The Origins of the name Badfinger
(Bad Finger Boogie)

by Dan Matovina and Tom Brennan
posted May 29, 2017

With the release of the 50th Anniversary deluxe edition of The Beatles' “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” there has been revealed an original lyric sheet for the song in the included hardcover booklet.

For the first time, this document verifies the origin of the name of the Apple label band, Badfinger. The facts about the name were first revealed to the world in Dan Matovina’s biography on the group, Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger ©1997

Here is an excerpt of the lyric sheet with the “Bad Finger Boogie” working title written for the Lennon/McCartney song, "With A Little Help From My Friends."

A Little Help lyric sheet top

From the Matovina biography:
The Iveys had long been concerned with their name. They were often confused with The Ivy League; three studio singers who’d recorded under that moniker in 1965, achieving several U.K. hits. Many times people would ask if they were one and the same. The impending 45 release of "Come And Get It" and line-up change gave The Iveys the impetus to go for something new. Tom Evans remembered: “We were told many times that The Iveys was a stupid name. We had great arguments with people about it, but we stuck to it. Finally, we realized the name was a disadvantage.” Bill Collins affirmed: “The Iveys were associated with the Merseyside scene and it sounded a bit dated . . . We had to think about the future.”

Apple agreed a change was needed. “We used to write out a list,” said Tom, “and we’d get it down to ten, then three, and maybe one guy would like it and another wouldn’t, or we’d like it, and the record company wouldn’t. So we just said, ‘Well, what have you got to offer then?’ ” The list of names had included: Fresh, The Glass Onion, Tendergreen, The New, The Old, and Hyena’s Nose! The most character-revealing of all was Paul McCartney’s choice, Home, and John Lennon’s contribution, Prix (allegedly pronounced Pricks). None could be agreed to. It came down to a time factor. Apple needed to get their packaging and promotion together. The Iveys were left with a one-day deadline or Apple would decide.

Apple’s Neil Aspinall remembers: “I was down at a pub with Bill Collins called The Thistle, which was just around the corner from Savile Row. I was asked to suggest something. Badfinger just popped in my head. It was from an old Lennon thing. He was playing the piano and he had a bad finger so he called the piece he was playing ‘Bad Finger Boogie’ (which evolved into ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’). Somehow that came to me. Bill instantly liked it. He brought it back to the boys and I guess they liked it too. I remember someone suggesting High and Fun, but Badfinger won out.”

Interestingly enough, in The Beatles' authorized biography first published in 1968, author Hunter Davies writes in great detail about how Paul McCartney and John Lennon collaborated to write the song "With A Little Help From My Friends" (or initially "A Little Help From My Friends") in McCartney's workroom in his St. John's Wood home on a mid-March 1967 afternoon. However, Davies makes no mention about Lennon nicknaming/sub-titling the new composition, "Bad Finger Boogie."

The first mention of this working title appears to have been first published in 1988 in Mark Lewisohn's book, "The Beatles: Recording Sessions" (see below). Ultimately, Dan Matovina made the first connection between this Beatles song's working title and the renaming of Apple band, The Iveys in 1969, with excerpts of his interview with Neil Aspinall being first published in 1997 in his Badfinger biography, Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger.

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