Badfinger - Straight Up

Review by Roger Linder (Switch to

Although Scott's production list shows this album in the 1972 category, it was actually released in December, 1971. It ranks as one of my favorite albums, and probably would rate a spot in the legendary 10 DIDs. It's also a "relationship" album for me, as it was a relationship that caused me to first pick it up, and I developed a relationship with this band for their entire career.

Just before Christmas 1971, my then-girlfriend, Dona, and I exchanged gift ideas (we had been dating about 1 1/2 months by then). She was my first love, and I was head over heels. She indicated a desire for the single "Day After Day," a song that I had not yet heard, though I was well aware of Badfinger, due to their hits from "The Magic Christian" (another one of my favorite movies.)

I picked up the 45, and decided to splurge for myself and pick up the LP as well. (I felt a little bit selfish about it, but I eventually got over it.) We exchanged gifts on Christmas day, and she enjoyed it, but by that time, I had really gotten excited about the LP. I played it again and again, and especially enjoyed songs such as "Take It All" and "Baby Blue". Of course, "Day After Day" was also a favorite. It was "our" song.

Well, it didn't take long for us to grow apart. We lived about 20 miles away from each other, I only got to see her on weekends, and she was re-gaining an interest in a former boyfriend. We mutually decided to part ways, amicably. But I always had "Day After Day" to remember her by. As it turned out, she eventually began seeing a friend of mine that I had introduced her to, and they eventually married (with my new girlfriend and future wife and I attending the ceremony.) Alas, their love was not to last either, as they divorced after a few years.

But by this time, the Badfinger bug had bit me pretty hard. I picked up the previous two albums, and was extremely surprised when I first heard "No Matter What" which I didn't even know was a Badfinger song. I anxiously awaited new releases, and continued to follow the band even after the tragic suicide of Pete Ham.

As to the "Straight Up" album, I recall the George Harrison production credit as the one which was most impressive at the time. I had heard of Todd Rundgren, from WGGYAW, but did not own any of his stuff. Looking back now, I can see Todd's subtle stamp on this album, as well as the Beatles' influence that pervaded all of the Badfinger releases. It probably wasn't much of a chore bringing out the classic Beatles sound on a song like "Sometimes" but what really stands out on this album for me is the use of the piano as more of a featured instrument ("Take It All", "Day After Day" and "Flying") and the guitar runs in songs like "Baby Blue" and "Sweet Tuesday Morning." And could it have been Todd's idea to place the obvious "It's Over" at the end of the record, just like he would place "Slut" (Swedish for "The End") at the end of Something/Anything?

I still love to hear "Day After Day" on the radio, and no longer pine over Dona, but can there possibly be some justice in that my wife is reminded of her former boyfriend by a song called "Hello It's Me?"

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