The most productive and successful group contracted to Apple, Badfinger occasionally even scaled the same dizzy heights as their benefactors. Signed in 1968 as The Iveys, they were renamed after “Badfinger Boogie”, the working title for “With A Little Help From My Friends”. Most prophetic, since the association with their mentors ran deep: Badfinger played on Ringo’s It Don’t Come Easy, the Imagine LP and George’s All Things Must Pass, plus back-up duties for Concert For Bangladesh. McCartney jump-started their career, though, handing them a surefire hit in “Come And Get It” for Magic Christian Music. It honed their sound and helped define a whole sub-genre, namely power-pop?ascending melodies, contagious hooks and signature Beatle-esque harmonies.
The first two albums (1969 and 1970) were piecemeal affairs but by No Dice (also 1970) they hit their stride, including further power-pop perfection “No Matter What” and the wondrous “Without You”, later bettered by Nilsson.
Straight Up (1971) benefited from two-handed guidance?first George Harrison and then, after he was sidelined by the Bangladesh affair, Todd Rundgren, who got to live out the full Beatles fantasy. Tom Evans, Joey Molland and Pete Ham crafted 12 equally pleasure-drooling songs and then seemingly set Abbey Road as the benchmark for execution and production. And hit the mark they did?notably Ham’s “Day After Day”, with George’s trademark slide guitar intro, and “Baby Blue”, resplendent with ringing chords and a middle-eight worthy of Rubber Soul. It was the best album The Beatles never made. The extras on this and No Dice include seven rejected recordings, among them the segued tracks “Money/Flying”, with discarded George Martin-arranged strings.