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Badfinger Doc 4 of 6

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Published on Dec 28, 2008

Truth and Info on Badfinger
https://www.facebook.com/groups/22118...
To part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NZ5Qw... Fr/Wiki: Following the American tours, Badfinger recorded Wish You Were Here at the Caribou Ranch recording studio in Colorado and AIR Studios in London. The album was extremely well-received by Rolling Stone and other periodicals upon its release in October 1974.

However, internal friction centering on band management, money and group leadership had been growing within Badfinger. Joey Molland's wife, Kathie, had been taking a more assertive role in the band's politics, which did not endear her to the rest of the group, particularly Ham. Just before the band began rehearsals for an October 1974 United Kingdom tour, Ham suddenly quit the band during a management meeting, stating that he didn't want to belong to a band managed by Kathie Molland. He was replaced by guitarist/keyboardist Bob Jackson. During Ham's three-week hiatus from the group, Polley began shopping Ham as a solo act. However, just before the tour began, Ham rejoined the group after he was pressured by Warner Brothers' position that it would have little to no interest in promoting Badfinger if Ham was gone. Jackson remained as full-time keyboardist, making the band a quintet. After the United Kingdom tour, the friction within the group continued. After some unsuccessful power plays by Molland to keep Ham out of the band, Molland quit of his own accord to pursue a solo career.

Over the previous year, Warner Brothers' publishing arm had become increasingly troubled by a lack of communication from Stan Polley regarding the status of an escrow account of advance funds. Per their contract, Polley was to put in safe-keeping $100,000 in a mutually-accessible account that both Warner Publishing and the group could potentially access. But Polley had not revealed the account's whereabouts to Warners Publishing, and he reportedly ignored warnings about this. Unbeknownst to the band, threats of litigation had been going on behind the scenes.

With Molland gone and an increasingly unstable situation overall, Polley's next ploy was to press the band to go back into Apple Recording Studios to record its third album under the Warner contract, instead of a U.S. support tour. Within two weeks, tracks were cut for an album entitled Head First, and rough mixes were distributed to the musicians and Warner Brothers Records in America. Before the album was formally accepted by Warners Records, Warners Publishing had already filed a lawsuit against Stan Polley and Badfinger on December 10, 1974 in L.A. Superior Court. Polley had hoped submitting the Head First tapes would secure at least one more album advance prior to the litigation, but Warner Brothers refused to accept the tapes and never paid for the sessions. The legal action led to Warners Records stopping the promotion of Wish You Were Here and they stopped distribution of Wish You Were Here worldwide, thus completely halting Badfinger's career.

Badfinger spent the early months of 1975 trying to figure out how to proceed with the unclear legal situation at hand, including the one withdrawn album and the one rejected album. Years earlier, Polley had established Badfinger Enterprises, Inc., which signed the members to various contracts that dictated that receipts of touring, recording, publishing and even songwriter performance royalties would go into holding companies controlled by Polley. This led to a salary arrangement for the group, which various members had at times complained was inadequate compared to their gross earnings. But by April 1975, salaries were no longer arriving and panic set in, especially for Pete Ham, who had recently acquired a house and whose girlfriend was expecting a child that May.

According to their newest member, Bob Jackson, booking agents and prospective managers routinely turned the band away because of their restrictive contracts with Polley and impending legal actions. Ham tried many times to contact Polley by telephone during the early months of 1975, and was never able to reach him.

On 24 April 1975, Ham hanged himself in his garage studio in Surrey. His suicide note, addressed to his girlfriend and her son, seemed to blame Polley for much of his internal despair and he cited his lost ability to cope with his disappointments in life. The note read: "Anne, I love you. Blair, I love you. I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better. Pete. P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me." Ham had shown a growing mental illness over the past months as he burned cigarettes out on his hands and arms. Ham's daughter Petera was born a month after his death.

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