Magic Christian Music was Badfinger's first album, released in early 1970 on Apple Records. The lead single, “Come And Get It,” had been written and produced by Paul McCartney, and would become their first Top 10 hit.
Badfinger seemed poised for superstardom. They were arguably the most promising group of the year, if not the decade ahead. Yet their story is one of the most tragic the rock world has ever known. Of the four original members who appear on Magic Christian Music, two would take their own lives just a few years later.
Maybe the problems were there from the beginning, after all Magic Christian Music was certainly one of the strangest debut albums of all time. In fact, it is not at all what it was advertised to be, but rather a compilation of old material with a couple of new songs added.
The soundtrack to the Peter Sellers / Ringo Starr film Magic Christian Music was to be released on The Beatles' Apple Records label. One of Apple's big new signings was a group called Badfinger, who were contributing three songs to the project. It sounded like a good way to introduce the band, while they recorded a proper first album for later release. Plans changed, however, when Apple lost the rights to the soundtrack.
Badfinger was the new name for a group who had previously been known as The Iveys. They had been kicking around London for years, and had been signed by Apple in 1968. They even had an album out, and although it was extremely limited in availability, it was out there nonetheless. Someone had the bright idea to compile the best older Iveys tracks with the newly recorded material and release the result as Badfinger’s debut.
A quick aside: For such a supposedly Utopian company as Apple Records, doesn’t this sound like a classic record biz rip-off? I can just hear Morris Levy or someone like him explaining the scam: “Throw a couple new songs in with the old crap, slap a new cover on it, and Bingo! You got a brand new record!”