Pete Ham Biography

Peter William Ham (27 April 1947 – 24 April 1975) was born in Swansea, Wales. He formed the band The Panthers in the early 1960s. The band would go through many name changes until they settled on The Iveys in 1965. The Iveys performed in the Swansea area but it wasn’t until Bill Collins took the band on as manager in 1966 that the group became serious about a career in music. Pete left his job as an apprentice electrical engineer and moved to London to live with the band and Collins at 7 Park Avenue, Golders Green. Interest in the band slowly grew. Ray Davies of The Kinks showed interest and would produce some demos of The Iveys.

Eventually, The Iveys would sign to The Beatles’ label, Apple Records. By the end of 1969, The Iveys had become Badfinger. Pete would go on to write the Badfinger hits “No Matter What”, “Baby Blue”, and the million selling “Day After Day”. He also co-wrote “Without You” with bassist Tommy Evans, which would be a major hit by Nilsson in 1972 and Mariah Carey in 1994, as well as being covered by nearly 200 additional artists. Ham and Evans would be awarded the 1972 Ivor Novello award for song or the year for “Without You”.

After Badfinger changed labels to Warner Brothers in 1973, things began to unravel. Suspicions of management and financial woes aggravated inter-personal relationships within the band. Despite the huge revenues that Badfinger generated, band members were paid only a small weekly allowance. 

By 1975, Pete found himself with no money or income and a pregnant girlfriend. He would hang himself three days before his 28th birthday leaving a note cursing the band’s business manager. Pete’s daughter, Petera, would be born a month after his death.

Two collections of Pete’s home demo recordings have been posthumously released – 7 Park Avenue in 1997 and Golders Green in 1999.