abbey road Rock Flashback: Badfingers Pete Ham & Tom Evans

A contemporary view of Abbey Road Studios, where Badfinger recorded some of its first two albums (Getty Images/Oli Scarff)

One thing we know: [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Pete Ham[/lastfm] was a massively impressive artist. As principal songwriter for [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Badfinger[/lastfm], he wrote and sang their iconic hits including “No Matter What,” “Day After Day,” and “Baby Blue,” as well as other terrific songs such as “Take It All” and “Name of the Game.” With Badfinger bandmate [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tom Evans[/lastfm], Ham also wrote “Without You,” which Badfinger cut on its 1970 album No Dice, but which became a worldwide smash in the hands of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Nilsson[/lastfm] a year later.

But Ham’s life would shortly take a turn for the worse.

Badfinger had a hard time keeping its early-’70s momentum going. The group had been signed to Apple Records, but the label was foundering, and their move to Warner Brothers brought legal troubles with it. By 1975, Ham was in financial trouble, his songwriting royalties tied up in litigation involving the group’s management. And in April of that year, he hanged himself. Pete Ham was 28.

Tom Evans’ fate was similar. His royalties for “Without You” were tangled in the web of lawsuits surrounding Apple Records, as were royalties for Badfinger projects. In November of 1983, Evans also hanged himself. Although he left no suicide note, family members have speculated that he remained haunted by Ham’s death. Tom Evans was 36.

Below you can watch Badfinger lip-synching “Without You” on TV circa 1971. That’s Ham on lead vocals.

Read much more about Badfinger at the magnificent Badfinger Library.

Experience more Rock Flashbacks here.


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