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Top 12 Badfinger Tunes, Ranked: Sure to Whisk You Back to the 1970s

We can’t live if living is without these power ballads and hits!

Badfinger, in the words of their 1970 hit “No Matter What,” will always be around and be a part of it all. The Welsh rockers originally called themselves the Iveys, later renaming themselves after a Beatles track — “Bad Finger Boogie,” once a working title for “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

Shortly before that band name change happened, Badfinger became the first act signed to the Fab Four’s Apple Records in 1968, and a string of hits and great success would follow for its most well-known lineup of guitarists Pete Ham and Joey Molland, bassist Tom Evans, and drummer Mike Gibbins. The group was even hailed as Britain’s best new act since John, Paul, George, and Ringo, but their lives and career trajectory would soon hit turbulent times.

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Apple fell into turmoil in 1973, and the band struggled amid a flurry of financial woes, legal issues, and internal conflicts, reeling most notably from their manager Stan Polley’s foul business moves that left them all near bankrupt. Even darker days would follow: Ham, just days from his 28th birthday, died by suicide in 1975 (blaming Polley in his suicide note, calling him “a soulless bastard… I will take him with me”).

Evans, at age 36, suffered a similar fate in 1983. Then, in 2005, Gibbins passed away at age 56 due to a brain aneurysm, leaving Molland, who’ll turn 77 in June, as the group’s sole surviving member.

Two men with arm around each other
Tom Evans and Joey Molland (1970) Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music / Contributor / Getty

Molland, who recorded with Evans in the late 70s and early 80s as Badfinger, has gone on to continue his solo work, most recently with his 2020 album, Be True to Yourself. Seven years prior to that record’s release, however, Badfinger was embraced by a whole new generation, thanks to their 1971 hit “Baby Blue” being featured in the 2013 finale of the fittingly titled hit series Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.

“It was all over the news,” Molland told The Arts Fuse about the buzz Badfinger received from that series’ final episode. “It was on the TV news in Minneapolis, where I live. And then, of course, the phone started ringing, and you’d pick up the house phone and it was like The New York Times calling or [Access Hollywood]. All of a sudden the phones wouldn’t stop ringing. I was like a rock star [again]. It was incredible. I think it was bigger when that happened than when the record was actually out.”

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Band performing on stage
Badfinger (1972) Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty

That attention led to bigger crowds, who were eager to hear more Badfinger tunes at his shows. “The gigs were all completely sold out [for a while],” Molland told Rock Cellar magazine. “We noticed that the audiences…were really mixed. We’d always had a bit of a mixed audience in terms of age groups but it was really mixed now. Because the majority of the newcomers were the younger people. They’d never really heard Badfinger. But they came, [because Breaking Bad] was one of their favorite shows. They really enjoyed that and they thought it was great.”

And what the new fans heard, they liked, as Badfinger “undeniably created some of the most sublime melodies of the early ’70s,” as Ultimate Guitar put it, crediting Ham, the group’s main songwriter, “as being one of the earliest purveyors of the power pop genre.” At their peak, after all, they collaborated with the Beatles, recorded songs penned by McCartney, and boasted Harrison as a producer, while Evans and Molland played on Lennon’s Imagine album.

Group of men sitting on the floor; badfinger
Badfinger (1973) Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty

Though the group originated in Wales, they enjoyed more popularity here in the States. “English people think of us as the group that did ‘Come And Get It,’ full stop,” Ham once told Melody Maker magazine, adding, “They don’t seem to be prepared to listen to other things we do. But in America they view every number separately.”

In that spirit, let’s take a look at some Badfinger tunes that stand the test of time, which is why Rolling Stone hails the group as “power-pop icons.”

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12. “Love Is Gonna Come At Last” (1979): Badfinger

This late-era entry off the album Airwaves was penned by Joey Molland in the days after Pete Ham died. In 2021, Molland had actor-singer Rick Springfield take a shot at the vocals for an updated version. “Badfinger has always been one of my all-time favorite bands,” the former General Hospital star said at the time. “Their music was, and is, immortal.”

11. “Know One Knows” (1974)

This grooving Badfinger single off of 1974’s Wish You Were Here album was a “would-be classic,” according to Rock and Roll Globe. Sadly, it never got the recognition it deserved due to it being lost in the shuffle amidst the turmoil that came during the band’s post Apple Records era.

