Which Finger

The group Badfinger, was a cursed quartet that consisted of singer, songwriter and guitarist Pete Ham, bass guitar and songwriter Torn Evans, drummer Mike Gibbins, songwriter and guitarist Joey Molland.  The group was quite adept at writing poignant and catchy love songs, as is proven by Pete Ham’s beautifully composed hit ‘Day After Day’.  This band had so much potential, but fate was not on their side and they ended up being penniless and forgotten, little more than a sad footnote in musical history, time has all but forgotten that Badfinger ever existed.  The band had started out as The Iveys in the mid-1960s and they were discovered by Beatles’ roadie Mal Evans.  In November 1969, the Iveys changed their name to Badfinger, after Lennon hurt his forefinger on a piano and he was using only one finger.  Paul McCartney gave the group a boost by offering them his song ‘Come and Get It’, which he produced for the band.

The story of Badfinger is one of the saddest and most unfair tales in rock and roll.  Other artists may have struggled, been ripped off, suffered needless pain, and gone unrecognized for their talents, but rarely did one artist (or group) have to withstand all of this at the same time.  When the Beatles brought Badfinger into the fold, it seemed like a dream come true.  Just as they were getting themselves off the ground, however, their dream was transformed into a nightmare.

The Beatles began Apple Corp., a business which was supposed to help struggling artists, but it ended up strangling them instead.  Recognition was a big problem for Badfinger, not being able to draw enough traffic would haunt them for their entire career, they constantly struggled against indomitable odds to maintain their existence.  Besides the Beatles and their solo careers, Badfinger were a main priority at Apple, as they were one of the first groups signed to the label.  The Beatles’ finances were a complete disaster, and Badfinger had the horrible misfortune of being contractually bound to the company at the worst possible time.  Even the Beatles lost any semblance of control over the situation, with various lawyers and accountants attempting to discern who owed what to whom.  Under these circumstances, Badfinger had little choice and no power to enact a change.  Rarely has a recorded group had so much apparent opportunity and so much bad luck as Badfinger.  Management and business problems seemed to haunt the group from the start, most of the band’s money went to an escrow and when they went to Warner Bros after they left Apple, which was also financially messed up, looked for the money, it was gone.

The brimstone brew that was dealt to Badfinger was more than enough to launch anyone into a tirade.  Pete Ham didn’t know how to carry on in a band that was wrought with financial problems, especially while he had a new child on the way, so he ended up taking his own life in 1975.  Tom Evans was trying to keep his band and career afloat, while burdened by the death of his friend and his ongoing fights over royalties, ended up killing himself in 1983.  Drummer Mike Gibbins died of unknown causes at age 56 at his Oviedo, Florida, home on Oct. 4, 2005.  Joey Molland is the last surviving member from Badfinger.

The song ‘Day After Day’ was as simple and uncomplicated as it was melodic, and the band’s execution made it was nearly perfect.  It was their biggest hit but deserved more recognition than it received, even considering it rose to #4 on the American charts and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (for 4 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10).  ‘Day After Day’ reached #2 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart.  This song was the group’s third of three straight records to make the Top 10; starting with ‘Come and Get It’ (#7), ‘No Matter What’ (#8), and finally ‘Day After Day’ which was their last Top 10 record.  Another song ‘Baby Blue’ reached number 14 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.  In 1979, they released a comeback album, Airwaves, featuring the single ‘Love is Gonna Come at Last’ which reached No. 69 on the Billboard chart.  In 1981, Badfinger released their second post-Ham album, Say No More with the single, ‘Hold On’, that reached number 56 on the Billboard charts.  Badfinger suffered an incredibly sad ending, but their scintillating music lives on.  Badfinger’s beautiful songs are still a valid demonstrator of peace, love, kindness and understanding.

George Harrison produced ‘Day After Day’ for Badfinger and he played guitar on it.  Leon Russell played the piano part in the studio version.  The year before this song came out, Peter Ham and Tom Evans from Badfinger played on Harrison’s first solo album, All Things Must Pass.  George 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.

This song might be about a guy who found out that his girlfriend was pregnant.  Most likely she was very young and perhaps she had to go away to have the baby, so it would not shame her family.  He misses her, he can’t get his mind off of her and when the baby is conceived, he wants her to bring it home and make it soon.  Since she has gone away he feels her tears while he is looking out of his lonely gloom.  He wants her to come back, but all he can do is give her his love while she is away.

I remember finding out about you
Every day, my mind is all around you
Looking out from my lonely room, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you

I remember holding you while you sleep
Every day, I feel the tears that you weep
Looking out of my lonely gloom, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you

Looking out of my lonely room, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you

I remember finding out about you
Every day, my mind is all around you
Looking out of my lonely gloom, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you.

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Tirade, for FOWC with Fandango – Traffic, for October Writing Prompts – Brimstone brew, for Ragtag Community – Comeback, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Demonstrator and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Scintillating.

12 thoughts on “Which Finger

  1. I loved Badfinger’s songs and always thought the band had the potential to become the “next” Beatles. But I had no idea about their tragic story and the suicides. Such a shame. Thanks for sharing this, Jim. It’s sad but, at the same time, fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know that James Taylor felt suicidal and he checked himself into McLean Hospital at the age of 17, he did a lot of drugs and was known to pass out on park benches and he also recorded for Apple Records, but I am not aware of his business problems.

      Liked by 1 person

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