Joey Molland – Badfinger
Joseph Charles “Joey” Molland (born 21 June 1947, Edge Hill, Liverpool) is an English composer and rock guitarist whose recording career spans five decades. He is best known as a member of Badfinger, the most successful of the acts he performed with. As of 2016, Molland is the only surviving member from the band’s classic line-up. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Originally a member of several rock groups around Liverpool, such as The Assassins and The Profiles, Molland began his recording career in 1965 when he joined The Masterminds. This group released a single on Immediate Records IM 005, consisting of a cover version of Bob Dylan‘s “She Belongs to Me” backed with a band original, “Taken My Love”. After this the group disbanded and Molland joined the backing group of The Merseys. Although never recording with them, he did accompany them on tour.
Molland’s recording career began in earnest in 1967 when he joined Gary Walker (formerly of the Walker Brothers) for the group ‘Gary Walker & The Rain’. The Rain released several singles, an EP, and an album on the Polydor and Philips labels in the UK and Japan between 1967 and 1969. Titled #1, the album featured four Molland compositions and was especially well received in Japan, but a lack of success in their UK homebase caused the band to disband by 1969.
In November 1969, Molland auditioned for The Iveys and was hired. The Iveys were a conspicuous recording group at the time of Apple Records (a label launched by The Beatles). The Iveys changed their name to “Badfinger” after dismissing original bassist Ron Griffiths, and starting Molland as guitarist. The band enjoyed an early string of successful singles and albums for the next couple of years. (See Badfinger article for recording information). During Molland’s association with Apple, he made guest appearances on two George Harrison albums, All Things Must Pass and The Concert For Bangla Desh, and the John Lennon album, Imagine.
Molland left Badfinger in late 1974 due to disagreements over management. In 1975, he joined with Jerry Shirley (formerly of Humble Pie) and formed a group called Natural Gas. The band released the LP Natural Gas on Private Stock Records in 1976, and enjoyed a successful tour with Peter Frampton the following year. According to Molland, a general lack of organisation led to the band’s demise late in 1977.
Molland and former Badfinger bandmate Tom Evans recorded two albums under the Badfinger name, Airwaves in 1978, and Say No More in 1981. He and Evans split acrimoniously after Say No More and the two performed in rival touring Badfinger bands until Evans’ suicide in 1983.
Molland’s career since 1983 has been with various rock groups and duos, and performing tours under the Badfinger name or as “Joey Molland’s Badfinger”. Earlier versions of these groups sometimes included original Badfinger drummer Mike Gibbins. Molland was instrumental in releasing a 1974 live recording of Badfinger on Rykodisc in 1991, called Day After Day: Live, which received mixed critical reactions due to overdubbing and a rearranged track order. Molland’s solo recordings have been well received. His first, After The Pearl, was released in 1984 on Earthtone Records. His second, The Pilgrim, was released in 1992 on Rykodisc. His third, This Way Up, was independently released in 2001. His most current album, Return To Memphis, was released on December 13, 2013 .
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