Magic Christian Music
(Apple ST-3364 (U.S.), 1970)
They were supposed to be the next Beatles. They had everything going for them: signed to Apple Records in 1968, the McCartney-penned tune “Come and Get It” put them on the map. They shoulda been huge.
But ’70s power pop band Badfinger was star-crossed. The relationship with Apple disintegrated as the label crumbled. A disastrous contract with Warner and an unscrupulous manager tore the band apart and led to the suicide of songwriter and front man Pete Ham in 1975 at the age of 27.
Magic Christian Music, the debut release by Badfinger, included three songs that were commissioned for the Ringo Starr/Peter Sellers film by the same name, altho the record is not considered an official soundtrack. Also included were six tunes (plus an outtake) from Maybe Tomorrow by pre-Badfinger group, The Iveys (a record that saw limited release by Apple and was shelved before worldwide release); and four new songs. It was a hodgepodge collection of tunes that didn’t really hold together very well, but ostensibly exhibits the potential pop/rock powerhouse that Badfinger could have become.
This album does however provide a great sense of accomplishment in moving towards a more rock themed outfit and does foreshadow the later efforts to come and more excellent hits to be provided on some of their best albums to come which would be the next two that would arrive after “Magic Christian.” — Ultimate-Guitar.com
Despite the fact that the group’s first hit was written by Paul McCartney, most of Magic Christian Music was actually written by Badfinger members Pete Ham and Tom Evans. These tracks, though not nearly as popular as “Come And Get It”, evoke British Invasion and psychedelic influences, recalling earlier British groups like The Kinks and The Hollies, particularly on tracks like “Crimson Ship” and “Dear Angie.”. — macca-central.com
On the newer material, Badfinger sounds stronger and their craftsmanship surfaces. Pete Ham emerges as a fine songsmith, with the convincing rocker “Midnight Sun” and the gentle “Walk Out in the Rain.” Still, the true standouts among the newer songs are “Crimson Ship” and “Carry on Till Tomorrow,” both co-written by Ham and Evans. They’re two sides of the same coin – dreamy post-psych pop tunes driven by strong hooks and harmonies. They might not always deliver on that promise on Magic Christian Music, but with its appealing melodies, lite psychedelic flourishes and, yes, Beatlesque harmonies, it’s an enjoyable artifact of its time. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
The single “Come and Get It” from Magic Christian Music reached the top 10 charts in the US and England.
Badfinger went on to release the spectacular hits “Baby Blue,” “Day After Day,” and “No Matter What” — all three written by Pete Ham — before succumbing to the tragedies of the music biz. A version of the band continued into the ’80s, but never truly managed to overcome the loss of Ham. Two rival bands, both named Badfinger, led respectively by former members Joey Molland and Tom Evans operated from 1982-83, leading to further bad blood between the two. Additional music biz decisions ended very badly and a fight between Evans and Molland over royalties led to Tom Evans’ suicide in 1983.
Come by Lost & Found Records and check out Magic Christian Music. If you’re a fan of Badfinger and early power pop, this record belongs in your collection.