“Badge” is a song performed by British rock music group Cream. It was written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison and was included as a track on Cream’s final album, Goodbye. Also issued as a single in March 1969, “Badge” peaked at number 18 in the United Kingdom and number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Badge” was originally an untitled track During the production transfer for the album Goodbye, the original music sheet was used to produce the liner notes and track listing. The only discernible word on the page was “bridge” (indicating the song’s bridge section). Due to Harrison’s handwriting, however, Clapton misread it as “badge”—and the song was titled soon thereafter.
Harrison remembered the story differently:
I helped Eric write “Badge” you know. Each of them had to come up with a song for that Goodbye Cream album and Eric didn’t have his written. We were working across from each other and I was writing the lyrics down and we came to the middle part so I wrote ‘Bridge.’ Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing – ‘What’s BADGE?’ he said. After that, Ringo [Starr] walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park. Common legends or misconceptions are that the name came about because its chord progression was B–A–D–G–E, (which it isn’t,) or simply because the notation of a guitar’s standard tuning (E–A–D–G–B–E) can be arranged to spell “Badge”.
In the US, Atco Records’ initial releases of Goodbye and of “Badge” as a single gave the song’s writing credit to Eric Clapton alone, with publishing the credit to Robert Stigwood’s company Casserole (BMI). Atco later corrected in 1969 with the release of Best of Cream, which lists both Clapton and George Harrison as the song’s authors. The UK single of “Badge” released by Polydor Records gave writing credit to both Clapton and Harrison, with publishing credit going to Dratleaf and Harrisongs Ltd. Since the early 1990s the writing credit has been listed as Clapton/Harrison with publishing credit going to E.C. Music, Ltd. and Harrisongs. Despite his alleged contribution to the song’s lyrics, Ringo Starr is not credited as a co-author of “Badge”.
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