The sad story of British band, Badfinger has been well documented, mostly illustrated by the suicides of founders Tom Evans & Pete Ham. To me the writing was on the wall with this 45, Day After Day, written by Pete, backed by Money written by Tom. Without meaning to disparage the members or the details of the band’s history, you could play both sides of this 45 and begin to understand each man’s fears realized. Pete, not knowing how to carry on in a band wrought with financial problems and having a new child on the way, took his own life in 1975. Tom, trying to keep his band & career afloat, burdened by the death of his friend and his ongoing fights over royalties, killed himself in 1983.
This may be a simplistic approach and I don’t mean to lazily connect the dots. I just see this song as two men’s vulnerabilities out on the table, buttons for one who dared to push. That person was Stan Polley, the band’s manager. It turned out that most of the band’s money went to an escrow and when the record company, namely Warner Bros after they left Apple, which was also financially messed up, looked for the money, it was gone. This caused a chain reaction wherein Warner Bros ceased promotion for a new LP, which meant the band couldn’t work and instead would pile up legal bills, leading to the band’s demise as well as Pete’s.
The song itself, though is beautiful and has always been one of my favorites of 70s pop. George Harrison had begun production on it and played slide guitar licks, doubling with Pete. It even featured Leon Russell on piano. But the Bangladesh concert interfered with George’s production schedule, so the tapes were handed over to Todd Rundgren. The song you hear is because of Todd’s work, not George’s, although GH gets the credit. The lyrics are sung in this heartbreaking way wherein a line like ‘I remember finding out about you…’ which should sound angry just sounds desperate and deflating. I’ve heard that this song was about finding out his girlfriend was pregnant. If so, then damn, poor kid. I sure hope my father wasn’t ‘looking out on [his] lonely gloom’ when I was conceived.
The song reached the Top 5 in early 1972 and somehow someway touched something inside of me which connected me to this guy’s loneliness.