By: G.H. Harding

Paul McCartney

BADFINGER --- The story of the week so far has got to be the great, late, Apple Records group Badfinger. Their song, “Baby Blue,” musically closed out the last episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad this past Sunday. The first line of the song said it all: I guess I got what I deserved. And, 10+ million viewers too!

The song was officially released in March 1972 on the Beatles’ Apple Records and was inspired by Badfinger frontman Pete Ham's ex-girlfriend Dixie Armstrong. "Baby Blue" became the group's final Top 20 single, peaking at Number 14 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. The song, which made an appearance in Martin Scorcese's 2006 film The Departed, was the second single off the band's third album, Straight Up (which Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke called one of Apple Records' Top Five Albums), following "Day After Day.”

Though dozens of writers have written about this incident, few got the facts about the group right at all. One noted TV writer hardly mentioned the group at all! First off: the group was formerly known as The Iveys, and were actually signed to the label by Paul McCartney. Macca then gave the group one his songs, “Come And Get It,” which they recorded and was used in the film The Magic Christian, starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers.

The song became a minor hit but served to fully introduce the group to thew world. Their third album, Straight Up, was a co-production of sorts by George Harrison and Todd Rundgren. Harrison had to leave with Ham, for his Bangladesh concert in 1971 (Ham played with Harrison on his song, “Here Comes The Sun”), so, the Runt finished up the production. That album was the group’s highlight for sure, as “Blue” was joined by “No Matter What” as well as “Day After Day” in becoming chart hits.

Despite their considerable success, Badfinger had management problems; by two men which we'll dub the Two Stans who withheld royalties from them (I know one of them!). Pete Ham hung himself; as did Tom Evans bringing an abrupt end to the band. There was a terrific documentary on the group in 1997 that presents a fascinating look at the band. 

Adds Tony King, who was at Apple during those halcyon days, "They were sweet guys. Pete Ham was very quiet and shy and the wrote one of the greatest songs ever 'Without You,' made famous by Harry Nilsson and later, of course by Mariah Carey. Todd Rundgren rescued the album which had this current song, Ringo gave them their gold record for 'Without You' in my office."

Joey Molland continues to tour as Badfinger to this day. A sad, sad story about a great, great band.

X-FILES ANNIVERSRAY --- BuySoundtrax Records is proud to announce the release of MUSIC FROM THE X-FILES: 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, available digitally and on CD on October 2, 2013. The album features music composed by Mark Snow and is produced and arranged by Dominik Hauser, Joohyun Park, and John Beal.

Twenty years ago viewers were transfixed by the weekly drama starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully – two FBI agents who investigated supernatural cases, knowing that the truth is indeed out there. Film and television veteran composer Mark Snow was brought in to lead the musical charge for this truth. From the opening notes, the eerie whistle of the main title theme, viewers were immediately engaged in the series, which would eventually boast over 200 episodes and two feature-length movies. 

While best known for his music for The X-Files and its close cousin Millennium (a personal favorite with the great Lance Henriksen in the title role as Frank Black), Snow’s compositional efforts have encompassed many other series (including the popular shows Smallville and The Ghost Whisperer, as well as X-Files creator Chris Carter’s short-lived series The Lone Gunmen and Harsh Realm. Snow has also scored numerous made-for-television movies as well as a handful of feature films, including several recent films for the legendary French director Alain Resnais. 

It’s interesting to note yet again how instrumental his music was in the show. The concept, the writing, the acting (and, great guest appearances by the likes of Peter Boyle and the late-Darren McGavin) made this show a huge hit … and, a huge hit for Fox as well.

A Brooklyn native, Snow has been making music since the 1950's. Following a start in the music industry as a popular recording artist with his band the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, Mark made the switch to composer for television and film in the 1970's. His other TV credits include One Tree Hill, Kojak, Pasadena, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, T. J. Hooker, Cagney and Lacey, Starsky and Hutch, Gemini Man, Family and Hart to Hart. Snow has been nominated 14 times for Emmy’s for his work on television series and television films including Helter Skelter, Children of the Dust, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and Something about Amelia.

