Say No More
In spite of their classic hits, the story of Badfinger serves as a cautionary tale about the evils of the music industry, cumulating in the hanging death not only of leader Pete Ham in 1975, but of Tom Evans, who took his life in 1983. Both men’s deaths were due in part to financial woes and a misguided trust in people who took advantage of them. Say No More, released in 1981, was to be the final Badfinger record, and the bright and colorful Peter Max cover does little to brighten the darkness that seemed to haunt the band.
It’s an easy temptation to scan the lyrics for cryptic moments and hints of what was to come. It’s a futile task, as Say No More is a surprisingly upbeat rock record, thanks in part to some really boogie-woogie piano licks courtesy of ex-Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye. If anything, there’s a retro vibe going on here, especially on numbers like the Jerry Lee Lewis-style rock of “I Got You,” the sunny Beatles-like harmonies of “Because I Love You” and “Three Time Loser.” “Passin’ Time” and “Hold On,” the latter of which charted at #56 in America, have a contemporary Southern Rock feel to them that’s fresh and rewarding. It’s only on “Too Hung Up On You” does one hear traces of the melancholy ballad Badfinger of Straight Up.
Considering the emotional baggage that the band had carried for most of the Seventies, it’s understandable that the duo would want to escape their past. After the album’s release, the duo would fall out, with each one carrying on as Badfinger. Evans would attempt a new band (under the unfortunate name Goodfinger), cumulating in his death in 1983. Say No More was a brief flicker of brightness before the dark clouds of depression and death descended once again upon one of rock’s most hapless bands.