Protégés of The Beatles, Badfinger must have felt in 1970 that they’d backed a winner signing to The Fab Four’s new Apple imprint. Starting out as
The Iveys, Tom Evans (rhythm/bass) and his co-founder, singer and pianist Pete Ham, issued a number of flop singles before Paul McCartney’s "Come and Get It" (1970) changed their fortunes, released under the new name of Badfinger.
As The Beatles themselves fell apart, Badfinger appeared to slot into the gap they had left with a series of transatlantic hits, also supporting solo Beatles on their albums. The hits, however, did not last beyond 1972. Legal wrangles between Apple and Badfinger’s management meant that royalties from chart success did not reach the writers, ie, Ham and Evans – the partners could only look on in disbelief as "Without You" (a track from the group’s second album) became an international multiplatinum success for Harry Nilsson.
This situation became too much for Pete Ham: the group’s founder first quit the line-up and then, tragically, committed suicide in his garage studio ( April 1975). Tom Evans was distraught at the death of his close friend and Badfinger disbanded, after which Evans and another bandmate, Bob Jackson, joined The Dodgers – though this was not to last. Having trained as an engineer years earlier, the guitarist cut his losses and returned for a few years to technical drawing – only to reform Badfinger with early collaborator Joey Molland, though
two albums (around the turn of the eighties) were badly received.
"There was no lasting nastiness in Tom, just an ever-growing sadness in the situation he found himself in. Just like Peter [Ham], he was quite a sensitive guy who was easily worn down by the negative pressures put on him."
Depressed by the continuing royalty disputes which had dogged the band’s earlier career (and which had by now caused a massive rift with Molland), Tom Evans emulated his late colleague by hanging himself from a tree in his garden in Weybridge, Surrey. It is widely believed that Evans had also recently been diagnosed with a malignant throat tumour. Like Ham, he left a widow and child.
The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars -Jeremy Simmonds, 2nd Edition, Chicago Review Press, Incorporated, 2012, pages 157-158
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