Album review: Badfinger, Badfinger

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Album Reviews

Badfinger’s self-titled 1974 release was supposed to make the band superstars, as it was the first record of a lucrative three-year, six-album deal with Warner Brothers Records. Following a fruitful but somewhat acromonius departure from the Beatles’ Apple Records, Badfinger hit the ground running with an album that should have been a hit.
However, as seemed to be the case late in their career, the stars just weren’t aligned for the band. Badfinger’s final release for Apple, Ass, was delayed and hit the market after the first single from Badfinger — “Love Is Easy” was out. The album itself arrived on shelves three months after Ass, therefore flooding the market with Badfinger product and confusing the public.
Both albums were commercial stiffs, with Badfinger barely even cracking the top 200 albums chart. It’s a shame, because it’s a better album than Ass, mainly because Pete Ham broke out of his brief bout with writers’ block to write four songs and co-write another.
Ham’s in peak form, particularly on the lovely lament “Song for A Lost Friend” and the tearjerker ballad “Lonely You”. He teams with Tom Evans for the wonderful country-based rocker “Shine On” and delivers one of the album’s left-field delights with “Matted Spam,” a funky horns-inflected R&B number. It sounds like nothing else in the band’s catalogue, but that’s not a bad thing.
Guitarist Joey Molland continued to crank out quality rockers, and although he doesn’t dominate the album like he did on Ass, he certainly makes his presence felt on the Fleetwood Mac-ish “Love is Easy,” the heavy “Give It Up” and the almost punk-like closer “Andy Norris.”
In addition to co-writing “Shine On”, Evans contributes the sunny “Why Don’t We Talk?” and the steel-drum island flavor of “Where Do We Go From Here?” Drummer Mike Gibbons chimes in with the folksy “My Heart Goes Out.”
There’s not a bad track among the 12 included on this lost classic, but since it failed to make an impact, the band was under intense pressure to deliver a hit for their follow-up. They returned to the studio immediately and cut Wish You Were Here, their best overall album. That arrived in late 1974 to fantastic reviews but didn’t have a chance in the marketplace, as it was pulled after a month due to legal problems involving the band’s crooked manager Stan Polley. Badfinger eventually cut a third album for Warners, Head First, but it was rejected by the label and a few months later, Ham committed suicide.
Badfinger’s late-period albums aren’t as known as their earlier work with Apple, but they are worth tracking down. The self-titled release has some real gems, songs that easily could have been hits with the proper promotion.

Sod rating: ****
Key tracks: Shine On, Song for A Lost Friend, Give it Up, Andy Norris, Why Don’t We Talk?, Love is Easy

  1. Bre says:

    Great site. I just wanted to let you and your readers know of the official website of the group Badfinger that we just put up by working closely with Joey Molland. You can ask him questions personally, learn about upcoming tour dates, or just read the news about the group and their journey. Enjoy

    #1 Badfinger Fab

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