Badfinger - Beating a Bad Image
New Musical Express, June 3, 1972
By Tony Norman

What mental image do you think people have of Badfinger in this country?

A teenybop image. The last time we played here we were doing that. We´ve done some long tours
of the States since then. We are more relaxed on stage now; and the whole thing is much more
natureal. We´re not trying to push anything over. But when you come to play in England again

It´s like a fight, isn´t it? Audiences are very prejudiced in England. They are very hip to one scene, and
if they don´t include you in that, then it´s a bit of a battle to get through the door to them.

How has playing in America helped the band?

Well, when we first went over , we had this teeny-bopper hang-up, you know. We thought that
because - because they´d bought our album over there, they were going to expect us to be heavy.
But we just went out and played the songs from the first album ( No Dice ) and a lot of people
liked it. After that we thought. let´s just be ourselves. We don´t need anything else; we don´t need to
change. It was us a lot of confidence in ourselves and our music.

The teeny-bop thing in England really started with Come And Get It, I suppose?

Yes. We thought that single was a good break because it would give us an opportunity just to be
ourselves. But it was hard to do that in England at that time. We found ourselves getting the teeny-bop
tag and we never really wanted it.

The single helped to take the group out of the 3 pounds a week scene we were having at that time.
Things had been rough, and we thought we would have a chance to concentrate on our songwriting;
to be really serious about our work as writers. Now we´re just trying to get through to
people. We´re not another Love Affair. We are definitely not that kind of a group.

I suppose a lot of that early adverse publicity camer from the fact that you were thought of yet another
group from The Beatles´ company Apple.

Yes. The New Beatles and all that stuff, which they tried with The Grapefruit, who completely failed.
People thought, “Oh, here comes another of those groups.” At that time there were a lot of teeny-
bop groups and the classifications were getting more definite; more solid. You were either underground
or pop . . we were marked down as a pop group.

But all alongyou´ve thought you should just be judged on whether your music is good or bad?

That´s right. Let´s face it. progressive rock isn´t progressive any more. Ninety per cent of it is rubbish.
Well, I think it is, and my opinion is as good as any one else´s.
I think, as a group, it´s more progressive to work the way we do. That is, to give everyone complete
freedom in all the playing and songwriting. I think that´s more progressive than Black Sabbath
doing a haevy guitar riff and doing a diminished note.

When the first album came out, people went further than merely saying you sounded like The Beatles.
They even picked the album yours was like “Rubber Soul”. Do you think those comparisons
were valid?

At he time we were very influenced by The Beatles, and we accepted what people said. But all of a
sudden they really clamped hard on it. Like that was all they talked about. But it wasn´t a thought-
out thing. We didn´t say, let´s try and sound liuke The Beatles. That was just the way it came
out. We were heavily influenced by them and that was part of our own progression.

You were at Apple for about a year before the first Badfinger record was released, weren´t you. What
was that period like?

Yes, they vetted every release. It was difficult, because you had to be accepted by their standards
and we weren´t that good. We weren´t in the bag of four different people, as every one now
knows they are. Like McCartney would like a certain thing and Lennon wouldn´t. It was like that.
It must have been a weird time for them. They got all these groups and people to promote and one
would be interested and one wouldn´t. But all that doesn´t really matter. The main thing was that we
had to please to get a record released. That was a good thing because they wanted a record
company that would be fairly well respected.

Did they give you enough freedom to express your own ideas?

Oh yes, they gave us a lot of freedom.
Only once we were told, do it this way and you´ll be all right. That was with Come And Get It.
McCartney had it all ready and then he told us what to do and said we´d get a hit. It was an obvious
catch thing. That was okay, because like we said, by that time we needed a hit.
But after that we started doing some work on the Magic Christian film. We saw some sequences
and got into writing songs for it. McCartney was really free then. He just let us do what we wanted
to do. We´d play him a song and he´d say, yeah, it´s good, I like it.
Then he would just produce it, maybe adding a few ideas. He was very free in his approach.

I seem to remember Badfinger being like the court jesters of Apple. The people in the company always
seemed to refer to you as, “A nice bunch of lads”.

Well, some of those people had been in the business 10 years. We must have seemed like naive
kids to them.

Did you ever feel it was a condescending attitude? That was the way I saw it.

Yes, it was like that. It still flows over now, basically. It´s still there. It´s come from the business
side now, from the top. They say, “Oh, they´re making money now. Good lads. Get them in the

Apple must have been a pretty weird place to be a that time. It always seemed to be full of weird
abd wonderful people.

You´d never feel really comfortable. I never did when we went in there. It was like that from my first
day until Apple sort of disintegrated and this new place opened up. I like it a lot more now. The
bigness of it has gone. They´re just trying to be a good record company now. They seem to be getting
it together really well.

Of course The Beatles have split now and they´re all working in different areas. How does that affect you?

It doesn´t affect us at all, except that we´ve worked with a couple of them. We´ve worked with George
and done a couple of things with John. But that´s the only effect. We´ve done their individual
Apple is our recording company and at the moment we´re happy with them. We might not be next
year, but now we are. That´s our contact with Apple. That´s as far as it goes. Of course we´ve got
a lot of friends there. We used to be there every day.

Summing up that Apple period, what were the good things that came out of it for the group?

It brought us closer together, because we were involved with a lot of people we couldn´t really get
through to most of the time. Like the “They´re nice guys these.” That sort of thing. We just had to stick

So moving right up to today, you must be very happy about the acceptance you are getting as

Yes that´s a big thing for us. The way we´ve been accepted as a live group in America is good too.

Which artists recorded your songs?

Well, Nilsson did “Without You”. Tim Rose, I think . . .

Tim Hardin´s done “Perfection” and “Midnight Caller”. The Lettermen have done “Day After Day”. So
has Andy Williams.

What? Andy Williams?

Yeah, he had to do it ( laughter ). But all those things are really good. Jonathan King physically asked
for one our songs.

How did you get involved with Nilsson? Did you know him before?

No, we were just in the studios one night, and this guy came in. We didn´t know him from Adam. He
asked if we were Badfinger and introduced himself. He played us some tracks from hi album and one
of them was “Without You”, He sais. “Everyone I´ve played that to, says it´s a single.”
So he put it out which was nice. Then it was a big hit which was even better! What can you say?
Far out man . . . Far in ( Laughter!)

So really, that acceptance as songwriters and performers in the States has helped the band to mature
and given you a lot of experience . .

Yes. I think that now we can play to anybody in this country. Whatever they think of us, we can go
out there and do a good show. Just play our songs and hope they like them. We´re not trying
to hype anybody. We´re not trying to con them into thinking we´re super heavy or anything. We´re
just doing what we do and having a bit of a laugh. We´re not a comedy group. We´re not a big
stage act group. We´re not a heavy group. We just do our own show and it´s all right. We play good.
We don´t play bad music. So if they can dig it, it´s fine. We just want to play in England now
and get them to see that. We want to get over that wall which was set up so long ago.

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