As a demo, "No Matter What" was originally recorded by Ham on acoustic guitar and performed with a mambo beat (as heard on the posthumous Ham solo CD 7 Park Avenue). A similar sound to the original demo can be heard on an album track from their next album Straight Up called "Perfection". A rough, rockier version of the song was recorded by Badfinger in March 1970 and produced by Mal Evans. The song was recorded again by the band in April 1970 at Abbey Road Studios and it was this version that would appear on the album and single.
Although the song and recording was a favourite of Badfinger's shortly after it was recorded, the hierarchy at Apple reportedly was not inclined to release it in any format. It was not until Al Steckler, the American director of Apple in New York, heard the tape in the summer of 1970 and considered it a strong entry by the band that it was slotted for the upcoming LP and as a single release.
This song is also noted for its false ending, after the final chorus, where after, a short pause, the song repeats the last line twice before its final ending chord.
In the United States, the single was released with the Tom Evans–Pete Ham song "Carry On Till Tomorrow", the theme song for the movie The Magic Christian, as the B-side. This was an edited version of the recording that appeared on Badfinger's previous album, Magic Christian Music. In all other countries, the single was backed with the Tom Evans–Joey Molland song "Better Days", which also appeared on No Dice.
It was the band's first UK Top 10 single to be composed by Badfinger, reaching number 5 in the UK in January 1971. In the US it peaked at number 8 on Billboard Hot 100. In South Africa it topped the charts. The band also scored with "Come and Get It", number 4 in the UK in January 1970, which was composed by Paul McCartney, and "Day After Day", number 10 in the UK in January 1972.
The song is notable for being one of the first successful records associated with the power pop sound, utilising all of the elements attributed to the genre. A subsequent single released by Badfinger, "Baby Blue" (Billboard number 14, 1972), along with several album tracks in a similar vein, succeeded in categorising the band themselves as power pop.
- Wayne's World 2, 1993 (the song was later edited out due to lack of publishing clearances)
- Now and Then, 1995
- Outside Providence, 1999
- The In-Laws, 2003
- Will & Grace, 2003 (television program)
- 20th Century Boys (manga)
- Jellyfish - live recording, 12-inch single promoting the Bellybutton album (1990)
- The Sea Urchins - B-side for the 12" for "Please Don't Cry" (1991)
- Lillian Axe - for the album Poetic Justice (1992)
- The Knack - for the album Come And Get It: A Tribute To Badfinger (1996)
- Dogstar - for the album Our Little Visionary (1996)
- Gregg Bissonette - for the album Gregg Bissonette (1998)
- Jars of Clay - for the live EP Front Yard Luge (1999)
- A - recorded for the soundtrack of the Rob Schneider movie The Animal (2001)
- Plus Ones - for the album Going Dutch (2001)
- Great White - for the album Recover (2002)
- R.E.M. (Mike Mills on vocals) - from the fanclub Xmas single (2002)
- Retros - for the album Undercover (2004)
- The Clarks - for the album Between Now And Then (2005)
- Def Leppard - released as a single in 2005, and also appears on the albums Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection, (2005) and Yeah! (2006)
- Marc Cohn (w/ Aimee Mann) - for Listening Booth: 1970 (2010)
- Riverdogs - for the live album World Gone Mad (2011)