Bob Jackson formed his first professional rock band, named Indian Summer, in 1969. The band released a debut album, Indian Summer, on Neon Records in 1971, but disbanded the following year in the wake of business difficulties. Jackson and bandmate Alan Ross decided to develop another band, named Ross, in 1973. The band released two albums on RSO Records: Ross in 1973, and The Pit and the Pendulum in 1974. Despite touring extensively in the United States with Eric Clapton, the band failed to capture an audience. Directly after completing studio sessions in Los Angeles, Jackson left the group.
Badfinger were a British rock band that, in their most successful lineup, consisted of Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, and Joey Molland. The band evolved from an earlier group named The Iveys that was formed in 1961 by Ham, Ron Griffiths and David “Dai” Jenkins in Swansea, Wales. The Iveys were the first group signed by the Beatles’ Apple label in 1968. Over the next five years the band recorded five albums for Apple and toured extensively, before they became embroiled in the chaos of Apple Records’ dissolution. The band renamed themselves Badfinger and in 1969 Griffiths left and was replaced by Molland. In 1970, the band engaged American businessman Stan Polley to manage their commercial affairs.
Badfinger had four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: “Come and Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What”, “Day After Day” (produced by George Harrison) and “Baby Blue”. In 2013, “Baby Blue” made a resurgence onto the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart at number 14 after it was featured in the series finale of the television show Breaking Bad. Their song “Without You” has been covered many times, including a Billboard number one hit for Harry Nilsson.
After Apple Records folded, Badfinger signed to Warner Bros. Records, but Polley’s financial machinations resulted in internal friction that soon caused Ham to quit Badfinger, to be replaced by Bob Jackson on keyboard and guitar, Ham rejoined and Molland then left the band instead. However, a lawsuit filed by Warner’s music publishing arm against Polley over missing escrow account money led Warner to withdraw Badfinger’s 1974 Wish You Were Here from the market seven weeks after its release, which effectively cut off the band’s income. Warner’s then refused to accept (or pay the band for) Badfinger’s next album, Head First which was the final album that would feature Pete Ham & Tom Evans as Badfinger because of the dispute with Polley, leaving the band destitute. Three days before his 28th birthday, on 24 April 1975, Ham committed suicide by hanging himself, leaving a note that included damning comments about Polley.
Over the next three years, the surviving members struggled to rebuild their personal and professional lives against a backdrop of lawsuits, which tied up the songwriters’ royalty payments for years. The Badfinger albums Airwaves (1979) and Say No More (1981) (both of which excluded both Gibbins and Jackson) foundered, as Molland and Evans see-sawed between cooperation and conflict in their attempts to revive and capitalise on the Badfinger legacy. Having seen Ham’s body after Ham’s wife had called him, Evans reportedly never got over his friend’s suicide, and was quoted as saying in darker moments, “I wanna be where he is.” On 19 November 1983, Evans also took his own life by hanging.
Badfinger disbanded following Peter Ham’s suicide in 1975. Jackson remained in contact with Evans, and the two formed a band named The Dodgers in 1976. The Dodgers released a handful of singles and one album by 1977, but that year Jackson was released by the band following management problems.
Jackson was hired by The Searchers in 1979, contributing to the group’s tours and two subsequent album releases, The Searchers (1979) and Play For Today (1980). In 1980, Jackson and Mel Collins joined The Byron Band that had been formed by Uriah Heep’s former lead singer. Jackson departed from the band in 1981, after the band recorded the album On The Rocks for Creole Records.
Jackson re-teamed with Tom Evans and Mike Gibbins in 1982 to form a new Badfinger lineup, touring and recording exclusively in the United States. However, Evans committed suicide in late 1983, upon which Jackson disbanded Badfinger. He later invited Joey Molland to join him and Gibbins for another Badfinger outing in 1984 for a specialty tour in the United States. Although well received, the lineup did not last. Jackson began concentrating on writing and recording, making home recordings for demonstration records but not touring.
Jackson appeared on two CDs in the 1990s: 7 Park Avenue and Golders Green, adding parts to posthumous releases by Pete Ham. He was subsequently hired by The Fortunes in 1995, and he remained with the group off and on for the next ten years, releasing three albums and performing on several tours. On 18 May 2006, Jackson rejoined the Fortunes and has toured extensively with them ever since. The band’s Past & Present theatre shows featured many Badfinger songs and anecdotes. Jackson played on several albums, and appeared in the United Kingdom, Australia, Dubai, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Belgium. The band also successfully played the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Netherlands, and Sweden during 2009.