ALL THINGS MUST PASS – 1970
This landmark triple-LP from the ‘quiet’ Beatle broke all kinds of barriers in 1970. And the Badfinger lads were proud to be invited to the party. George invited many of his friends (and friends-in-training) to lay down tracks – Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, Billy Preston, Gary Wright, Gary Brooker, Dave Mason, Dave Mason and the originally uncredited Phill Collins (congas on “The Art of Dying”).
“Badfinger” is credited with “Rhythm Guitars & Percussion” on All Things Must Pass, and Joey recalls the recording sessions while surrounded by the top musicians of the times. “It was incredible. We went in every day with our guitars, and literally were learning a song a day…sometimes two! And all of big stars would come in, lay a track and leave. One day we’d see Ringo behind the drum kit, and then later in the day Clapton might plug in and put down a solo. That’s how we met all those guys. It was a fantastic experience.”
The Badfinger ‘acoustic army’ of guitars can be heard on all of the well-know tracks from the 3 album experience – “My Sweet Lord”, “Wah-Wah”, “The Art of Dying”, “Awaiting On You All”, “Isn’t It A Pity” and “Beware of Darkess”.
STRAIGHT UP – 1971
During their peak, Badfinger enjoyed a fabulous working relationship in the studio with The Beatles’ George Harrison. George took on a ‘big brother’ role of sorts with the band, especially in the studio during the recording of the Straight Up album, including the decision to shelve the first set of tapes from the recording sessions.
“George thought we sounded too much like a ‘beat’ group, and thought we could do better”, says guitarist Joey Molland. “He was really hands-on with the arrangements of songs like ‘Name Of The Game’ and ‘Suitcase’, including having me change the lyrics from “pusher, pusher” to “butcher, butcher”…because in those days, the radio wouldn’t have played anything with a even a slightly negative meaning related to drugs and the like.”
Harrison went on to recruit his friends Klaus Voormann and Leon Russell to lend support in the studio process. Pete Ham and George performed stellar duo-slide guitar parts throughout the band’s Top 10 single “Day After Day”, which inlcuded the simple-yet-perfect piano motifs from (the newly inducted) Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Leon Russell…reportedly in just one take! Such was the genius of Leon.
Joey also recalls collaborating with George for his tune, “I’d Die Babe”. He was having some trouble with certain lyric lines, and songsmith Harrison lent some of genius to complete the process, including the low-end electirc guitar riffs that weave throughout it. To this day, Molland remembers how he actually was to ditch the song, but more importantly, how George’s encouragement helped it so flourish.
CONCERT FOR BANGLA DESH – August 1971
George had to leave the Straight Up sessions half way through, to help his friend, Ravi Shakar put together what has been called the” grandfather of all benefit rock festivals” – The Concert For Bangla Desh. George asked many of his friends in music to help, and the boys in Badfinger were no exception.
Pete, Tommy & Joey were all on stage with their acoustic guitars, and Mike played hand percussion alongside some of the greatest musicians of the generation – Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann and others. A poignant highlight was Pete Ham playing alongside George for an acoustic duo of “Here Comes The Sun”. With the 2005 DVD release of the historic documetary film, fans can see Badfinger throughout the presentation including the bonus ‘Extras’ sections.