Todd Rundgren, Matthew Sweet and More Revisit Badfinger Classics on Collaborative Album

Badfinger with a Beatle (l to r) Mike Gibbons, Joey Molland, Pete Ham, Beatle George Harrison and Tom Evans in New York, 1971 (Photo: Vincent Vigil)

In collaboration with former Badfinger member Joey Molland, nearly a dozen artists across genres, including Matthew Sweet, Todd Rundgren, Rick Wakeman, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, and Rick Springfield, convened to reimagine 10 of the band’s classics on No Matter What – Revisiting the Hits (Cleopatra Records).

Vanilla Fudge’s Mark Stein cracks open the album with a boisterous version of the title track, with No Matter What moving into Rick Wakeman’s perfectly crooned “Come And Get It,” a song originally written by Paul McCartney for Badfinger to perform in the 1969 Peter Sellers-helmed black comedy The Magic Christian—no relation to the band’s second album Magic Christian Music—with its all-star cast, also featuring Ringo Starr. 

Badfinger’s connection to The Beatles was undeniable with George Harrison also producing the band’s fourth album Straight Up. The 1971 release gets several nods on No Matter What with Sweet swooning around “Baby Blue” and “Day After Day” getting a fitting remake by Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, along with Terry Reid & Manchester String Quartet.

When Harrison eventually had to bow out of producing the album to refocus on The Concert For Bangladesh, Todd Rundgren took the helm with Badfinger. On No Matter What, Rundgren offers a stirring rendition of Badfinger’s “Without You” at its close. Originally written by Badfinger’s Pete Ham and Tom Evans and released in 1970, the track received numerous covers throughout the decades, including its most memorable by Harry Nilsson in 1971.

Other notable tracks include Rick Springfield’s “Love Is Gonna Come At Last,” Sonny Landreth on “Suitcase,” Albert Lee taking on “Sweet Tuesday,” and a avant-psyche “Midnight Caller” by experimental rockers The Legendary Pink Dots.

When Carl Giammarese, founding member of The 1960s pop band The Buckinghams, was approached to work on Badfinger’s 1970 “I Don’t Mind,” he didn’t hesitate working on the track remotely. Initially sent the basic track of the song with the drums, bass and keyboard, Giammarese added his vocals over Molland’s and his psychedelic strips of guitar within a week’s time.

“I really enjoyed doing the track and the vocals, but I really had a fun with guitar track, which came out sounding a little Pink Floyd,” says Giammarese. “It’s the first time we had an opportunity to work together, and I have a lot of respect for this record, the band’s history with The Beatles, and that whole era.”

Giammarese, who is still touring with The Buckinghams, says it was an honor to contribute his piece to the album. Never crossing paths with Badfinger in the ’60s through ’70s, Giammarese finally befriended Molland on a concert cruise that he, The Buckinghams, and other artists were booked on several years ago.

“We talked for some time and immediately hit it off,” says Giammarese. “He’s just very personable, funny, and has tons of stories. When you have a lot of history and things that have happened, there are always stories, so that’s what our fans want to hear. They want to hear the songs and the authenticity of you performing the songs the way they remember them, but they also want to hear stories, and 50 years is a long time.”

Giammareses adds, “I’m grateful that they chose me to do one of the tracks, and to be in the company with artists like Todd Rundgren, Rick Springfield, Ian Anderson, and everybody on the album. I’m proud to be a part of this. It’s an honor.”

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