Warner Brothers

Six weeks after they had finished sessions for their final Apple album, Badfinger was sent back in the studio to record their Warner Brothers debut with Chris Thomas producing.  The intended title for the album was inadvertently left off by Warner Brothers during production and was released untitled in February of 1974. The intended title, For Love or Money, was a reference to Badfinger leaving Apple for the big contract offered by Warner Brothers.  It has been referred to as self-titled, i.e. Badfinger, since it’s release.  Due to the delays in the release of Badfinger’s final Apple album, the Warner Brothers debut actually came out within months of Ass.  In the U.K., Badfinger actually came out before Ass.  Having two simultaneous releases effectively killed sales of both albums.

It was around this time that management issues started to take its toll on the band. Increasing mistrust of management created friction among the members. Band members were kept on a low weekly salary with the bulk of their earnings being held and controlled by their New York business manager, Stan Polley, for later dispersal. Joey Molland and Tommy Evans became more and more dubious of Polley while Pete Ham remained loyal and trusting.  In the spring of 1974, Badfinger left for Caribou Ranch recording studio in Colorado to begin recording of their second Warner Brothers album, Wish You Were Here.

Once again, Chris Thomas was on board as producer. Friction between band members was acerbated by personal issues and management complaints. Tension was so high during the sessions that Tom Evans actually quit the band. He would rejoin the band after a few days when management wouldn’t send him the money to return home. Thomas did his best to rally the band to focus on creating the best album they could.

Just prior to the release of Wish You Were Here, Badfinger planned a U.K. tour for October of 1974. Before the start of rehearsals, Pete Ham announced he was quitting the band.  With a tour already booked, he was quickly replaced by guitarist/keyboardist Bob Jackson of The Fortunes.  After a three week hiatus, Ham rejoined Badfinger just in time for the UK tour. Jackson remained as keyboardist. Joey Molland, however, announced that he would leave the band immediately after the tour.

Shortly after Molland’s departure, management sent the band back into the studio again in an apparent ploy to receive another advance from Warner Brothers.  Badfinger recorded for two weeks at Apple Studios with Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise producing.  The proposed album was to be called Head First. In the meantime, Wish You Were Here was released in November of 1974 to glowing reviews and brisk sales without the benefit of a single being released yet. Many consider it Badfinger’s greatest album.

Unfortunately, disaster would strike the band yet again. Warner Brothers’ publishing division had become increasingly troubled by missing escrow funds. Unbeknownst to the band, Stan Polley had been ignoring inquiries into the missing funds for nearly a year.  Because of the missing funds, WB Music sued Badfinger and the label pulled Wish You Were Here from release.  Furthermore, when Head First was submitted, it was rejected by Warner Brothers due to the litigation and remained unreleased until November of 2000.  Salary checks to the band soon stopped and the band’s financial situation worsened.  Polley would not take or return calls. On April 24, 1975, Pete Ham hanged himself in his garage studio.  He left a note cursing Stan Polley.  This was the final page…in the final chapter…of the original Badfinger band lineup.