Song of the Day #3,927: ‘Without You’ – Badfinger

I know Badfinger’s most famous song, 1970’s ‘Without You,’ pretty well, though probably not through their original version. Harry Nilsson’s version reached #1 for a month in early 1972, and Mariah Carey had an international hit with the song in 1994, a week after Nilsson’s death.

The original version, featured today, has a definite late-60s Beatles vibe, appropriate because Badfinger was the first band signed to The Beatles’ Apple label and the band recorded songs written by Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Apparently Nilsson thought this was a Beatles track when he first heard it.

In a tragic twist for a song with the words “I can’t live” repeated throughout, the two men who co-wrote this song ended up committing suicide. Pete Ham and Tom Evans, founding members of Badfinger, both hanged themselves.

Ham killed himself in 1975 after an unscrupulous manager cheated the band out of money they were due. He left behind a pregnant wife. Evans died eight years later, hanging himself after an argument over the royalties from this song. He was survived by his wife and son.

Well, I can’t forget this evening
And your face when you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile, but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes it shows

Well I can’t forget tomorrow
When I think of all my sorrow
I had you there, but then I let you go
And now it’s only fair that I should let you know
What you should know

I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore
I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore

Well, I can’t forget this evening
And your face when you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile, but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes it shows

I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore
I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore

I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore
I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,927: ‘Without You’ – Badfinger

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I had no idea Badfinger was the originator of this song. The chorus, in particular, has a Beatles vibe.

    Meanwhile, what a tragedy! And over money? Wow!

  2. willedare says:

    What a deeply sad history of suicide associated with this song! I am not sure if I have ever heard this original version. Thank you, as always, for broadening my musical horizons.

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