Pete Ham And Tom Evans’ Tragic End Brought By Badfinger
In the ’60s, the UK rock and roll scene was experiencing one of its golden ages. The Beatles redefined the spirit of an entire era, gaining a massive audience for rock and roll. Many groups followed them and jumped onto the music scene with big dreams, one of which was Badfinger.
The four rockers, initially united under the name the Iveys, were doing many covers, especially of psychedelia and blues sounds, while Beatles songs were also in their repertoire. They were all very talented. Bill Collins had started managing them and promised to work hard for them with ‘blood, sweat, and tears.’ Before long, they began to attract the attention of record labels with the support of Collins.
At Collins’ invitation, Beatles roadie/assistant Mal Evans would come to listen to them live and bring the Iveys into the Beatles’ orbit. After listening to their music, Evans began sending demos of the band to the Beatles members, and shortly afterward, they signed with Apple Records, the newly established record label of the rock icons.
The four youngsters, Pete Ham, Joey Molland, Tom Evans, and Mike Gibbins, quite excited about their music career, seemed to be living a dream. However, they had to find a different stage name that the Beatles would approve of, so they eventually became the Badfingers. The band had a pretty close relationship with the Beatles, as even their name was a reference to a demo John Lennon played with an injured hand.
On the other hand, Paul McCartney was a little more attentive to this band than the other Beatles members. Even though the band was made up of some really talented people, it hadn’t caught its breakthrough yet. They needed a turning point, and right then, McCartney gave them ‘Come And Get It.’
But there was a problem: McCartney was a bit ‘too attentive.’ When the band wanted to add their own variations while recording the song, he wouldn’t allow them. Pete Ham was uneasy about promoting the band with a non-original track, and so was Tom Evans. They were confident in their own music as they were both very good at composition. However, the song was recorded as McCartney intended, and it became a worldwide top ten hit after its release.
Before long, with Pete Ham’s compositional talent, Tom Evans’ musical brilliance, and other band members’ contributions, they proved that they could write good songs on their own as well. After their first breakthrough, they made other original efforts that reached the world’s top ten again. After some really successful songs and a lot of fame, this fairy tale would turn into a story showing the music industry’s dark side.
They were so talented that they were even thought to be the new Beatles and were called ‘The New Fab Four’ because of their ties to the Beatles. Despite producing some incredibly memorable music, Badfinger became remembered in rock history as just a tragic story since two band members committed suicide: Pete Ham and Tom Evans.
While everything was going well, they started having problems with Apple Records. In fact, Apple Records itself wasn’t looking too bright either. They had released many hits together, but due to the issues within Apple, the songs made by the promising band members began to be constantly rejected, never getting a chance to be released. This showed them that they had to leave the Beatles’ shadow. So they switched to Warner Bros.
However, this transition would end their career. After that, their rapid success began to slowly fade. When mismanagement was added to this, the band’s troubles became unbearable. At the time, Stan Polley was managing them, but he wasn’t the right person, and Warner sued Stan Polley for misappropriating financial advances to Badfinger. This affected the band members as well.
After their deal with Apple Records ended, they suddenly found themselves in massive debt and many lawsuits. Even though Badfinger broke off their relationship with Polley immediately, it left a stigma on them because no one wanted to work with a band with such big financial problems. Even Apple deleted Badfinger’s entire back catalog.
That was how the music industry devoured two talented youngsters. First, Pete Ham, unable to bear the injustices and problems they experienced, committed suicide. He was only 27 years old when he died. Although they tried to continue a little after he died, the dark clouds above Badfinger would not dissipate.
After some more financial and legal problems, Tom Evans committed suicide, just like his friend. There is no doubt that this will remain one of the most tragic stories the rock world has ever witnessed, heavily impacted by the music industry’s competitive and ruthless nature.