How I Became A Badfinger Fan

Valhalla 1 - 3rd Edition
As I have always enjoyed reading about people's opinions about music and their first experiences with their favourite groups, I have decided to write about my favourite group and how I became involved with their music.

I must admit that I have only been a real Badfinger fan for about 6 years. As I'm 43 years old now, you might wonder why it all started so late - long after the group folded. I guess there are several reasons for this, but I think I'll start with telling about my relation to music in general.

I have always enjoyed music and singing a lot, but there is no doubt that my real passion for pop/rock music started with The Beatles around 1965. I remember me and a friend saving up to buy 'Yesterday' and that we had it a week at a time. In the beginning there was only The Beatles, but other groups soon followed - Dylan, Byrds and Traffic were among my favourites in the late sixties. Ever since I began to earn my own money, I have been a collector of music, and if I really liked a band, I have always tried to find everything they recorded.

In about 1970 when Badfinger arrived on the pop/rock scene I had become somewhat tired of The Beatles and their sixties sound, and I was more into what was regarded as more progressive music at that time. Procol Harum and Fairport Convention were the big names for me, and I saw both bands live several times. I remember hearing "Come and Get it" on the radio - I even remember liking it, but it was not the kind music you got into - it was too commercial - too much like The Beatles. I also remember hearing "No Matter What" and "Day After Day" on radio - I liked both songs but never thought buying a Badfinger record.

About 1974 I borrowed a copy of "Ass" at our local library, and I remember that I was surprised to hear that only one track reminded me of what I regarded as a real Badfinger song - I guess it must have been "Apple of My Eye" - but I'm not sure. Anyway, the record did not change my view on the group, and I kind of forgot about them. The next time I was confronted with their name was when reading about Pete Ham's suicide in Melody Maker, which I subscribed from England at the time. I remember feeling sad about this and wondering whether he was one of the important members in the group, but I soon forgot about them again.

Some time around 1980 I got hold of a second-hand copy of Magic Christian Music, and I did play it several times. I liked "Come and Get it" and also the melody in "Walk Out in The Rain" but I did not particularly like the arrangement. My impression of the album as a whole was that it was a bit too vague and fresh for my taste, and some years later I sold it at a second-hand records convention.

Nothing happened in my Badfinger story until late 1992 when I read a short article in an English magazine Magpie about Apple reissues. Somehow that article made me curious about Badfinger again. I remembered that I had had an old Badfinger-single down in my basement which I possibly never had cared to listen to. ( I often bought smaller single collections at that time exchanging what I did not like to things for my collection. Luckily it was still there - an old scratchy copy of "Baby Blue" bw "Flying". I had to play it again and again - I could not believe how good that song was. Still today Baby Blue is something special to me, and when I present Badfinger to people who do not know the band, that's usually the tune I begin with.

Of course I qucikly filled out the the order sheet to Magpie Direct Music and ordered "Magic Christian Music", "No Dice" , "Shine On" and "Maybe Tomorrow". Only the first 3 titles were available in vinyl, so I had to accept to get the last one on CD - at that time I still believed in the old vinyl-records. Knowing that there would be 4 or 5 weeks before I received my records, I began to look out for Badfinger music here in Denmark. I imagined that it would not be that difficult to find second-hand copies of their LP's - it seemed to me that I had often seen them at markets and second-hand stores. The first one I got hold of was "No Dice" - and what a find! So many strong tunes . Of course I knew No Matter What and Without You , but songs like Midnight Caller, We're For The Dark and Bloodwyn really convinced me - I was a fan! I began to look for credits for the songs - no doubt Pete Ham was my favourite, but the others were good too.

Within the next 3 weeks I had got hold of their most common singles: Come and Get it, No Matter What(2 differents), Day After Day and Baby Blue. I have never seen any of the later singles - so I guess they must be extremely rare here in Denmark. I also found a second-hand copy of Badfinger, and though I felt it had a different atmosphere from No Diceî I was not disappointed. Lonely You is classical - Shine On, Where Do We Go From Here, My Heart Goes Out and the more edgy songs Give it Up, Island - this was really not just a pop-singles band - this was an albums-rock-band. I found the CD-compilation Best of Badfinger Vol 2 shortly afterwards during a visit to Aarhus - the biggest city next to Copenhagen. It was very exciting to read the notes, as I knew only little about the bandÍs history and album releases. It was sad to learn how tragically their story had developed, but it was a comfort to have so much new Badfinger music. No weak tracks at all. Ever since hearing the 4 Head First tracks I have been impatiently waiting to hear the rest of that album and hoping that it will be officially released.

