Badfinger’s ‘No Matter What’ didn’t always have that crazy-cool solo

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Eventually a No. 8 smash, “No Matter What” endured the kind of difficult journey that now seems sadly familiar in the Badfinger narrative: No one at the UK offices of the Beatles’ Apple Records imprint wanted to release this song — which went through several incarnations before becoming one of the very first power-pop hits.

“I listened to the tune meself recently,” Badfinger guitarist Joey Molland tells us, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “I like the way the band sings; it’s such a loose harmony — not perfect fifths or thirds. It’s a melody harmony. I really enjoyed that. We all had an instant sense about that, and that was something different from many bands of the day.”

Still, it took a few iterations of the track, which ultimately would include a fizzy false ending, and a huge push from an label representative from the states, before Badfinger’s “No Matter What” found its way to your local record shop via No Dice, released on Nov. 9, 1970.

Molland talks about the song’s mememorable conclusion — and how a slide solo found its way onto the final master: “We just kind of arranged it in studio. [Late Badfinger singer-songwriter] Pete [Ham] had the song, and it was a good one. We just worked it out in a studio. Mal Evans was the producer and Geoff Emerick engineered. I think we took about an hour or two hours to do the record. We worked out those little guitar lines, and then the harmonies.”

Then came a moment of last-second inspiration. “I originally had a different guitar solo, one that kind of slurred the strings,” Joey Molland adds. “But we were at Abbey Road mixing the song, and there was a lap steel. I got that out and started playing along with the backing track. Everybody said: ‘Why don’t we put that on there?’ That’s how it became a slide guitar solo.”

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, 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 nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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