Head First (2000)
Badfinger were a British rock band that, in their most successful lineup, consisted of Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, and Joey Molland. The band evolved from an earlier group called The Iveys that was formed in 1961 by Ham, Ron Griffiths and David "Dai" Jenkins in Swansea, Wales. The Iveys were the first group signed by the Beatles’ Apple label in 1968. The band renamed themselves Badfinger and in 1969 Griffiths left and was replaced by Molland. In 1970, the band engaged American businessman Stan Polley to manage their commercial affairs. Over the next five years the band recorded five albums for Apple and toured extensively, before they became embroiled in the chaos of Apple Records’ dissolution.
Badfinger had four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: "Come and Get It" (written and produced by Paul McCartney), "No Matter What", "Day After Day" (produced by George Harrison), and "Baby Blue". In 2013, "Baby Blue" made a resurgence onto the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart at number 14 after it was featured in the series finale of the television show Breaking Bad. Their song "Without You" has been recorded many times, including a Billboard number-one hit for Harry Nilsson and a UK number one by Mariah Carey.
After Apple Records folded, Badfinger signed to Warner Bros. Records, but Polley’s financial machinations resulted in internal friction that soon caused Ham to quit Badfinger, to be replaced by Bob Jackson on keyboard and guitar, then led to Ham rejoining and Molland leaving the band instead. However, a lawsuit filed by Warner’s music publishing arm against Polley over missing escrow account money led Warner to withdraw Badfinger’s 1974 Wish You Were Here from the market seven weeks after its release, which effectively cut off the band’s income. Warner then refused to accept (or pay the band for) Badfinger’s next album, Head First, because of the dispute with Polley, leaving the band destitute. Three days before his 28th birthday, on 24 April 1975, Ham committed suicide by hanging himself, leaving a note that included damning comments about Polley.
Over the next three years, the surviving members struggled to rebuild their personal and professional lives against a backdrop of lawsuits, which tied up the songwriters’ royalty payments for years. The Badfinger albums Airwaves (1979) and Say No More (1981) (both of which excluded both Gibbins and Jackson) foundered, as Molland and Evans see-sawed between cooperation and conflict in their attempts to revive and capitalise on the Badfinger legacy. Having seen Ham’s body after Ham’s wife had called him immediately after Ham’s death, Evans reportedly never got over his friend’s suicide, and was quoted as saying in darker moments, "I wanna be where he is." On 19 November 1983, Evans also took his own life by hanging.