10. “I Miss You” (1974): Badfinger

American Songwriter calls this “yearning, piano-based” ballad one of Pete Ham’s “most touching performances.” The haunting yet soothing song was the lead-off track on the band’s eponymous 1974 Warner Bros. album, and the second single to be released off that LP.

9. “Hold On” (1981)

This 80s single is off the post-Ham album Say No More, which was recorded with a lineup that consisted of Tom Evans and Joey Molland, as well as former Yes member Tony Kaye, guitarist Glen Sherba, and drummer Richard Bryans. The tune, co-written by Evans and Joe Tansin, made it to No. 56, which was Badfinger’s best chart position in nearly 10 years at that time.

8. “Name of the Game” (1971): Badfinger

A reported favorite of the group’s band members, this tune “is a prime example of [Pete Ham’s] consummate artistry, replete with purring harmonies and a comely melody,” according to Louder’s Classic Rock. It’s off their Straight Up album, which was produced in part by both George Harrison and Todd Rundgren.

7. “Apple of My Eye” (1973)

This was the last charting Badfinger single that Pete Ham played on. “But now, the time has come to part, Oh, I’m sorry, but it’s time to make a stand,” the songwriter sings, nodding to the band’s bittersweet departure and split from Apple Records. “And now, the time has come to walk alone. We were the children, now we’ve overgrown,” the song’s wistful lyrics also note.

6. “Maybe Tomorrow” (1970): Badfinger

This underrated track was originally an Iveys tune off their 1969 Maybe Tomorrow album, though it also landed on Badfinger’s Magic Christian Music LP in 1970. Apple Music calls it “a seductive and well-orchestrated piece of pop” written and sung by their bassist Tom Evans. Though McCartney felt it would be a big hit, it failed to make much of an impact on the charts. Still, it deservedly remains a fan favorite that Ultimate Classic Rock calls “a Beatlesesque slice of British pop.”

5. “Baby Blue” (1972)

Produced by Todd Rundgren, this song made a big splash again when it was featured in 2013’s Breaking Bad finale, turning it into a big draw at Joey Molland’s live shows. “We open the show with it, actually — it’s such a great little number,” Molland told Entertainment Weekly at the time, noting he was surprised and pleased with its use in the drama. “The song sounds great — I’ve always liked the record myself. It’s one of my favorites, for sure. It was a big hit [No. 14] for us, too.”

4. “No Matter What” (1970): Badfinger

VH1 dubbed Badfinger “the original power pop foursome” when they placed this rocking tune in the No. 1 position of their Essential Power Pop Tracks That Will Be Stuck In Your Head Forever list. The “killer song,” as the network called it, went all the way to No. 8 on the Billboard charts.

3. “Without You” (1970)

This stunning tune has been covered over and over again, most notably by Harry Nilsson (who won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, for his 1971 version) and Mariah Carey, who, in 1994, took her spin on it to the top of the U.K. charts (her first there) and to No. 3 in the U.S. The BBC calls it “a million-selling anthem; a classic.” Carey admitted “it always used to make me cry” when she heard it as a young girl, so just don’t forget those tissues before you crank this one up! Paul McCartney (see below), who has called Pete Ham “a great writer,” says he considers this “the killer song of all time.”

2. “Come and Get It” (1970): Badfinger

Songwriter Paul McCartney insisted Badfinger record his tune just as he did it on the demo “because this is the hit,” he said of the undeniable smash. The Beatle wrote it, according to the BBC, “about Apple’s early willingness to give money away to all comers.” The track, the band’s first to hit the Top 10 in both England and the States, went to No. 7 on the Billboard charts. It was also featured in the 1969 film The Magic Christian, starring Ringo Starr, Peter Sellers, Richard Attenborough, and Raquel Welch.

1. “Day After Day” (1971)

Penned by Pete Ham and produced by George Harrison (with some parts redone by Todd Rundgren), this was Badfinger’s highest charting single here in the States, and it made it all the way to No. 4. The site Classic Rock hails this as “a ravishing masterpiece” from the band. “You got to go a long way to find a better song than ‘Day After Day,’ and I mean a long way,” Badfinger’s Joey Molland told Modern Guitar magazine of this piece of pop perfection.

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