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Without You
Song

Without You

Badfinger
Album:
No Dice

Song Meaning and Background of Without You by Badfinger


"Without You" is a song written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of British rock group Badfinger, and first released on their 1970 album No Dice.


Both Ham and Evans said they did not consider the song to have much potential at the time Badfinger recorded it, and the track was slotted to close the first side of their 1970 album No Dice. Badfinger's recording of the song was not released as a single in Europe or North America.


The song has been widely covered by many famous artists, and versions released as singles by Harry Nilsson in 1971, T. G. Sheppard in 1983 and Mariah Carey in 1994 became international best-sellers.


Paul McCartney once described the song as "the killer song of all time".


In 1972, writers Ham and Evans received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.


First recorded by the rock group Badfinger, the song was composed by two of its members. Pete Ham wrote a song originally titled "If It's Love", but it had lacked a strong chorus. Ham and his girlfriend Beverly Tucker were about to go out for the evening. But just as they were leaving Tom Evans said he had an idea for a song – Ham said, "Not tonight, I've promised Bev." But she thought he would be wondering if he had done the right thing later, if he went out. She told him, "Go into the studio, I'm fine about it..."  He replied, "Your mouth is smiling, but your eyes are sad." The song Ham wrote that night was called "If it's Love" and has the verse "Well I can't forget tomorrow, when I think of all my sorrow, I had you there but then I let you go, and now it's only fair that I should let you know ... if it's love". But Ham wasn't happy with the chorus.


Evans' relationship with his future wife Marianne influenced his lyrics:

One evening Evans went to Marianne's friend Karen and told Karen, "She's left me. I need her back. I can't live without her." He flew to Bonn to find her – he wrote a song called "I Can't Live". Its chorus included "I can't live, if living is without you, I can't live, I can't give any more." And so the merging of the two songs.


The two writers of the song, Ham and Evans, later committed suicide due to legal and financial issues. In Evans' case, it was a dispute over songwriting royalties for "Without You" that triggered his action. Songwriting royalties had become the subject of constant legal wrangling for Evans, and in 1983, following an acrimonious argument with his bandmate Joey Molland over the royalties for the song, Evans hanged himself.


Harry Nilsson told an interviewer when asked why he covered Badfinger’s near-despondent ballad. “We did it because my career was on the wane and we wanted something to make a hit,”  “I heard it and searched through every Beatles album for two and a half weeks, trying to find out which one of their tunes it was.”


The cover version of the song went to Number One and earned Nilsson a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.


Lyrics of Without You by Badfinger


Well, I can't forget this evening

And your face when you were leaving

But I guess that's just the way the story goes

You always smile, but in your eyes your sorrow shows

Yes, it shows

 

Well, I can't forget tomorrow

When I think of all my sorrow

I had you there, but then I let you go

And now it's only fair that I should let you know

What you should know

 

[CHORUS:]

I can't live, if living is without you

I can't live, I can't give anymore

I can't live, if living is without you

I can't live, I can't give anymore

 

Well, I can't forget this evening

And your face when you were leaving

But I guess that's just the way the story goes

You always smile, but in your eyes your sorrow shows

Yes, it shows

 

[guitar solo]

 

[CHORUS x3]

 

I can't live, if living is without you.

Release Date

1970

Songwriter/s

Pete Ham, Tom Evans

Producer/s

Geoff Emerick

Label/s

Apple

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