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Badfinger, Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison

Paul McCartney played a major role in signing Badfinger, and consistently supported them. After all, Apple had a label, and to make good, they had to have successful acts. Magic Christian was an inconsistent album, and the earlier Badfinger members that were no long with the group were not even credited, Joey Molland had just joined the group, and that was that for proper credits.

So the first true Molland album was “No Dice,” and though a great album, “Straight Up” came out a more powerful product on all levels. George Harrison and Todd Rundgren both help make this happen with state of the art pristine mixing and editing, it has that clarity and purpose of Abbey Road.

Todd Rundgren was not even credited for his efforts on “Day After Day,” instead George Harrison was. Rundgren was somewhat miffed.

When Badfinger recorded “Day After Day,” George Harrison was going to do the mixing, but he had to leave due to “Concert for Bangladesh.”

So Todd Rundgren was brought in, and some thought he was kind of jerk, but in Dan Matovina’s book “Without You,” he was amazing in the studio. Plus he was very fast, the album “Straight Up” had been languishing for various reasons, and needed to be finished quickly, and sometimes it takes a jerk, if that’s the case. Rundgren put them on a merciless schedule and got the job done.

Badfinger was the first band signed to Apple Records, and John Lennon thought they should be “Glass Onion,” and when that was rejected, guess what he did with those two words.

But Lennon was ultimately responsible for their name, he came in with a bandaged finger trying to play “A Little Help From My Friends” and called it “Bad Finger Boogie,” and Neil Aspinall saw the connection and created the name.

The result was one of the greatest pop records ever recorded, when Goldmine magazine polled their readers as to what vinyl should go to CD in the early 1990’s “Straight Up” beat even Plastic Ono Band and Beach Boy’s “Pet Sounds.”

One interesting fact is that Leon Russell was brought in to play piano on the sessions, and it is known that he did “Day After Day.”

In “Without You,” the story tells how the control room was set high in the wall above the studio in Abbey Road, and when they looked down, they could only see Leon’s giant hat. They did a take, and the Leon said he was getting the feel of things. Then they finished the track, and the rest is history.

One other detail is that no one knows, or will ever know, is who played piano on “Name of the Game,” on Straight Up, according to Matovina. It could be Nicky Hopkins, Leon Russell, or Rick Wright of Yes, there are no studio records for that song that indicate the truth. It sure would be nice to know who played piano on one of Badfinger’s greatest tunes.

Another neat tidbit in “Without You” is how George Harrison was so happy with the mix of “I’d Die Babe” from Straight Up he was dancing around the control room, and was embarrassed at being caught when someone walked in. Great song, good job George.

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