Grand Theatre, Swansea, Sat 27 Apr
Tickets: £18.50-£21. Info: 01792 475715 / www.swanseagrand.co.uk
Swansea musician Pete Ham’s name is invariably prefixed with ‘the tragic’, likewise Badfinger, the band for whom he sang and played guitar. In the early 1960s, he assembled a beat combo with friends from the town; The Iveys sought fame and fortune in London, eventually attracting the patronage of The Beatles’ Apple label. Changing their name to Badfinger, their effervescent and somewhat Beatlesque pop found instant success in both the UK and US. Sales of their four Apple LPs, while largely sturdy, were undermined by their manager Stan Polley, a terrific crook who pocketed most of Badfinger’s earnings and left Ham financially ruined. A fragile soul, the frontman hanged himself in 1975, aged 27.
Badfinger soldiered on in various tenuous forms afterwards, and were dealt further tragedy with the suicide of bassist Tom Evans in 1983. However, the considerable goodwill and cult reputation afforded the band today is down to their output with Ham at the helm. Accordingly, Swansea Council are commemorating his legacy with a blue plaque, to be placed near the entrance of Swansea Station. Taking place in the afternoon and unveiled by Petera, Ham’s daughter (born just a few weeks after his death), the ceremony will be followed by a tribute concert in the Grand Theatre. It’s been organised by Bob Jackson, a friend of Ham’s who joined the band in 1974, and will also feature Ron Griffiths and David Jenkins – respectively bassist and guitarist with The Iveys, both exiting before the name change. It should be an emotional convergence to remember an exceptionally talented songwriter.