From the Vault...



© Apple Records

Year of Release: 1973

track listing
  • Apple Of My Eye
  • Get Away
  • Icicles
  • The Winner
  • Blind Owl
  • Constitution
  • When I Say
  • Cowboy
  • I Can Love You
  • Timeless
  • Do You Mind

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    It was truly a shame of what happened to the band Badfinger. Having signed to the Beatles' Apple label, the comparisons of this band to the fab four kept gradually increasing, as the band was complaining of this comparison. Their 1973 release, Ass, would be the band's last release for Apple, and would also be the last with the original lineup.

    From their Wiki site: "Badfinger's fourth and last album for Apple, Ass, had begun as far back as early 1972 and would continue at five recording studios over the next year. (Todd) Rundgren, who was originally hired to produce, quit in a financial dispute during the first week; the band then produced itself, but Apple rejected that version of the album. Finally, Badfinger hired Chris Thomas to co-produce and complete the album. During the recording of Ass, (Stan) Polley negotiated a deal with Warner Brothers Records that required an album from the group every six months over a three year period. The group signed the deal, despite a highly suspicious (Tom) Evans, and the Ass front cover featured his idea, a jackass observing a huge carrot being dangled (a metaphor of the band being enticed by the big money Warner Brothers contract). The Ass release was held up further by Apple because of legal wrangling, as Polley had used the leverage of Molland's unsigned song publishing as a negotiating ploy. Apple listed the writers on the LP as "Badfinger" to try and cover up discrepancies and get the LP to the market. But both Ass and its accompanying single, "Apple of My Eye", failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100."

    Talk about pressure -- this was getting to the band, knowing that a contract with a new record label meant that new material must have been available every six months, and being compared to the Beatles. Bandmember Tom Evans obviously was suspicious, as the album cover depicts them as being "puppets" so-to-speak, to what was being thrown at them. The future looked grim, and in the end, resulted in suicides for the two main members. The band's business arrangements went bad, bandmember Pete Ham committed suicide, by hanging himself in 1975. Ham blamed Stan Polley for the business deals. Badfinger became no more, but later reunited in 1979 with the album Airwaves. Another album, Say No More was released in 1981. Another bad management deal in 1982 resulted, and in 1983, Tom Evans and another bandmate debated in an argument over past Badfinger royalties. Afterwards, (like Pete Ham), Evans hanged himself.

    Their album Ass had it's moments. Most of the songs do resemble the music of the Beatles, especially Paul McCartney. The album's single, "Apple Of My Eye" sounds very McCartney-ish, from Paul's early solo works. "Get Away" has McCartney's Wings sound. Todd Rundgren's produced "The Winner" is a good rocking tune. "Constitution" definitely rocks, being the hardest sounding song from the album, as it has its comparisons to the early Led Zeppelin, and a slight resemblance to the Beatles' "Helter Skelter." "When I Say" is a nice ballad, as it keeps in line with the other McCartney sounding songs.

    But the rest of the songs tend to lead in a less-than-entertaining direction. Not that they're really bad, maybe Badfinger was trying to get out of the Beatles' sound mold. In the case of the following three songs, "Icicles," "Blind Owl" and "I Can Love You," these songs are just "ok." "Cowboy" is far different, having a Country sound. The extensive track "Timeless" has a slow, progressive soundng style, somewhat eerie towards its end. There is a bonus track on the CD, the unreleased "Do You Mind." This song has another Beatle comparison, that to the likes of George Harrison.

    As a whole, the Beatle comparing songs on Ass are the highlights. Despite being heavily referenced as "the next Beatles," none of the songs from this album were not remembered, as compared to their other great hits as "Come And Get It" (which was written by Paul McCartney), "Day After Day" and "No Matter What." The future turned out grim, bad deals, and two suicides were the end results. The band continued on, after both suicides, albums were released, but Badfinger's music will always be remembered by the songs penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans. They could have been the next John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They could have been the next Beatles. This comparison would be the same for another band that would surface in the late 1970s, the Knack. This band's prominent songwriter was the lead singer, Doug Fieger. Luckily for the Knack, this comparison of the Beatles came and went after their first album, and also, the Knack's career didn't go bad as Badfinger's did. However, Doug Fieger recently passed away in February, 2010 from cancer.

    Again, Ass has its moments. The album title surely was a surprise; it just proved that the future of Badfinger's career was in question. Sad to say, the original Badfinger will always be compared to the Beatles, and no band should have that emotional toll on them. It's great for any band to be compared to them, but there will never be another Beatles, and there will never be another Badfinger, as they were best known for.

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    Previous Review: #1214
    Glen Campbell--Wichita Lineman
    Next Review: #1216
    Osmond Brothers--Greatest Hits