It's been a long time since England gave anything really good to Badfinger. OK there were some hit singles and the aura spinning off their connection with Apple and the Beatles, but America, and to a certain extent Mr. Harry Nillson, had to take care of the rest. So when the group's Without You was named best song and international hit of the year in the Ivor Novello Awards, it was fitting recognition back here in Blighty. But it's more than just that. Right now Badfin'ger are in "limbo". They readily admit it. Looming over them at the moment is their split with Apple which goes through in July. Then they switch to Warners and hopefully a new iden- tity. I caught up with them this week laying the finishing touches to the fourth album at Olympic studios in London. At least they were supposed to be there but we finally met-up in the boozer. When they had got over the shock of sombody actually coming to interview them, we soon started rapping about the split and the awards. "We're really pleased about that," says Pete.Tom chimes in:"Does it mean we get to appear on television?" And there's an ironic ring to his question because really the band has been so successful in the States yet lack of attantion over here. Manager Bill Collins puts his finger on it when he says:"Nobody in Englans really knows where Badffnger are at."We are not really a commercial band, yet there has been commercial success. It's all very confusing for the Iisteners."
So the lvor Novello Awards, for a song which became a world-wide number one hit, only further underlines the spectrum of talent within the band It reminds everyone that Badfinger ARE a major songwriting talent. "Day After Day" was a longtime back now that old tie with Apple and inevitably the "Beatles Friends" tag,is coming to a close, and possible the new deal with Warners will establish a sharper identity. Pete admits things got confused when Nillson sang a song he thought was written by the Beatles and then the word got around it was Badfinger. It was as ort of songwriters Who Do You Do situation.
Treatment"But really it showed us what could be done with a song," says Pete. "It's nothing like pur own cut on the second album.I mean, to us our version seems real and Us.But Harry took the song, gave it the treatment, and got it to so many people." Remember more than one artist recorded it, including Andy Williams. Tom and Pete, that is Tom Evans from Liverpool and Pete Ham from Swansea,completely cowrote Without You in a collaboration almost equally split by chorus and verses. But as we wandered back to the studio for reduction work on the tapes Tom explained that everyone was now doing his own songwriting thing. The subject ot the group's split from Apple cropped up. "We felt we had to go." said Pete. Tha company had been really good to us and everybody helped us a lot, but we felt it was time to become a seperate entity.It was an annoying thing, everyone associating us with the Baetles.In America we started out as the band the Beatles dug.But we really are greatful for the help being involved with the Beatles save us." "It's just that thing 'if the Beatles dig 'em they must be all right' that bugs.Sure we did a lot with them.Bangla Desh was really something and playing on George's album." They palyed on "My Sweet Lord" too."Maybe because of the feel we had for playing along accoustically.Maybe it's difficult for session men to get into it like that.But we are not session men.There are a few people in the business who know what we have to offer." The americans surely do.Their last album came close to gold in the States. "But we are a little worried about not getting to English audiences,"Pete adds "the problem with constantly working in America is that you start being American.We want to set back to that Earthy British feel." He says each member of the band, half Liverpool and half Swansea with Joey Molland(L'pool) and Mike Gibbons(Swansea) making up four, will get into seperate things in the future.Then there's the new deal with Warners."It's right for us to go.It's a risk for us.We could always fall back on the Apple thing in the past.Now were on our own.Maybe that's what we need."
By now were sitting in the reduction room at Olympic,Spam sandwiches and making rounds of Southern Comfort was on the way.We kept getting flashes from the first track on the newie and you soon sessed what it's all about."Now the time has come to part and You're the apple of my eye but I must leave you." Mike's sitting there grinning and digging it." It gets better and better" he says. Then there's Joe whose face attitude, and voice seems to sum up all that was good in the Liverpool boom. Joey wrote a lot of the songs on the new album and as we listen to through, he nods with approval. There's a big range. From the melodic and sensitively performed work to driving rock and even a little country blues with slide guitar and some realy nice stuff from Pete whose playing is really good. Aside fromo the album, plying in England is the only other achievement that could set them alight again.There could be a single out out but Joey admits:"I hate to be the one to choose it." So could they be going on the road again in England?"Probably not until autumn," says Tom. "I've been on the road in England for 12 years and it's only the past couple of years we've been touring a lot in the States.But when we play here we get little response.It's just play the hits and that's it.Yet, because our albums are so successful in America people really want to hear all our songs when we tour"