“Rock of all Ages” – Badfinger

Badfinger unleashes a loud, nasty raver with shouted vocals and pumping piano.  From the “Magic Christian Music” album (and from the Peter Sellers-starring film), this virtually unknown song (at least these days) should be in heavy rotation on classic rock radio.

“Baby Blue” – Aimee Mann


Aimee Mann’s lovely version of Badfinger’s early 1970s classic “Baby Blue,” originally released as a B-side.  The original played at the end of “Breaking Bad”‘s final episode, but I thought I’d give a shout-out to this great, but little-known cover.

“Without You” – Harry Nilsson

This may be weepie 70s AM-pop at its most maudlin, but this song packs an emotional wallop. Desite Harry Nilsson’s talent as a composer, this is actually a cover of a Badfinger song. As much as I love Badfinger, their original version of “Without You” is severely lacking, especially in emotional heft. Which is shocking, especially given how melancholy their “Straight Up” album is. But Nilsson nailed it way better in my mind. Later used to great effect in Martin Scorsese’s 1995 film “Casino” and especially in Roger Avary’s 2002 film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s “Rules of Attraction.”

“Smile” – The Jayhawks


Here’s something that would not have been out of place on an early 1970s Badfinger, Harry Nilsson, or John Lennon-solo album. “Smile” is the title track from their 2000 album, produced by the legendary Bob Ezrin (who produced most of Alice Cooper’s early classic albums, KISS’s “Destroyer,” Lou Reed’s “Berlin,” … and a little something by Pink Floyd called “The Wall”). This is far removed from the alt-country that initially made the Jayhawks famous, but I think this got unfairly ignored. A really lovely pop ballad.

“Jar of Hearts” – Christina Perri


Continuing the melodramatic early 1970s piano/strings ballad vibe, comes this remarkably gorgeous ballad from 2010. I just heard this for the first time today and it reminded me of the type of song that would not have been out of place on a Harry Nilsson or Badfinger album back in the day. I think the accompanying video leaves much to be desired, but the song is a winner.

“Name of the Game” – Badfinger


Seriously, what is it with these beyond hideous Thomas Kincaide-inspired videos created for otherwise awesome songs on YouTube? Again, my apologies. I wish there were a better representation of this track on YouTube, but this is it folks. OK, disclaimer aside, I love this Badfinger ballad from the stellar “Straight Up” album. Please ignore the video and groove on this for a while.