Thomas ‘Tommy’ Evans Jr. (5 June 1947 – 19 November 1983) was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Tommy formed The Calderstones (named after Liverpool’s Calderstone Park) after his first band, The Inbeatweens, broke up. In 1967, The Iveys saw The Calderstones at a gig in Liverpool and were very impressed with Tommy who sang lead and played guitar. The Iveys asked Tommy to join their band and after about a week, he moved down to London to join them.
The Iveys would sign with The Beatles Apple Records the summer of 1968 and the first single released by the band would be Tommy’s “Maybe Tomorrow”. Paul McCartney offered The Iveys his song “Come and Get It” that was destined for the soundtrack of the Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr film, The Magic Christian. McCartney went into the studio with The Iveys in the fall of 1969 to produce the song and two others for the film. McCartney chose Tommy Evans to be the lead vocalist on “Come and Get It”. The Iveys had dismissed bassist Ron Griffith not long after the McCartney sessions. Unable to find a suitable replacement, Tommy volunteered to switch to bass. Guitarist Joey Molland would join the band on guitar, and The Iveys officially became “Badfinger” to reflect the slightly harder rock & roll edge the band wanted to inject into their commercial pop sound.
Tommy would guest on several solo Beatles recordings. He performed on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album and the Concert For Bangladesh with his band mates as well as performing on John Lennon’s Imagine album with Joey Molland. Tommy also provided prominent backing vocals along with Pete Ham on the George Harrison produced “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr.
Tommy Evan’s greatest success began with two songs. Tommy had written a song titled “I Can’t Live” while Pete Ham had written a song titled “If It’s Love”. Pete was unhappy with his chorus and replaced it with the chorus from Tommy’s song. The song, “Without You”, was just an album track on No Dice for Badfinger; but it would be covered by Harry Nilsson the following year and become one of the biggest hits of the year. Tommy and Pete were awarded the Ivor Novello award for “Best Song of 1972”. The song became a huge hit again in 1994 when it was covered by Mariah Carey. It has since been covered by close to 200 different artists and has become a music standard.
Following Badfinger’s dissolution after Pete Ham’s suicide, Tommy would join the pop band The Dodgers with Bob Jackson. Tommy would record three singles with The Dodgers that were released on Island Records and were produced by Muff Winwood. Because of Tommy’s aggressive disposition, he would often butt heads with management. As a result, he was fired from The Dodgers as they were recording their debut album for Polydor Records. His contributions to the album were wiped and replaced by his successor.
In 1978, Tommy reformed Badfinger with Joey Molland. The reunion would spawn two albums, Airwaves in 1979 and Say No More in 1981. By the end of 1981, however, Tommy and Joey had parted ways and would both head separate Badfinger bands for the next couple of years. In 1982, Tommy put together a Badfinger band with Mike Gibbins and Bob Jackson but found themselves stranded in Milwaukee for months; literally “wrapped up in a rock ‘n’ roll contract”. Tommy had signed with a local booking agent who left the band waiting in a rental house with no money, food, or gigs. After Tommy eventually returned to the U.K., he found that the agent was suing him for $5 million for abandoning his touring contract. Tommy began drinking heavily and fell into deep depressions often talking of suicide. In the early hours of November 18, 1983, Tommy Evans hung himself in a willow tree in his backyard. Tommy was survived by his wife Marianne and their son Stephen
In 1993, a collection of home demos by Tommy was released in the U.K. titled Over You (The Final Tracks).