'Breaking Bad' Finale's Badfinger Synch a Smash Success – While Respecting a Complex Legacy

“Baby Blue,” the Badfinger song that closed out the finale of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” on Sept. 29, sold 5,000 copies in a handful of hours after it aired, according to Soundscan.

It remained in iTunes’ top 20 throughout the two days following the airing of the “Breaking Bad” finale.

'Breaking Bad' Finale's Last Song Surges With 3,000% Sales Gain 

“One of the great things about the digital age is the immediate results,” says Bruce Resnikoff, president of Universal Music Enterprises, the catalog division that oversees Badfinger’s four albums released on Apple Records. “We're trying to use social media to connect this song to the show and increase awareness to a wide market.”

“Baby Blue,” written by Badfinger leader Pete Ham, appeared on their late 1971 album “Straight Up” and was one of the band’s four top 40 hits, reaching No. 14 in 1972. Closely associated with the Beatles -- Paul McCartney wrote and produced their first hit, “Come and Get It,” for a film that starred Ringo Starr and George Harrison produced four tracks on “Straight Up” -- they recorded four albums for Apple Records before moving to Warner Bros.
 
The idea to use “Baby Blue” came from show creator Vince Gilligan, who wrote and directed the finale. Music supervisor Thomas Golubic submitted the request in June to “Breaking Bad” producer Sony Pictures Television, which went to Universal Music and Apple. Resnikoff says the synch was cleared in two days.
 
“We were not able to give detailed information,” Golubic says, noting that no plot information was given for any of the show’s finale eight episodes. Apple and Ham’s estate knew it was going to be used in the final scene, there was no on-screen violence, drug use, nudity or swearing.
 
“We really do feel we built up trust over a long time with labels and publishing companies and we’re not going to get them to give us a green light for a song and then pull the rug out from under them with something inappropriate,” Golubic says. “The (Ham) estate called and said they are absolutely thrilled with this use. The band had a really unfortunate and tragic back history” -- Ham and Tom Evans committed suicide after enduring financial and legal troubles -- “but what I find really nice is that these gifted artists who left the planet really early now get a chance to have some new life breathed into their song. For the estates involved and one remaining member (Joey Molland) I hope this is a nice smile that brings Badfinger back into public light. It’s a wonderful, wonderful song.”

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