right decision: The bittersweet ‘Apple of My Eye’ was the last single released by Apple that wasn’t by a former Beatle.
The group’s last Top 40 hit was released three months after its third album just missed the Top 30. Even though ‘Straight Up”s first single, ‘Day After Day’ (see No. 3 on our list of the Top 10 Badfinger Songs), was produced by George Harrison, much of the LP was helmed by Todd Rundgren, who clashed with the band. Plus, the group and Apple’s relationship wasn’t all that great at the time either. Still, they managed some lovely songs like ‘Baby Blue’ among all the chaos.
‘Day After Day’
Besides, obviously, the Beatles and their solo careers, Badfinger were a main priority at Apple. They were one of the first groups signed to the label, and Paul McCartney wrote and produced their breakthrough single, ‘Come and Get It.’ Their biggest hit, ‘Day by Day,’ was produced by George Harrison and features his distinctive guitar playing. Harrison was supposed to work on their third album, but then the Bangladesh flood happened and he turned the bulk of his attention to relief efforts via a benefit concert. With a deadline looming, Apple brought in Todd Rundgren to work behind the boards.
‘Come and Get It’
Badfinger’s debut album isn’t really a soundtrack to the 1969 comedy that starred Ringo Starr. Rather, it’s an introduction to the newly renamed group that used to be the Iveys (see No. 6 on our list of the Top 10 Badfinger Songs) and whose old songs make up the bulk of this LP. The highlight of the record, and the main reason it even exists, is the Paul McCartney-penned ‘Come and Get It,’ which hit No. 7. (Note: You can hear McCartney’s original demo on the Beatles’ ‘Anthology 3′ album.)
‘No Matter What’
Every aspiring power-pop band should listen to ‘No Matter What’ to hear how it’s done. Badfinger’s second single under their new name, and second straight Top 10, features one of pop’s all-time mightiest hooks. From the terrific opening riff to the false ending, it’s pure pop heaven. But more than anything, ‘No Matter What’ proved that Badfinger could write a great Beatles-like song without their mentors’ help.