Imagine LP – 1971
1970-1971 was a very prosperous period in their relationship with the post-breakup Beatles. Their close friend from the early days before the ‘mania’ was Mal Evans, who was kept on the Apple Records payroll after the Beatles called it quits. One day in the early days of summer 1971, Mal received a phone call from John Lennon, asking to ’round up the Badfinger boys and their acoustic guitars’. Apparently John heard a wall of acoustics in his head in writing a song for his upcoming album – IMAGINE. Having the legendary Phil Spector producing the sessions may have played a part in the ‘wall of sound’ concept in John’s mind.
Joey Molland and Tommy Evans were available in that moments notice, and were driven to Lennon’s Tittenhurst estate which housed the recording studio. The two were extremely excited…and nervous, of course…to not only meet their ‘boss’ from Apple Records, but to also record with him!
Joey & Tommy entered the studio, and their ‘hometown-hero-done-good’ was warm and inviting throughout the entire process. Joey remembers the day – “It was amazing, man. I mean, this is THE MAN, you know? But Tommy and I kept everything professional. John gave us a cup of tea to welcome us, and off we went. He taught us the chords of what was to be ‘Jealous Guy’, and we spent a couple of hours laying down our tracks. And it was cool that John liked the little ‘minor ninth’ chord towards the end of the verses.”
With the Jealous Guy tracks laid to rest, Lennon told the two “you can piss off if you want, or not…” which was Liverpool-speak for “you can go, or you can stay”. The obvious choice for Molland & Evans was to stick around a little while longer. (Wouldn’t YOU if given the choice?!)
They stayed long enough to be reunited with fellow ex-Beatle George Harrison, who was laying down some slide guitar for “I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier”. After a few go-arounds on their acoustics for this song, the session concluded for the day, and Tommy & Joey enjoyed the experience beyond description. The album will last the test of time, and ‘Jealous Guy’ is frequently listed in several “Top 100 Songs of All-Time” lists in the music industry publications/websites.
THE BADFINGER NAME
It was John Lennon himself who – when the Apple Records people were thinking of what to re-name The Iveys in December 1969 – came up with “The Prix”. The goal was to find a ‘harder-edged’ title to suit the more rocking direction for the band that had just hired Joey Molland. But utlimately, “Badfinger” was inspired by a Beatles-era demo tape by Lennon, with a working title of “Badfinger Boogie”. He recorded the demo on piano, with an injured appendage on his hand. And that…is the rest of the story.