May 1, 2009

Pete Ham, a Sad Ending

I spent a few minutes updating my blog, Gone But Not Forgotten. Its very sad to read about some of the deaths - especially suicide. I added Pete Ham of Badfinger today. I never really knew the details of his death until I read this.  Kinda makes me sick to read about this Stan Polley guy:

During the Warner Bros. Records era from 1973-75, Badfinger became embroiled in many internal, financial and managerial problems and their music languished. By 1975, with no income coming in and his business manager non-communicative, Ham's spirit became broken and he hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home. He was discovered by his girlfriend in his garage the very next morning. His blood alcohol was .27%. He was 27 years old. He left behind a pregnant girlfriend Anne (his daughter Petera Ham was born one month after his death); Anne had a son, Blair, from a previous relationship. Ham's suicide note was accusatory toward Badfinger's business manager, Stan Polley. It read: "Anne, I love you. Blair, I love you. I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better. Pete. P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me." Many of Polley's artist-clients also accused him of corruption over the years. More than a decade after Ham's death, Polley pleaded Nolo contendere to unrelated embezzlement and money laundering charges, but no collection of restitution was ever made. Ham's death was brushed under the rug, as no Beatles made public comment, nor did Apple Corps Ltd nor Warner Bros. Records come out with any official notice of his death. (taken from Wikidpedia)

15 comments:

Sean Coleman said...

The Badfinger story is indeed one of the saddest in terms of corruption and loss. Both of the principal song writers took their own lives and their best albums were pulled from distribution for years due to the contractual mess with Apple Records. "Straight Up" and "No Dice" are brilliant LPs.

Rockitz said...

Glad to see Pete remembered, and he gave so much joy to millions. Check out my account of meeting all but Pete in the band, and travels to England and Wales.

www.fortunesicons.com/blog

musicobsessive said...

And let's not forget that he wrote 'Without You' so that that Nilsson could have a decent hit!

Betty C. said...

My sister and I were huge Badfinger fans but can't even really listen to them anymore because it makes us so sad. I can't hear "The Name of the Game" without crying. I think there was a documentary made about the sad fate of the group -- my sister saw it, but I never have. Thanks for the tribute.

Betty C. said...

And you can add them to "Bands Who Lost More Than One Member" because Tom Evans hanged himself in 1983, as Sean refers to.

Carl said...

And then there was one as Mike (Mick) Gibbins the Badfinger drummer passed away suddenly on October 4th, 2006, leaving Joey Molland to carry the Badfinger torch...

Anonymous said...

Why is Stan Polley walking and breathing free? Why is he not in prison, or sending monthly checks to Petera Ham? Where is the justice? This "soulless bastard" purchased the rope, tied the noose and handed it to Pete Ham. Why is he not implicated in the tragic suicide of an artist and loving person who actually contributed something beautiful to this world?

Rockitz said...

He should be in prison with the Enron gang and the Goldman Sachs folks, there's always hope.

Here's some Badfinger pictures.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=321529&id=809015156&l=22dd9e29a9

More pictures here at www.fortunesicons.com for you Paul McCartney fans.

tom said...

No, Joey Molland will not and cannot carry the Badfinger torch. He was certainly talented enough, but was never the committed team player the others were. Too much success too early for that one, with all due respect. Pete and Tom were the heart and soul of Badfinger, and as such are irreplaceable. Mick held it all together on the drums, and drove it. There is no torch to carry, but some great records to play. STILL really good.

Anonymous said...

The betrayals don't end there . After Pete and Toms deaths there was an award ceremony for Without you. At the awards Mike Gibbons, Joey Molland and the manager Bill Collins went up to the stage and collected awards as writers of without you. ASCAP later found out their mistake and asked for the awards back.....none have been returned.
Pete Hams brother removed guitars from Petes house after his death. These were supposed to go to Petera but he kept them selling one ( a present from George Harrison) for over £350,000 at auction.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Thanks for the comments on this post, very enlightening!

Rockitz said...

I noticed Layla's site is genuine, but this statement:

"Thanks for the comments on this post, very enlightening!" is suspicious and like the spam I get all the time on my blog fortunesicons.com/blog. Any comments?

Anonymous said...

A very sad story, I've only learned of it as of late although I'm from the time period. At that time I was strictly, Hendrix, Page, Blackmore and unfortunately I made a value judgement on Badfinger based on Come and Get It. Last night I was listening to a lot of Pete Ham and being a songwriter I jot titles down,the words Comfort to me Brother came to me and shortly thereafter I listened to the song Name of the Game for the first time and I heard some like words. Today I learned the song Without You. Pete Ham had a great voice and it's important the music lives on. Spunky Munkey

Rockitz said...

"Name of the Game" is a fascinating song, and one of the very few "non-love" songs Pete wrote. I like the phrase "we burned the sacred willow, our battles we have won." I read the Druids would burn willow for various ceremonies, and it was connected to death in various ways, and lived by water, such as the mythical island of Avalon, supposedly located where Wales joins England near the Severn River area.

kurt said...

Pete Ham was arguably one of, if not the most, talented singer/songwriter/musician of the Rock n Roll era. Far beyond this, I understand he was a genuinely nice guy. I wish I could have met him. God bless his friends and family for this immeasurable loss.

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