In 1968, the group came to the attention of Paul McCartney and were signed to the Beatles' Apple label. McCartney reportedly was impressed with the amount of original material the group produced, and especially a Ham composition titled "They're Knocking Down Our Home." After several mis-starts as The Iveys, the group changed its name and sound, while enjoying several years of chart success (see Badfinger for details). During the band's tenure at Apple, Ham also performed guitar and vocal session work for ex-Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr. On a personal and social level, Ham expressed concern over environmental issues and poverty, although he never actually participated in organized political endeavors. After releasing six albums and four hit singles, Badfinger became embroiled in financial and managerial problems.
By 1975, without an income and contractually confined, Ham hanged himself in the garage of his London home. He left behind a pregnant girlfriend (his daughter being born one month after his death) and his personal estate was nearing foreclosure. His suicide note accused Badfinger's manager of stealing the band's royalties. 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." Most of Polley's artist-clients also accused the manager of corruption, and Polley much later pleaded Nolo contendere to unrelated embezzlement and money laundering charges. Although Ham is often credited as being one of the earliest purveyors of the Power pop genre, his most widespread effect in popular music is a ballad. "Without You," written by Ham and Badfinger bandmate Tom Evans (who also later committed suicide), was taken to the Billboard charts several times by various artists.
Two collections of Ham's home demo recordings have been posthumously released: 1997's 7 Park Avenue and 1999's Golders Green. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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