Pete Ham

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Pete Ham Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

P&P is not included in the above prices.


There comes that periodic moment in time, when deciding which personality to add to my portrait collection, where I cast aside any notion of popular trends or ‘cultish’ elements, to both write and draw about pure talent – an attribute that Pete Ham had in spades.

Even today, nearly forty years on from his tragic suicide at the tender age of 27, I can still feel that all pervading anger when I listen to his music – anger that on the cusp of fatherhood, he was incapable of seeing, whatever his financial woes, that long musical life stretching out in front of him. Anger that he was not blessed with the constitution of an ox, but most of all, anger at his management for ‘ripping him off’. At the time of his death, there were undoubtedly individuals within his inner business circle with ‘blood on their hands’, the scrawled note found in the garage where he had hung himself damning his US manager Stan Polley, as “a soulless bastard…
I will take him with me”.

So look at my portrait will you? – his life is etched on that face, and send yourself back to those albums because he was so good. This is the man, after all, who co-wrote ‘Without you’, one of the greatest songs of all time. If you don’t, then what was the fucking point to it all?

The story of Pete’s band Badfinger, is probably one of the most tragic in rock’n’roll. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong whilst their occasional triumphs over adversity never seemed to bring them their rightful reward. Looking back from the perspective of nearly forty years on, it appears as if only now, are we recognizing what we lost that fateful day in 1975.

A blue plaque dedicated to Ham, was unveiled at a ceremony at Swansea’s railway station on April 27 2013, by Petera, the daughter he never knew; an occasion marking what would have been the musician’s 66th birthday.

Under construction

Recommended listening

Magic Christian Music (1970)

A hotchpot collection of numbers – three titles from the Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr movie, assorted numbers from the Ivey’s debut disc, and some freshly minted titles – this is the band’s first long player after their name change and a consistently satisfying platter at that.

Still in need of some additional equalisation – I hear some missing high end in the digital remaster – I am fortunate enough to possess an original Apple label vinyl pressing, and the CD copy I have was mixed by myself to my own specifications.

A particular favourite track of mine “Dear Angie”, was in fact a sign off to the band’s original incarnation as The Iveys, featuring original bassist Ron Griffiths.

“That’s about my wife, Maureen,” Griffiths would reveal years later, “Angela is her middle name. ‘Dear Maureen’ didn’t sound as hip.” Ironically enough, it had been the very existence of a Mrs. Griffiths that had hastened Ron’s exit from The Iveys. “I was the only one in the band who was married,” says Ron. “I had a young lad and it created bad vibes.”

For Ron, ‘Dear Angie’ remains a memento of the years that he lived in The Iveys’ shared house in Golders Green, north London. “Maureen was to-ing and fro-ing from Hertfordshire to that house to see me whenever she could,” he recalls. “That’s the lyric: ‘When you caught your train today / You took my heart and soul away / I can’t wait ‘til Friday night / To see you, touch you, hold you tight.” The A major tonality that opens the song is subtly contrasted by a series of descending chords : F#m / F#mmaj7 / F#m7 / B9 – that accompany Griffiths heartfelt lyrics. For me personally, I hear echoes of a B9 with a pinkie mini-bar across fret four of the top two strings – the D# and G# tones adding a wistful note before the turnaround to the choral exhortation.

It’s quality ‘pop music’, an evocative reminder of The Beatles’ ‘Help!’ mid ’65 period, just before LSD and marijuana would fuel the band’s shift into artistic high gear with ‘Rubber Soul’.

Elsewhere, there’s the Paul McCartney composition ‘Come And Get It’, originally demoed by himself and Starr during The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ album sessions. A massive hit, peaking at No. 4 in the UK and No. 7 in the US, its melodic content is ably matched by Ham’s songwriting on ‘Crimson Ship’, ‘Midnight Sun’ and ‘Walk Out In The Rain’.

No Dice (1970)

Straight Up (1972)

Wish You Were Here (1974)

7 Park Avenue (1997) [Posthumous release]

Golders Green (1999) [Posthumous release]