11. Pete Ham was one of two members of Badfinger to commit suicide
When The Beatles were officially no more beginning in 1970, a portion of the void their absence created was filled by a band which recorded on their Apple Records label, with some of their work written by and produced by Paul McCartney. The band, which came to Apple as the Iveys, was known as Badfinger, and in the early to mid-1970s they produced a string of hits, including Come and Get It, No Matter What, Baby Blue, and Day After Day. Badfinger guitarist Pet Ham also wrote a song, Without You, which became a global hit for singer Harry Nilsson. Despite the band’s success in recording, songwriting, and touring, they found themselves the victims of mismanagement, including fraud, and the money they earned never seemed to find its way into their pockets. The result was dissension and distrust, as well as financial collapse.
By 1975 Pete Ham, despite the professional support of Paul McCartney and the expressed admiration by several of his contemporaries, found the pressures of the band’s success to be incompatible with his financial condition. Ham enjoyed the fame of a rock star, especially in Great Britain, but malfeasance by managers left him with little money with which to enjoy his status. In April 1975, just three days before he would have reached the age of 28, Ham hanged himself, leaving behind a suicide note in which he described manager Stan Polley as a “soulless bastard”. Ham was one of two members of Badfinger to commit suicide in the aftermath of their musical success. In 1983, fellow band member Tom Evans, with whom Ham had written several of Badfinger’s hits, likewise hanged himself.