Forty years ago today, Wales sadly lost one of it's greatest ever songwriters, Pete Ham, best known for being lead singer and composer of early 70's rock band, Badfinger, and co-writer of the classic song "Without You".
Born in the Townhill area of Swansea in South Wales, he formed a group which eventually became the Iveys in 1965. The band relocated to London the following year and, after impressing the Beatles with their songwriting abilities they were signed to the Beatles Apple label.
Just before the release of their debut single, the Beatles penned "Come And Get It", the band became Badfinger, and with fellow Liverpudlian Tom Evans on lead vocal, the song became their first hit, reaching Number 4 on the chart in early 1970. Two more hits followed, "No Matter What" (Number 5, 1971) and "Day After Day" (Number 10, 1972). Ham was also one of the guitarists on the George Harrison album "All Things Must Pass".
In 1972 the band left Apple and signed with Warner Brothers, and it was during this period that the band became embroiled in many internal, financial and managerial problems. This meant the band were unable to release any albums and by 1975, with the band receiving no income and with a girlriend just about to give birth, it all became too much for Pete Ham.
On the 24th April 1975, three days before his 28th birthday, he hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home. His suicide note included an accusary blast at the band's business manager. Ham's daughter Petera was born a month after his death.
Tragedy struck the band again on 19th November 1983, when Ham's songwriting partner, Tom Evans, who had never got over his best frend's death, also hanged himself due to alleged financial troubles.
So next time you hear any version of "Without You", spare a thought for writer Pete Ham, who would never profit from his legacy.
Here is Pete, and Badfinger with their version of "Without You".