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The Definitive Biography
am 22. März 1999
Dan Matovina's "Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger" is one of the finest books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Not only did its contents answer my every conceivable question but also filled in the notable gaps in and often total lack of historical information regarding the band from which I and many other Badfinger fans suffered for so many years. I found the author's research to be meticulous and the collected quotes from the band members, their families, their friends, and associates--which form not only the framework but the very foundation of the book--to be nothing short of voluminous. Over 400-plus pages Matovina's highly professional style of writing is detailed but concise, journalistic without subverting emotion. This makes for a very compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read. As a Badfinger fan of twelve years, Mr. Matovina's book confirmed what I had personally felt all along: Peter William Ham, composer of all of the band's hits save the McCartney-penned "Come And Get It", was the heart & soul and driving force behind what was arguably the most talented and star-crossed band in the annals of Rock & Roll. For so many years Pete was just a lovely voice on the scratchy vinyl, a name on the credits, a face on the faded dust jacket. "Without You" changed all that for me as, with every turn of the page, Pete Ham came more and more to life. By the time his suicide is recounted roughly two-thirds through the book, I felt I knew Pete as well as anyone possibly could who did not have the privlege of knowing the flesh-and-blood man. While it does not question their right to do so, the last third of the book conveys the sadness and utter futility of the surviving members carrying on the band's name without such a vital, and most would say central element. Can one imagine The Beatles without John? The Grateful Dead without Jerry? In closing I believe that Badfinger fans have a lot for which to thank author Dan Matovina: His saving from obscurity the Pete Ham demos which became "7 Park Avenue" and will become "Golders Green", the much-anticipated upcoming release of "Head First", and, most of all, "Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger", the definitive history of one of Rock's greatest groups.