Finally my order from England arrived - I was really exited. Unfortunately the parcel contained on one item - Magic Christian Music . No Dice, Shine On and Maybe Tomorrow were currently out of stock, but would be despatched to me as soon as possible. Magic Christian Music was made into a double album with one LP containing the original album and the other the 2 bonus-tracks ( played on 45) - I think I would have preferred a single album to this! About the music - Well I guess it was what I'd expected from what I remembered from my first copy. Come and Get and Walk Out in the Rain were outstanding - but also Crimson Ship, Midnight Sun and Beautiful and Blue made it a solid album - though nowhere near No Dice. About 3 weeks later a new parcel arrived, this time containing No Dice and Shine On. No Dice I already knew, so I was more exited about hearing the 5 bonus-tracks. I liked them all, though I'll Be the One was a clear number one. Shine On is a good compilation of the 2 Warner albums, but to me only Dennis was new. The sleeve notes mentions After the Pearl as the last Badfinger album, so for some time I believed it was. From then things went fast. Badfinger were my favourites. I soon received Maybe Tomorrow - a disappointment I must admit , I have never come to really like that album. I found a second-hand copy of Say No More - Too Hung Up On You is really great. By the end of 1993 I had collected all the original albums. Wish You Were Here, Ass and Airwaves second-hand, and Straight Up in the LP version reissue - I think this one must be pretty rare. About Straight Up I have to mention that most of the 6 bonus tracks are superior to their original LP-versions - especially Name of The Game, Perfection and Baby Blue.

During the next couple of years nothing new really happened. Of course I waited for Ass to be reissued with a lot of bonus-tracks - but if nothing new is going on you slowly lose interest. I had no knowledge of what was going on on the internet.

It was not until Easter 1997 that my second Badfingerperiod began. I was on a short holiday to London with some friends, and of course I visited many of the biggest recordstores. I did know if ñAssî had been reissued, so I checked out Badfinger the HMV-musicstore - I found it had, but I did not buy it at first because I hoped to find it on vinylrecord - also I was a bit disappointed to see I had only one bonus-track. Instead I discovered The Pete Ham CD 7 Park Avenue. I had not heard anything about , but I took the chance and bought it. Later on the same trip I did find Ass on vinyl . When I returned from London I was of course excited to hear my new buys. I Don't Mind - the bonus-track on ñAssî was a very positive surprise. I had hoped for some new Pete Ham tracks, but this new Molland-tune was okay. I did not know what to expect from 7 Park Avenue, but I hoped it would be like Badfinger. Right from the first track my attension was attracted - ñCatherine Caresî did have the Badfinger-sound. My first favourite was Doesn't Really Matter and Hand in Hand, but I must admit it took me some weeks to realize just how strong an album this was. It is just so full of classicals and potential hits. The stories behind these songs make the impression they give you even stronger.

It was about this time I gained access to the internet, and discovered all the Badfinger-pages. I took some time to distinguish them from each other - but I noticed that Brando's and Sean's were among the best - I found The Official Badfinger Page somewhat uninspired. I also found an add for Dan Matovina's Badfinger biography, and some time around june 97 I ordered it from America, hoping I would among the lucky 1000 to get the bonus-CD.

I began to read all that I could find about the group on the different internetpages. I learned a lot about the group's history during the last months of 97. I also noticed from the Badfinger pages that there seemed to be different fractions and opinions about the group, its members and the many people around them. I was very impatient about receiving the book so I could find out more about what this was all about. Unfortunately the book was delayed several times, but it was a great comfort to receive personal letters from Dan Matovina explaining about hte book's delay.

By Christmas I had bought all Badfinger albums on CD - also the 2 live albums, though I never was a big fan of live-albums. I think the sound on Day After Day is better, but the BBC-recordings are the most interesting because they're without overdubs.

Early January 1998 I finally received my copy of Without You - The Tragic Story of Badfinger - with the bounus-CD! And it was really worth waiting for. I think the book is extremely well-written and well researced - I know that some important people around the band have refused to contribute and give interviews - but won't it always be so? And if the don't like the way things have been described, it is to a certain degree their own fault. I really hope that The Mollands will publish their version of the band's story; because there will always be different views on what happened. In this case I think it must really be in their interest to explain things. How could the accept to receive the ASCAP reward for Without You - for instance? About the CD: I think I Won't Forget You is a classic, and that Just How Lucky We Are is an outstanding song - superior to the version on 7 Park Avenue - the rest is okay but mostly of historical interest.

My most recent buys are the 2 Golddisc versions of No Dice and Straight Up - I think they're worth it, though you have to listen very carefully to discover them from the original CD-reissues. And the most recent addition to my Badfinger collection is the Japanese version of 7 Park Avenue. I downloaded Come, Come Tomorrow from Darren English's Badfinger Radio, and from the first chorus I knew I had to get hold of the whole CD. My favourite track now is The Heart That Can't Be Understood, but all 3 "new" songs are good - I hope someday they can be released in a better soundquality. About the future: I hope Dan, Sean, Brando and all the other Badfingerenthusiasts will keep the pot boiling, so we can come to hear more of our favourite music. I can't wait for Golders Green ( 7 Park vol 2 ), Head First, The Airwaves/Say No More - Outtakes, The Complete Badfinger Apple Years Boxset, Airwaves/Say No More on CD, Over You reissue, The Warner Badfinger Box - including the Complete Head First Recordings, The Badfinger Movie etc. etc. etc.

Meanwhile I try to keep up to date about what is happening, by regularly checking my favourite Badfinger-pages. I use every opportunity to play the band's music to friends and family, and I hope in this way to help supporting their music to gain the recognition and appreciation it deserves.

Autumn 1998

Morten Vindberg, Lærkevej 32 Kølvrå, 7470 Karup J Danmark, 0045 97102414


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