Pete Ham, founding member of Badfinger, singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player, died on the 24th of April in 1975, just 3 days before his 28th birthday. He was 27 years and 362 days old when he committed suicide by hanging himself in his garage at his home in Surrey, in southern England.
A coroner’s report stated that Ham’s blood alcohol level was 0.27% when he died (that extra 27 is just a coincidence, of course), but the death was from self-asphyxiation – the alcohol was apparently for courage to accomplish the suicide. Ham left a goodbye note for his girlfriend Anne who was pregnant with Petera, their daughter, born a month later. The note said, “Anne, I love you. Blair [he was Anne's son], I love you. I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better. Pete. P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.”
Stan Polley became the manager of Badfinger in 1970, one of many bad events to plague the band. He was an American who, unbeknownst to Badfinger at the time, had ties to organized crime – he later had numerous run-ins with the law because of his crooked dealings. Embroiled in a legal battle with their record company and having the group’s newest album pulled from the shelves prematurely, Ham was apparently in deep financial trouble and accurately blamed his predicament on Polley.
In a further macabre twist, Tom Evans, another founding member of the band and a co-writer with Ham of their biggest hit “Without You,” committed suicide by hanging himself 8 years later in 1983. He too was experiencing financial problems, but had reportedly never recovered from Ham’s death, which contributed to his despondency. Stan Polley, however, lived until 2009 and died at the ripe old age of 87.
Ham is buried at Morriston Cemetery in Swansea, Wales, the town where he was born.
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