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Badfinger – Straight Up (1971)

It’s a good time to be a Badfinger fan. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few days, you’ve probably heard that Breaking Bad has ended. I won’t spoil the final moments, but I can say that Vince Gilligan chose “Baby Blue” from Badfinger’s 1971 album Straight Up as the show’s swan song. Since airing, “Baby Blue” and Badfinger has seen an incredible resurgence online. As of today, “Baby Blue” has sold over 5,000 downloads and has seen a 9000% stream increase on Spotify. I haven’t fact checked that last statistic but who cares, 9000%! “Baby Blue” is a great song but it’s also on a great album. Let’s talk about Straight Up.

Relased in 1971, Straight Up is the third release from Liverpool’s Badfinger. Produced by Todd Rundgren and George “Fucking” Harrison, Straight Up is a polished display of power pop rockers and Beatle-esque love ballads. Known for having Badfinger’s biggest single “Day After Day”, featuring Dual slide guitars from guitarist/vocalist Pete Ham and George “Fucking” Harrison, Straight Up is heartfelt and optimistic. The album presents an interesting parallel to the often tumultuous career of this troubled band. Often weighed down by poor management and severe financial issues, a great deal of Badfinger’s work went unnoticed. A real shame when you see the unique talent of each member.

The songwriting and singing is primarily split between guitarists Pete Ham and Joey Molland, with bassist Tom Evans occasionally chiming in with his high Liverpudlian swoon. While Molland handles the 2:50 minute rockers like “I’d Die Babe” and “Suitcase”, Pete Ham (the band’s unofficial leader) crafts the hits. Though every member pulled their own weight, Ham is what made Badfinger, Badfinger. “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue” were not only some of the band’s best songs, but some of the best pop/rock songs of the early 70s.

I’m excited to see where this will all go. While Badfinger’s legacy is guaranteed to live on, I’m curious to see how many Breaking Bad fans will delve deeper into Badfinger’s discography. And hopefully this doesn’t lead to Badfinger forever being associated with smoking crystal meth.

Favorite Tracks: “Baby Blue,” “I’d Die Babe,” “Perfection”