Monday, September 20, 2010

The way the story goes

We ran across an old video clip of Badfinger performing "No Matter What" the other day and realized it was the first time we were watching Pete Ham perform.  At least that we can remember.  More than likely we caught the band performing on The Midnight Special or some other TV program. (Memories, you will all discover, can be selectively confounding.)

Ham's tragic death was covered here on his birthday anniversary back in April.  There's no reason to bring it up again today other than: Damn, we miss that guy, and that sound.  We had heard "No Matter What" again the other day on the radio and then we found the video.  Paste this link in a new window and continue:

This was circa 1971.  The band here was hardly polished, having recently changed its name from The Iveys after signing with the Apple label.  It's just two guitars, bass, and a drum kit -- the standard rock band setup -- but there is something about the sound they generate.

Ham had not been happy when Badfinger's first assignment was to record Paul McCartney's "Come and Get It." But "No Matter What" is Ham's song, and it charted well enough (No. 8 U.S., No. 5 UK) to validate him as a songwriter and band leader.  There were others, as we mentioned in that previous post, but none so grand as "Without You," a song of lost love and deep pain that Ham and bandmate Tom Evans pieced together from separate songs. Harry Nilsson had a No. 1 with "Without You," but there is nothing wrong with the Badfinger original that appeared on their album No Dice.

Well I can't forget this evening
And your face when you were leaving
But I guess that's just the way the story goes
You always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes it shows

Well, I can't forget tomorrow
When I think of all my sorrow
I had you there, but then I let you go
And now it's only fair that I should let you know
What you should know

I can't live if living is without you
I can't live I can't give anymore
I can't live if living is without you
I can't live I can't give anymore

Sad. So very sad.


  1. All sorts of rock bands have had all sorts or pain and tragedy visited upon them, but there's never been a band with as much hard luck as Badfinger.

  2. Their guitar sound was a thing of beauty and it sounds to me like they were a big influence on Big Star, and therefore on countless bands that followed.

  3. Sad so sad....I agree.
    "Without you" is a great song by Badfinger. Many a song can reflect on ones feelings, it can either make them happy or sad. That is the beauty and uniqueness of music.