Arts & Culture
4:00 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Mentored by The Beatles, Badfinger's Joey Molland Plays On

 

The British band Badfinger won fans in the early '70s with hits such as "Baby Blue", "Day After Day", and "Come and Get It." The last remaining member of the band, Joey Molland (at right) continues to perform under the Badfinger mantle.
Credit Apple Records publicity photo

Once upon a time, the rock group Badfinger was seen as the heirs apparent to the Beatles.  

And there were good reasons – two of the group’s members were from Liverpool, they were signed to the Beatles’ own label, Apple Records, and their first hit song, “Come and Get It” was written by none other than Paul McCartney.

Joey Molland, one of the group's original guitarists and songwriters, looks back fondly on the days they had the Beatles' ear, even as the Fab Four was breaking up.  He says George Harrison, in particular, paid significant attention to Badfinger.

"He was a very open kind of person," Molland says, "very helpful.  He gave himself when he was working with you, and he didn't hold anything back. He gave you the benefit of his experience and the knowledge he had."  

Badfinger eventually returned the effort, performing with Harrison in his "Concert For Bangladesh" after the Beatles broke up.

But as in life, nothing in rock and roll is a certainty. And despite lots of promise and several hits, by the mid ‘70s, the business end of the music industry had driven a wedge between members Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans and Joey Molland.  Ham committed suicide in 1975.  And Molland had left the group by the ‘80s, when a disastrous effort to reinvigorate the band in Milwaukee eventually led to Evans’s suicide as well.

With Gibbins dying of natural causes in 2005, Molland is the last of the original Badfinger lineup still around and performing. 

But since the Badfinger song “Baby Blue” figured heavily in the finale of the series, “Breaking Bad,” interest in the group has rekindled. And a Joey Molland-led Badfinger will play at Turner Hall this evening.