Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Straight Up

One mild kvetch I have with the Geoff Emerick book I've been discussing is that I believe he gives short shrift to Badfinger, a band he briefly produced. I don't cotton to people badmouthing Badfinger.

Emerick discusses the song that Paul McCartney wrote and produced for the band, "Come and Get It," then traces through their subsequent career, when they were produced by Emerick, George Harrison, and eventually Todd Rundgren, noting that only "dribs and drabs" of the latter material saw the light of day. He says the band never had another hit, apparently referring to the period following "Come and Get It," which is the only song he mentions (other than "Without You," which wasn't a hit for Badfinger but was later for Harry Nilsson).

But of course, for a while there, Badfinger was huge, and what's more, they were great. They followed "Come and Get It" with "No Matter What," "Day After Day," and "Baby Blue," all of which were Top 20 hits, three of them Top 10, within the space of two years. That's as many Top Tens as Jerry Lee Lewis had, or Nilsson, for that matter. Furthermore, the three later hits were all better than "Come and Get It," in my opinion, and when you can write a better pop song than Sir Paul, you're not doing too bad.

1 comment:

joe said...

I like Badfinger. But I think this shows the limitations of a Bill James approach to rock history, because you could never argue that having as many top tens as Jerry Lee Lewis makes Badfinger as good or as important as the Killer. They were a good-enough pop band made better by the wish for another Beatles, or something that sounded enough like that, in the years immediately following the Beatles split. Not as good as, say, Brinsley Schwarz, who had no U.S. top ten hits. Or, so long as I’m talking about acceptable post-Beatles substitutes, Big Star.

That said, please keep the Bill James analysis coming. I suggest a new power-hitting formula of some sort. How old were Badfinger when they scored their top tens compared to Jerry Lee Lewis?