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Entertainment

No matter what, Badfinger plays on

The band, which has endured much turmoil, will perform in New Port Richey tonight.

By LOGAN NEILL
Published April 22, 2005


NEW PORT RICHEY - Once upon a time in pop music, there was a British rock quartet that sounded an awful lot like the Beatles.

In fact, when the group's first record, Come and Get It, hit the airwaves in 1969, many listeners mistakenly thought it was the Beatles, and quickly made a mad dash for the nearest record store. And so the clamor for Badfinger music began.

Come and Get It, as it turned out, was indeed written by Beatles member Paul McCartney, who had written it for the soundtrack of the Peter Sellers-Ringo Starr film, The Magic Christian.

Soon, Badfinger was being hailed as "the next big thing" in rock, and followed up its successful debut with more stellar hits, including No Matter What, Day After Day and Baby Blue. But by 1973, the flash had pretty much turned to fizzle, and Badfinger was just another rock band having trouble finding an audience.

Despite producing what critics hailed as imaginative, melodic music, the band's records never again clicked with the public. Added to the mix was a classic royalty ripoff by the band's record label, Warner Bros., that left the band members broke.

Two years later, despondent over financial troubles, Badfinger leader and chief songwriter Pete Ham hanged himself in his London home, and the band collapsed. The rest of the members scattered to other bands, happy to leave the short but sweet legacy of Badfinger behind them.

It wasn't until 1979 that guitarist Joey Molland (who was by then earning a living installing carpet) decided that Badfinger wasn't such a bad band concept after all and, with original bass player Tom Evans, revived the band.

The second incarnation of Badfinger proved to be only modestly successful, yielding only a couple of minor hits. By 1985, Evans too committed suicide, and Molland embarked on a successful solo career.

These days, Molland, 51, is quite happy to carry on the Badfinger banner, and will spend much of his time on stage tonight at the Bourbon Street Concert Club in New Port Richey churning out the old stuff with his new version of the band. Though he looks back on the early days with fondness, he admits he's quite happy to have left them behind.

"It was tragic how it all ended back then," the Liverpool native told an interviewer recently in a publicity release. "Me, I had a great time. It was a good band and a lot of fun to play in."

Molland believes the current Badfinger is probably a much more musically skilled ensemble than the original group, and thinks that fans will be surprised at how good the vintage songs sound.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Rock band Badfinger. Opening will be The Edge.

WHEN: 9 p.m. today.

WHERE: Bourbon Street Concert Club, 4331 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

ADMISSION: $15 in advance; $20 at the door.

INFORMATION: Call (727) 843-0686.

[Last modified April 22, 2005, 00:44:19]


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