Badfinger were a British rock band that originally consisted of Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans and Ron Griffiths. The band evolved from an earlier group called The Iveys that was formed in 1961 by Ham, Ron Griffiths and David “Dai” Jenkins in Swansea, Wales.
They were signed by the Beatles’ Apple label in 1968 as The Iveys. In 1969, Griffiths left and was replaced by Joey Molland, and the band renamed itself Badfinger. In 1970, the band engaged American businessman Stan Polley to manage their commercial affairs.
Over the next five years the band recorded several albums for Apple and toured extensively, before they became embroiled in the chaos of Apple Records’ dissolution.
The Iveys formed in 1961 in Swansea, from The Panthers, whose line-up comprised “Ham” (lead guitar) (b. Peter William Ham, 27 April 1947, Townhill, Swansea, d. 23 April 1975), “Griffiths” (bass guitar) (b. Ronald Llewellyn Griffiths, 2 October 1946, Swansea), David “Dai” Jenkins (rhythm guitar) (b. David Owen Jenkins, 30 October 1945, Swansea), and Roy Anderson (drums).
Playing under various names including The Black Velvets and the Wild Ones, by 1964 they settled on The Iveys, after a street in Swansea called Ivey Place. In March 1965, drummer “Gibbins” (b. Michael George Gibbins, 12 March 1949, Swansea, d. 4 October 2005) joined The Iveys.
The group secured concerts around Swansea area, opening for prominent British groups such as the Spencer Davis Group, The Who, The Moody Blues and The Yardbirds. The group’s first single, “Maybe Tomorrow”, produced by Visconti, was released worldwide on 15 November 1968.
It reached the Top Ten in several European countries and Japan, but only number 67 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and failed to chart in the UK.
The US manager of Apple Records, Ken Mansfield, ordered 400,000 copies of the single—considered to be a bold move at the time in the music business—and pushed for automatic airplay and reviews from newspapers, which he secured.
Nevertheless, Mansfield remembered the problems: “We had a great group. We had a great record. We were missing just one thing … the ability to go out and pick up people, and convince them to put their money on the counter”.
A second Tom Evans composition, “Storm in a Teacup”, was included on an Apple EP promoting Wall’s Ice Cream, along with songs by Apple artists such as James Taylor, Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax.
The chart success of “Maybe Tomorrow” in Europe and Japan led to a follow-up single release in those markets in July 1969: Griffiths’ “Dear Angie”, also produced by Visconti. An LP containing both singles and titled Maybe Tomorrow was released only in Italy, Germany and Japan.
This was thought to be the work of Apple Corps’ president, Allen Klein, as an Apple Corps’ press officer, Tony Bramwell, remembered: “He [Klein] was saying, ‘We’re not going to issue anymore records until I sort out this mess’ [Apple Corps].”
But tragedy hit the band on 19 November 1993. Following an argument with Molland, and as the result of years of unhappiness with the band’s business dealings, Tom Evans hanged himself. The band officially broke up that year.