1972 Badfinger – Baby Blue
The Beatles started their own record label in 1968. While their own records had Apple Records labels, they were still released with Parlophone and Capitol catalog numbers since the Beatles were still under contract with EMI. For this reason, Hey Jude was the first record with an Apple label, but not the first record with an Apple catalog number.
The record given the label of Apple 1 was by…Frank Sinatra! Sammy Kahn rewrote the lyrics to The Lady Is A Tramp and changed it into The Lady Is a Champ. He also added a few rewritten verses of But Beautiful to the end of the song. Frank made the recording so Ringo could give it to his wife Maureen as a present on her 22nd birthday. Sample lyric: “She married Ringo, and she could have had Paul, that’s why the lady is a champ.” Apple never released the record for sale.
The second Apple record was Those Were The Days by Mary Hopkins. Paul produced the record and it easily hit #2 on the Hot 100 in 1968 (it got stuck behind Hey Jude, which sat at #1 for nine weeks).
Apple released two more singles when the label started. The fifth record was by The Iveys, a group originally formed in 1961. Various personnel changes ensued, and by 1966 the group comprised Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, and Ron Griffiths. Mal Evans and Peter Asher had seen the group perform and pestered the Beatles until all four had agreed to hire the band. Apple released their recording of Maybe Tomorrow labeled Apple 5. Tom wrote the single and it reached #67 on the US Hot 100 but failed to chart in the UK. The single topped the charts in the Netherlands and did well in most of Europe and Japan. Joey Molland replaced Ron in the group.
Paul McCartney read an interview with the band where they complained about being ignored by their record label and he decided to let the band record Come And Get It, a song he had written for the soundtrack of the film Magic Christian. Paul produced their single himself, requiring them to reproduce his demo record note for note. He then also produced two more songs for the band, giving them three songs that went onto the soundtrack.
Because a group named The Ivy League had already had top ten singles with Funny How Love Can Be and Tossing And Turning in the UK, the Iveys were forced to come up with a new name for the band. John Lennon suggested The Glass Onion and Paul suggested Home. Neil Aspinall, one of the suits at Apple, suggested the band use Badfinger. That name that recalled an accident John had with a piano that temporarily left him playing without one of his fingers. In 1969, the group followed Neil’s suggestion, and the Magic Christian soundtrack album listed the group as Badfinger.
Come And Get It was a top ten record in both the US and the UK in 1970. The group released No Matter What, another top-ten single, from their next album. They also signed a management contract with New York business man Stan Polley. While it may have seemed like a good idea, that mistake resulted in them losing control of the income from their group and eventually led to two deaths.
The group’s third album went through multiple recording and re-recording sessions. George Harrison was the second producer and worked with them on four songs. Apple brought in Todd Rundgren when George left to work on another project. Todd remixed the tapes George had worked on and had the group re-record some other songs George had not worked on. He also had them record a few new songs. The group finally released their first single from the album, Day After Day. The song gave them their third top-ten single.
The second single from that album was Baby Blue. Apple Records in the UK was falling apart, so Apple did a poor job promoting the record in the UK. Even stranger, the head of Apple Records in the US had the single remixed and added reverb over parts of the song. The single reached #14 in the US in 1972, but only got to #73 in the UK.
Pete left the group in 1974, and Bob Jackson of the Fortunes took his place. Faced with increasing problems coping with the financial difficulties the group’s contracts left him with, Pete hanged himself in 1975 and he died at the age of 27.
Joey and Tom reformed Badfinger in 1977 with new members and released additional music. In 1981, the two broke away from each other and formed two separate groups that both made appearances as Badfinger.
In 1983, Tom became so distressed over the continuing financial situation he was in that he also killed himself. It took until 1994 for lawsuits to work their way through the courts, and over a half-million dollars finally accrued to Pete’s estate. Some other members of Badfinger received about $200,000 each.
Joey has continued performing with other musicians as Badfinger in the US continually since 1984. Bob formed his own version of the group in 2015 and continues to perform as Badfinger in the UK.
Martin Scorsese used Baby Blue in his film The Departed in 2006. More importantly, Baby Blue played over the end of the series finale of Breaking Bad in 2013. The single was re-released and finally charted in the UK and Ireland.
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