Badfinger – Without You


Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

It’s hard to discuss anything relating to the band Badfinger without discussing the myriads of woes that plagued the band during their lifetime. Misfortune, mismanagement, and plaid old bad luck meant that the band never reached the pinnacle of success that they rightfully deserved. Originally signed to Apple Records and given a song by Paul McCartney that became a hit (you can watch Sir Paul discuss this at length in the Beatles Anthology video), the band was at its strongest when tapping into raw emotion. Power pop, classic rock, balladry – all hallmarks of the Badfinger signature sound. Without You was made famous by Harry Nilsson in 1971 and again by Mariah Carey in 1994, but both versions removed a bit of the muscle that is found on the original version by Badfinger. Originally a deep album cut on their 1970 record No Dice, it is now considered a classic, being covered by over 180 artists. Guitarist / vocalist Pete Ham had the verses, but couldn’t come up with a strong chorus. He had the perfect opening line “”Well I can’t forget tomorrow, when I think of all my sorrow, I had you there but then I let you go…”. Vocalist / bassist Tom Evans had a perfect chorus based on events in his life, but no suitable verses. The two worked together and found that “I can’t live, if living is without you, I can’t live, I can’t give any more” worked really well as the chorus to the song Pete Ham had worked on. A bit of nostalgia mixed with melancholy, it is a perfect song. Both principal songwriters would commit suicide – Pete Ham in 1975 at age 27, and Tom Evans in 1983 at age 36. Both gone too soon, making the emotional resonance of this song just a little more poignant.

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