MINNEAPOLIS - Julian Lennon, son of John, sang background vocals. Steve Holley, formerly of Paul McCartney's Wings, played drums. Micky Dolenz, formerly of the Prefab Four (aka the Monkees), added vocal harmonies. Mark Hudson, who produced nine albums for Ringo Starr, helmed the project.
No wonder Joey Molland's just-released "Be True to Yourself" sounds like the most Beatlicious album of the year.
"I wasn't expecting to make a record," said singer-guitarist Molland, a true Liverpudlian rock star who has lived in the Twin Cities for more than 35 years. "I am getting old. I'm 73. I can make records in basements, but a full-blown record with a full-blown crew with Mark Hudson producing is something I wasn't really expecting."
On Molland's sixth solo album and first in seven years, there are echoes of John, Paul, George and sometimes even Ringo.
"I had all the same influences: Irving Berlin and Cole Porter all the way to the early rock 'n' roll and the advent of R&B. Chuck Berry, Elvis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley & and the Comets," Molland said last week. "I learned to play all that stuff in Liverpool. And I had the Beatles on top of it."
Those influences led Molland to join Badfinger just as the British band - the first group signed to the Beatles' Apple Records - had released the McCartney-penned and -produced "Come and Get It" in 1969. That hit and the ensuing "No Matter What" and "Day After Day" made a splash, but over the years, Badfinger had a streak of bad breaks. An unscrupulous manager underpaid the band, one co-founder committed suicide in 1975, another longtime member hanged himself in '83, and two versions of the band existed simultaneously.
Married Minnesota woman
One good thing happened to Molland on a Badfinger U.S. tour in 1970. After a gig in Fargo, the lads spent three days in Minneapolis visiting their agents at Variety Artists. Molland met his future wife, Kathie, bonding over a long dinner at the old Nankin restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.
"I wanted to be married and have kids," said Molland, who lives in Hopkins, his late wife's hometown. "My brothers all got married before me. My mum and dad were married forever. Kathie and I were married for 37 years."
Molland has dealt with the death of dear ones at a young age, including his wife in 2009.