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An Apple a Day: Badfinger - Straight Up

by Bruce Spizer

Today in our close looks at the recently released Apple remasters we go Straight Up with Badfinger.

During the first few months of 1971, Badfinger recorded its third album and follow up to "No Dice" with Geoff Emerick once again serving as producer. While the band was on tour in the U.S., Apple decided that the untitled album was not up to par.

Allan Steckler, who worked for Abkco, the Allen Klein company that managed Apple, suggested that George Harrison produce fresh sessions with the band. Four tracks were recorded, "Name Of The Game," "Suitcase," "I'd Die Babe" and "Day After Day," with the latter song featuring Leon Russell on piano and George joining Badfinger lead guitarist Pete Ham on a slide guitar duet. Harrison also added acoustic and electric guitar parts to "I'd Die Babe."

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George then headed to Los Angeles to work with Ravi Shankar, who convinced him to organize a benefit concert for the homeless children of Bangla Desh. Harrison's commitment to the event precluded him from finishing the album. Badfinger participated in the concert playing acoustic guitars in the background. Pete Ham was called out to share the spotlight with George on "Here Comes The Sun."

The remaining sessions for "Straight Up" were produced by Todd Rundgren. "Day After Day" b/w "Money" was released as the preview single on November 10, 1971. The disc sold over one million copies even though it did not top the U.S. charts, stalling at number four. The album was issued on December 13, 1971, peaking at number 31 on the U.S. charts.

The Harrison-produced tracks are of the most interest to Beatles fans. "Day After Day" is a beautiful love song that ranks among Badfinger's finest. "Name Of The Game" is a power ballad, while "Suitcase" and "I'd Die Babe" are effective rockers.

George Harrison with Badfinger

The Rundgren-produced tracks are also excellent pop-rock songs. The album opens and closes with the ballads "Take It All" and "It's Over." "Sweet Tuesday Morning" is another ballad featuring a beautiful and intricate guitar work. "Perfection," which musically sounds like a slow version of "No Matter What," lives up to its title. Badfinger rocks out on "Baby Blue," which was issued as a U.S. single on March 6, 1972, giving the group a number 14 hit.

The CD contains six bonus tracks, five of which come from the Geoff Emerick sessions. "Name Of The Game" is the first version of the song, which was initially slated for release as a single. "I'll Be The One" was also considered for single release, but George Harrison objected on grounds that it was "too Beatley." Beatles fans will enjoy this one.

"Baby Please" was written in the studio and has great guitar work by Pete Ham. "No Good At All" is actually quite good and "Sing For The Song" has backing vocals by Mal Evans, Geof Emerick and others present at the sessions. The highlight of the bonus tracks is the U.S. single mix of "Baby Blue," which was supervised by Allan Steckler and has echo effectively and strategically added to the snare drum.

George Harrison's involvement alone makes this a must own, but the other tracks are also excellent examples of pop-rock.

Additional information about the artists who recorded for Apple Records can be found in Bruce Spizer's book "The Beatles Solo on Apple Records." Bruce Spizer is the author of a series of critically acclaimed books on the Beatles American record releases. He also wrote "The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America," which is the definitive book on the subject. He served as editor and publisher of "Price Guide for the Beatles American Records," which was written by Perry Cox and Frank Daniels. Bruce is currently working with Frank Daniels on a new book covering the Beatles U.K. record releases from the sixties titled "Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records." He has served as a consultant for EMI/Capitol Records on Beatles projects. Information regarding his books can be found at his website www.beatle.net.

Related articles:

• An Apple a Day: Billy Preston - That's the Way God Planned It (12/7/10)
• An Apple a Day: Jackie Lomax - Is This What You Want? (12/6/10)
• An Apple a Day: James Taylor (12/3/10)
• An Apple a Day: Mary Hopkin - Earth Song/Ocean Song (12/2/10)
• An Apple a Day: Mary Hopkin - Post Card (12/1/10)

Published November 29, 2010

This article is Copyright © 2010, Bruce Spizer, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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