"Without You" was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger. It is perhaps the biggest hit of Badfinger's career. It has been the top money-earner for Badfinger in publishing royalties. It was famously covered by Harry Nilsson, who had at transatlantic #1 hit with his version.
This song is actually a fusion of two songs. Originally Pete Ham wrote a song titled "If It's Love," but found that it lacked a strong chorus. Tom Evans was also independently working on a song with the chorus "can't live if living is without you" - but he was stumped for verses. The two halves of a song fit together like a key in a lock.
Paul McCartney once described this ballad as "The killer song of all time." Consider that the two people who wrote it committed suicide. Feeling a shiver?
"Without You" has been covered by over 180 artists. Although it was never released as a single by Badfinger and never charted for them, it has since swept the single's charts again and again for other artists covering it. It has also won recognition from the ASCAP Pop Music Awards and the Ivor Novello Awards. It was also picked to provide the title for Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger, the 1997 biography by Dan Matovina.
In Al Kooper's memoir Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, Kooper squarely pins the blame for Ham and Evans' suicides on the band's manager, Stanley Polley. Al Kooper also worked under Polley and had this to say about him: "Polley reminded me of Dr. [Hannibal] Lechter from the Thomas Harris books. An acknowledged brilliant doctor, but one who just happened to eat a few of his patients." While manager Stanley Polley was embroiled in legal cases, lawsuits, associations with organized crime, and even a Senate-investigation hearing throughout his career, the worst consequence he saw was pleading nolo contendre to a 1991 charge of misappropriating funds and money laundering in California - from an aeronautics engineer who gave him $250,000 to seed a corporation to manufacture airplane engines. He drew five years probation and an order to return the funds, which he never did. Stanley Polley, at the age of 87, died peacefully at his Rancho Mirage, California home in July of 2009.
Steve from Raleigh, Nc, UsaTo Mark of colorado springs: if you want to find stan polley's grave, here it is: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/72635714 in riverside, california
Caroline from Cumbria, United KingdomOn holiday from the UK I saw a fabulous gig by Air Supply in Massachusetts in July 1990 - They gave a full tribute to Badfinger and a potted history of this song before performing a great version of this song - I ordered their Album "Bread and Blood" on special license to the UK just to have a copy of this track! My friend who was with me at the time had been a close friend of Bad Finger in Liverpool in the 60's and cried... A very moving experience and one I will never forget! Take a listen to Air Supply's version of this song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcUhrF8bsFE
Eric from San Francisco, CaYes the album cover was great, but inside, without much effort, you can see visual similarities to the Beatles. Pete has a Lennonesque-quality, Tom to George. If you cover Joey's face below his eyes, he looks so much like Paul. Ringo, well, no one looks like Ringo except Yassir Arafat.
Mark from Colorado Springs, CoI like the Badfinger version best and then Harry's. The Pariah Carey version reminds me of all her songs...she sounds like her foot is stuck in a bear trap! WHY can't anyone tell us where stan the bastard is buried?? Rest In Peace Tom, Pete and more recently Mike.
Wayne from New Haven, CtI Love Badfinger's original version! On the "No Dice" album. (Does everyone remember the album cover?) I wish there was an alternative instead of suicide for Pete & Tom. That is Soooo sad they had to take their own lifes...
Mellissa from Laguna Beach, CaSadly, the YOUTUBE clip is one of the only surviving Evans/Hamm appearances one will ever find because of the evil Stan Polley. He advised the band not to go on the big shows of the time such as The Old Grey Whistle test or Top of the Pops. There is a special place in hell for that guy. Hamm was loyal to the end.
Zabadak from London, EnglandObviously, the definitive version of this is Harry Nilsson's 1971 effort. Special mention should also be made of Mariah Carey's "tribute" (even though he didn't write it!), issued shortly after Nilsson's death, which entered the UK singles chart at number one, back in the days when that meant something.