John Lennon wanted to call the band "Glass Onion", but no one in the band liked the name (Lennon later used the name for one of his songs on the White Album. Instead, they chose "Badfinger", a reference to "Badfinger Boogie", which was the early working title for the Beatles song "With a Little Help from My Friends".
Recording was difficult for Badfinger, and many failed attempts at a single occurred before the group finally offered "Maybe Tomorrow" in 1968. The single did well in the Netherlands and Germany, but not so well in England or the United States. Business and personal problems with Apple Records also contributed to the record's failure.
Paul McCartney wrote the band's breakthrough song, "Come and Get It", intended for part of the soundtrack to The Magic Christian. It was a hit throughout Europe and the United States. Ron Griffiths soon quit the band to spend more time with his family. After the departure of Griffiths, the band, then still known as the Iveys, changed their name to Badfinger. Tom Evans moved over to bass and Joey Molland joined as guitarist in time to tour in support of Magic Christian Music, an LP.
The band's career began increasing exponentially. "Come and Get It", "Carry on to Tomorrow" and "Rock of All Ages" were critical and popular hits. The band began playing on many sessions for fellow Apple Records labelmates George Harrison, including on the All Things Must Pass LP, and on John Lennon's Imagine. In the midst of all this activity, Badfinger released No Dice, the group's magnum opus. "No Matter What" has endured well, as has "Without You", which became a bigger hit when sung by Harry Nilsson. By 1970, Badfinger had a new manager in Stan Polley. The group toured in America and Britain, and their album was a huge hit, but still the group saw no money and felt like they were living in the shadow of the Beatles. Straight Up came out in 1971, which included "Day After Day", "Baby Blue" and "Name of the Game", all large hits; the group also performed during the Concert for Bangladesh.
Apple Records' finances were in chaos, the album was not marketed effectively. Meanwhile, Polley was keeping the income generated away from the band members as they toured and recorded nonstop. Further problems recording their fifth album led to Polley negotiating a multi-million dollar deal with Warner Brothers Records. The last Apple album was Ass (1973). This was almost immediately followed by the first Warner Brothers release, Badfinger. With the band's popularity at a peak, they released Wish You Were Here (1974) to critical acclaim.
Severe financial problems began plaguing the group. Large amounts of money disappeared. Broke, the band lost their contract in 1975. Later that year, Ham hanged himself in his garage. Lawsuits and bankruptcies haunted the group on both sides of the Atlantic.
Airwaves came out in 1978, with Peter Clarke (drums, of Stealers Wheel) and Tony Kaye (Yes). Evans, Molland and Gibbins were unable to cooperate, and often operated rival bands using the name Badfinger. In 1983, Evans hanged himself.