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Pete Ham

Pete Ham
Background information
Birth name Peter William Ham
Born (1947-04-27)27 April 1947
Swansea, Wales
Died 24 April 1975(1975-04-24) (aged 27)
Surrey, England
Genres Rock, power pop
Occupation(s) singer, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, Piano, vocals
Years active 1961–1975
Labels Apple, Warner Bros. Records, Rykodisc
Associated acts Badfinger, The Iveys
Website http://www.peteham.net/

Peter William Ham (27 April 1947 – 24 April 1975) was a Welsh singer, songwriter and guitarist, primarily recognized for having been the lead singer/composer of the 1970s rock group Badfinger's hit songs, "No Matter What", "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue." He also co-wrote the ballad "Without You", a worldwide Number One hit for Harry Nilsson and it has become a standard song as covered by hundreds of artists consistently throughout the years since. Ham was granted two Ivor Novello Awards related to the song in 1973.

Ham committed suicide in 1975 as a result of band-related issues such as label and manager problems, as well as lack of funds.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • In Badfinger 2
  • Death 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Discography 5
  • Compositions of note 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Ham was born in Swansea, Wales. He formed a local rock group called The Panthers around 1961. This group would undergo several name and lineup changes before it became The Iveys in 1965. The band was relocated to London by The Mojos manager, Bill Collins, in 1966, and they continued to perform for three years throughout the United Kingdom. As it was, Ham eventually became the prominent songwriter for the band, as a Revox tape recorder was made available by Collins to encourage him. Ray Davies of The Kinks took an initial interest in the group, although tracks produced by Davies did not surface commercially until decades later. In 1968, The Iveys came to the attention of Mal Evans (The Beatles personal assistant) and were eventually signed to the Beatles' Apple Records label after approval from all four Beatles, who were reportedly impressed by the band's songwriting abilities.[1]

In Badfinger

The Iveys changed their name to All Things Must Pass album and for other Apple Records artist's recordings. This friendship culminated with Ham's acoustic guitar duet on "Here Comes the Sun" with Harrison at The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, later portrayed in the theatrical film of the concert. In 1972, Badfinger was picked up by Warner Bros. Records, as the Apple Records label was crumbling and it seemed the band was primed for major recognition.[1]

Blue plaque commemorating Pete Ham in his hometown of Swansea, Wales

Death

During the Warner Bros. Records era from 1973–75, Badfinger became embroiled in many internal, financial, and managerial problems and their music was stifled. By 1975, with no income and the band's business manager uncommunicative, Ham became despondent and he hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home. Ham was aged 27 at the time; his suicide fell just three days shy of his 28th birthday. He left behind a pregnant girlfriend, who gave birth to their daughter one month after his death. His suicide note had the statement, "I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better." It also included an accusatory blast toward Badfinger's business manager, Stan Polley: "P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me." News of Ham's death was not widely disseminated at the time, as no public comment was made by The Beatles, Apple Corps Ltd, or Warner Bros. Records.[1]

Legacy

Ham is often credited as being one of the earliest purveyors of the power pop genre.[2] His most widespread effect in popular music is the ballad "Without You," written with Badfinger bandmate Tom Evans. Collections of Ham's home demo recordings have been posthumously released: 1997's 7 Park Avenue, 1999's Golders Green[1] and 2013's The Keyhole Street Demos 1966–67.[3] On 27 April 2013, Ham was commemorated by his hometown's first official heritage blue plaque. The unveiling ceremony took place at Swansea's High Street station, located at Ivey Place, on what would have been Ham's 66th birthday.[4] Following the unveiling, which was performed by Ham's daughter Petera, a tribute concert featuring two original Iveys members was held at Swansea's Grand Theatre.[5]

Discography

Ham also appeared as a guest artist on

Compositions of note

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Matovina, Dan. Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger, Google Books, 2000. Retrieved 10 October 2008
  2. ^ "All Music, Power Pop". 
  3. ^ "Pete Ham of Badfinger". PledgeMusic. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "BBC News - Without You writer Pete Ham of Badfinger's blue plaque". Bbc.co.uk. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Pete Ham Tribute Concert Swansea 2013". Peteham.net. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Badfinger Biography Pages - Without You:The Tragic Story". Mindspring.com. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 

External links

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