WHERE’s MY LIMO --- 1973 was a landmark year. The ‘60s had finally died, allowing the ‘70s to begin. An altogether more cynical era took hold: peace, love, and understanding gave way to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Nowhere was this shift more apparent than as seen through three seminal rock albums and the tours that followed: The Who’s Quadrophenia; Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy; and, Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies.

These three unprecedented tours—and the albums that inspired them—forever changed the landscape of rock and roll: the economics, the privileges, and the very essence of the concert experience. Rock gods—and their entourages—were born, along with unimaginable overindulgence and legendary flameouts. Tour buses were traded for private jets, arenas replaced theaters, and performances transmogrified into over-the-top, operatic spectacles. 

With the 40TH anniversary ongoing of this unforgettable year in popular culture, What You Want Is In The Limo: On the Road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who in 1973, the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born by acclaimed cultural journalist Michael Walker, released last month, is one hell of a book. It successfully crystallizes that historic and mind-bogglingly prolific year for rock and roll and cultural change. Though countless classics were also born in 1973 - from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Greetings from Asbury Park, N. J. to the opening of The Roxy and CBGB - it was, according to Walker, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper who emerged as the game changers. Walker takes us backstage with these legendary bands, examining the pinnacle of their commercial success and how 1973 left each band utterly changed; Alice Cooper broke up within months of the end of their tour; Led Zeppelin left the road for 18 months and spent the rest of the decade rebounding from calamities personal and professional; The Who never again revisited the creative ambitions of Quadrophenia.

I particularly loved one incident in the book: soon-to-be-megastar pr-woman Pat Kingsley visited with the Alice Cooper group band backstage and asked which one was Alice …. When no one said anything, she pointed to one (Alice!) and said, he was it.

Although it is indeed quite some time ago, I fully remember many of the incidents Walker speaks about. As a just-out of college-graduate and ambitiously beginning a writing career, Walker hits it right on the head with his descriptions of the times. 

I remember so many of the incidents so well, as I became bit-by-bit, an insider by virtue of working at a rock club on Long Island at the time (and, yes, they did exist). Privy to many of the salacious moments of the time. The whole book reminds me so much of the movie Spinal Tap; because, as incredulous as it may sound … it did all happen.

Honestly, he’s a great writer. His previously book, Laurel Canyon, I have not read, but will. His style is concise, ironic, and quite funny. A must-read!

CLOSING NOTES --- Big first week out for Rebecca Holden & Abraham McDonald’s"Dreams Come True" as it is already in the top adds re All Music Access (between Rod Stewart & Maroon 5)... and, it has already achieved over 7 Million YouTube views... see link HERE.

 The second episode of NBC’s new hit The Blacklist; starring James Spader, was as good, and maybe even better, than the first. I loved it. Spader himself has said he doesn’t even really know how it will all play out; but, he’s devilishly good. He starts shooting the second Avengers movie in May (The Age of Ultron); so we'll see what happens … 

Kent Kotal’s Forgotten Hits newsletter; specializing in legacy artist and records, last month published an unforgettable interview with Burton Cummings, of The Guess Who (“These Eyes”, “Share The Land,” “American Woman,” “No Sugar Tonight”). It is by far, one of the best interviews I’ve ever read. Check it out HERE

Best title of the year so far, martial-artist master Paul Mormando’s Double Fist. Filming gets underway shortly … That Fact or Fiction segment on Don Nash’s re-configured Today Show looks and feel positively creepy. Even Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie look very uncomfortable.

Neil Young is a “long, strange trip” according to Graham Nash in his memoir titled Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life this week and had interesting comments to make about the musician. “I love him to death. I’ll make music with him for the rest of my life, but he’s a very selfish man. Part of me admires the fact that he has the strength to follow his muse, but he doesn’t realize that there are other people involved in this world,” Nash says. David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash will reunite with Neil Young to perform at Neil’s annual charity Bridge School. Nash told Billboard that he expects that is Neil’s way of checking them out to see if they are up for another reunion next year. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young last performed on the Freedom of Speech tour together in 2008. Still hoping to hear that interview with Nash and XM’s Brett Winterble.