Since this is a classic rock board, I'm assuming that most of you are familiar with the Harry Nilsson tearkerker 'Without You". And since this is a Beatles board, I assume that some of you know that it was originally written by Badfinger. But what I didn't know until recently was the history behind this great song, and how tragic it truly is.
As I already mentioned, "Without You" was written by Peter Ham and Tory Evans of Badfinger, the verses being written by Ham and the chorus being written by Evans. It appeared on their 1970 albun No Dice. Harry Nilsson heard the song being played at a party and decided to cover it. His version is noticeably more slowed-down and piano driven. His version also contains the memorable "I can't liiiiiiiiiive" line. It became a hit, becoming #1 in the US on January 15, 1972.
Badfinger got a big fat royalty check and Nilsson had a hit. Everything was going great, In fact, Badfinger were even offered a lucrative contract with Warner Bros so they left Apple. Unfortunatley it was not long until things began to go awry. Money troubles arose in the band leading to Warner putting a halt to their tour and the release of their next album. This caused major problems for the group and on 24 April 1975, Peter Ham hanged himself. Things did not get any better for Badfinger, with disputes and conflicts that are too numeous to list. By 1983, the arguments over money from Badfinger's Apple albums and the royalties for "without You" became too much for Tory Evans, and he hanged himslf. Thus, the two singwriters of "Without You" both ended up taking their own lives.
As for Harry Nilsson, he failed to produce another hit as big as "Without You" though he did have chart success with "Coconut" (...you put the lime in the coconut). He had a great output of albums, thoughmost of them were pretty noncommerical, After John died, he appeared at Beatlefests to raise money for gun control. He suffered a heart attack in 1993 and died in 1994. In fact, he died on January 15, 1994, 22 years after "Without You' became #1 in the US and the same day that Mariah Carey's version of the song was released.
I have to say that "Without You" is one of the saddest songs I have ever heard and knowing the histroy behind it makes it even more depressing. It's really strange though how it brought misery for all involved. I don;t know too much about Mariah Carey nor do I care too much for her cover of the song but I am told that around the time her version was released was also the time that her personal life began to spiral downwards,