One song launched Badfinger, and its unlikely reunion: ‘We were sort of talked into it’

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“Come and Get It” proved to be a pivotal song not once, but twice, for Badfinger.

Signed by Apple, Badfinger’s name initially come with the Beatles’ stamp of approval, having been derived from the working title for John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “With a Little Help From My Friends” — dubbed “Bad Finger Boogie,” because Lennon played the demo with an injured hand. “Come and Get It,” released as Badfinger’s debut single in the U.S. on January 12, 1970, was then penned by Paul McCartney and included on the soundtrack for a major motion picture starring McCartney’s Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr.

Of course, the star-crossed Badfinger, history tells us, was unfortunately riven by awful mismanagement, internal struggles and a series of tragic deaths. Through it all, however, “Come and Get It” remained a bright spot.

The original, sung by the late Tom Evans, shot to into the Top 10 both in America and the UK, launching their careers. Evans then returned for a 1978 update for K-Tel Records, which sparked talk of a long-hoped-for reunion in the wake of Pete Ham’s awful suicide a few years earlier. Classic-era guitarist Joey Molland participated in the new remake, having initially joined just after the 1970-era take on “Come and Get It” was released.

A spark remained. Ultimately, he and Tom Evans returned for Badfinger’s 1979 release Airwaves, which gave a whole new generation an opportunity to experience their power-pop joys. Molland, however, says they didn’t start out with the intent of rekindling those halcyon days of youth.

“We didn’t actually plan on putting the band back together,” Joey Molland tells us in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “Tom was in London, and I was in Los Angeles. I met a couple of guys, and we started playing together. We were looking for a bass player and I thought about Tommy — but not to be put Badfinger back together. Just to play. He flew out and we started writing and playing songs. We thought we ought to try to get a record deal, but we didn’t really have a name. Then somebody suggested we call the band Badfinger. When we sang together, it sounded like Badfinger. Tommy’s voice was so distinctive; you couldn’t get that anywhere else. We were sort of talked into it.”

Airwaves was followed by 1981’s Say No More, before Tom Evans’ untimely death a couple of years later. Badfinger drummer Mike Gibbins died of a brain aneurysm in 2005, leaving Joey Molland as the lone surviving member from their hitmaking period.

He will celebrate the 45th anniversary of “Come and Get It,” which was bookended later in 1970 by the November release of a second Top 10 U.S. hit in “No Matter What,” with a series of live shows throughout this year — highlighted by a co-headlining slot this summer at International BeatleWeek in his hometown of Liverpool, England.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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