Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
I owe you all another apology for skipping over another song I was sure I featured already. I think the oversight was because I shared the story of today’s band-Badfinger-on Day 63 when I chose Harry Nilsson’s version of their song, “Without You”. To recap that post, this was a band that saw the highest of highs & the lowest of lows.
The highs? They were the first group to be signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1968. Paul McCartney wrote & produced their first hit record (“Come and Get It”) while George Harrison produced today’s song and played slide guitar on it as well. Nilsson’s hit & today’s track were written by Badfinger’s frontman & lead guitarist, Pete Ham, who remained close with Harrison even after The Beatles broke up. The two musicians played together on Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album & his benefit concerts for Bangladesh in NYC in 1971.
The lows? Not one but two members of this incredible band died by suicide: Ham died three days before his 28th birthday in 1975, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend and a stepson. His bandmate & co-writer of “Without You” Tom Evans, died in 1983 after fighting with another bandmate-Joey Molland-over the royalties of that song, which hit #1 for four straight weeks in 1972. Evans was survived by his wife and son. The band’s trouble with money began after their manager stole all their earnings and left them in financial ruin.
In the end, it was too much for Ham, who was born April 27, 1947 in Wales. We can blame the money issues & perhaps the subsequent legal fallout to the suicides, but a lack of mental stability also contributed to the choices both Ham & Evans made. They convinced themselves that what they lost was far more important than what they created. That is only part of the damage depression can do.
Today’s song is heartbreakingly beautiful & I felt that way before I ever knew the band’s tragic story. It is a song of lost love & betrayal told in a succinct eloquent way. It is highlighted by Harrison’s stunning slide guitar arrangement, Leon Russell’s piano performance and Ham’s sophisticated vocal. His music is often credited as the start of the power pop ballad sound. Whatever category his music falls into, I am just thankful every day that this man & his talent are part of the musical universe.
“I remember holding you
While you sleep
Every day I feel the tears
That you weep“.
Top: George Harrison and Pete Ham in the recording studio circa 1971. Bottom: Badfinger circa 1971 (L-R): Bassist Tom Evans, guitarist Pete Han, drummer Mike Gibbins and guitarist Joey Molland. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)
Badfinger: “Day After Day” (1971, written by Pete Ham).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.