Musicians of a certain kind find their way into your heart, the most relatable head for your soul. Recently, I learned a bit more than the tune and accompanying lyrics. It feels like getting a tad too close to a flame that you didn’t know existed.
Both of these souls created extraordinary art in the 1970s, a personally most formative time for this author. So I shall recount to my dear readers what appeared behind the scenes.
Perhaps I should mention that two of the muscians considered here were brought to an end at their own hand, and both by hanging.
The groups of artists are Badfinger and Jefferson Starship. Allow me to inform you that I am a member of a certain kinship: survivors of suicide. We don’t know that we belong to a rather large segment of the population, we also do not ordinarily carry membership notices on our sleeves. Please know as well that membership does not expire. However, growth is possible and is always welcome
Celebrities do not need to declare an association with our kinship, they don’t have the luxury of remaining anonymous.
After Apple Records folded in 1973, Badfinger struggled with a host of legal, managerial and financial issues, leading Ham to commit suicide in 1975. Over the next three years, the surviving members struggled to rebuild their personal and professional lives against a backdrop of lawsuits, which tied up the songwriters’ royalty payments for years. Their subsequent albums floundered, as Molland and Evans alternated between cooperation and conflict in their attempts to revive and capitalise on the Badfinger legacy. In 1983, Evans also committed suicide.
With their current album suddenly withdrawn and their follow-up rejected, Badfinger spent the early months of 1975 trying to figure out how to proceed under the unclear legal situation. Their March 1975 salary cheques did not clear, and the April cheques never arrived. Panic set in, especially for Ham, who had recently bought a £30,000 house in Woking, Surrey, and whose girlfriend was expecting a child.
According to Jackson, the band tried to continue without Polley’s involvement by contacting booking agents and prospective managers throughout London, but they were routinely declined because of their restrictive contracts with Polley and impending legal actions. Ham reportedly tried on many occasions to contact Polley by telephone during the early months of 1975, but was never able to reach him.
Recently, I discovered that a rock group that abrubtly disappeard owned a backstory that I found among the comments on YouTube: the comprehensive chronicler of our days and ways. The commenters were nearly of one in regard to the disdain they felt for the manager who more than skimmed the group’s bank account, he drained nearly every penny into his private coffer and went on to live off the blood money until he quietly expired at age 81.
Desperate and overwhelmed, Pete Ham hung himself in April 1975, after a night of drinking with his long-time bandmate Tom Evans. He cited Badfinger’s manager by name in the suicide note: “I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better.” Then, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.”
The next artist I consider here, Marty Balin, was brutalized (to be kind) by a US teams of medical criminals. I know of these kind of people because the serial criminals found brutish ways to mistreat someone who is likely familiar with readers of this blog: Lisa. You don’t know just how badly a medical professional can “treat” a patient until you witness their dark deeds first hand. There are multiple volumes that could be written on Lisa alone. I proceed.
Marty Balin was attacked at the very source of his genius, his voice. Marty walked into a hospital in basically good health, he left as were he multiply wounded by medical professionals as well. We live in a society that does not believe in stopping medical maltreatment whenever the criminals who make their way into the system wreak havoc and walk away clean.
The 2018 legal complaint accused the hospital and one of its specialists of negligently performing a tracheotomy on Balin following the heart surgery. That procedure caused him to lose half his tongue and suffer a paralysed vocal chord, the lawsuit claimed. Further negligence, it then said, resulted in a hand injury and the musician’s left thumb being amputated.
Please consider watching this very poignant review of “Hearts”, particularly if you are unfamiliar with Marty Balin.
The lawsuit stated: “Mr Balin walked into the hospital able to speak and with a fully functional left hand. By the time Mr Balin was finally released from the hospital, he had lost half his tongue, so that he cannot speak or eat properly; he also has a paralysed vocal cord; he [has] a necrotic left hand and has lost his left thumb; he had become totally disabled and has never recovered properly”.
I simply ask you to listen to fellow members of humanity who have become victims of high crimes and misdemeanors. Knowing something of what they met at the prime of their lives includes you as a witness to what should never havve occurred.
Thanks for reading.