Brothers and sisters,
raise your hands and sing with me! Aleluuuuuuya! Yay, though
I walk through the valley of the shadow of boy bands, no vile formulaic
music do I fear. For there is always a classic rock band that we
can count on. A band that has stood the test of time. A band
who's riffs and compelling lyrics still light fires in the hearts of our
partying brethren. That band . . . I say that band . . . is the incomparable
Brothers and sisters, can I get an amen for Bad Company? Can I get
an amen for the British brothers who brought our "Rock & Roll Fantasies"
to life? And when life is hard, and teen refuse is all around, look
up and take heart. See our classic rock saviors come back from the
land of disbandment and into the light. Back into our homes and our
cities. Bigger, badder, and better than ever! Aleluuuuuuuya!
Why am I mounting
this pulpit to bring you the news? Because it was a truly religious
experience to see Bad Company in the summer of 2001. This is a band
that defined the rock of the 70s and in the year 2001, they are
still a lean, mean, rockin machine. They are survivors of the decades
of excess, clean, and as tight as any band I have ever seen. Paul
Rogers can still wail, and hold a sell out audience in his grasp with his
Don't tell me you
aren't interested in what musicians from the 70s have to offer. Musicians
don't think that way. They respect the pure foundations that have
been laid for them by the musicians of past decades. Sometimes I
get to feeling like the state of music today is a vast waste land of discordant
tones and primal screams. I long for the days when big guitar sounds,
British rock and discernible lyrics ruled the airwaves, and the world.
That is the classic rock realm. The land of epic power chords that
made you uncontrollably want to play air guitar! It is the land from
which I write.
nice sometimes to go back there and try to remember where you were or what
you were doing when you first heard the song "Running With The Pack," "Ready
For Love," or "Can't Get Enough." I, for one, learned to play guitar
while listening to the title track "Bad Company." That simple riff, so
powerful and forceful, was the embodiment of rock to me. Each power
chord placed in just the right spot to create an anthem for generations.
So where did it all
begin? The band, Bad Company (named after a Robert Benton western),
was formed in 1973 in London, England by Paul Rogers and drummer Simon
Kirke. They were joined by Mick Ralphs of Mott The Hoople and Boz
Burrell of King Crimson rounded things out on bass. They were a band
that shared the same record label and manager as Led Zeppelin, and with
their radio-ready songs and an eye towards the charts, they set out to
make a dent in the British and American music scenes.
group debuted in 1974 at the Newcastle Town Hall and put out their first
album "Bad Company," which went platinum (eventually five times over) in
the States with their debut single, "Can't Get Enough." It made the
US Top 10 and the UK Top 20. Bad Company followed up their initial
success with the 1975 release of the triple-platinum album Straight Shooter,
which contained the Top Ten smash ballad "Feel Like Makin' Love" which
also won a Grammy Award.
The wildly successful
"Run With The Pack" in 1976 was the band's third consecutive platinum seller,
fueled by the infectious Top 20 single success of the Coasters' classic
"Youngblood." Upon its release, it soared to number five in both the US
and the UK. With three albums under their belt, the explanation for
the group's success was their steady stream of first rate original material,
and Rogers and Ralphs were the band's writers. "I always thought it
was important for the group to have more than one writer," states Rodgers.
"If there was any competition between us, it was always friendly."
Sky" reached gold status in 1977, followed by the double-platinum "Desolation
Angels" in March 1979. After that, Bad Company gathered at Ridge Farm Studios
in Dorking, Surrey to record "Desolation Angels." "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy"
was the first track on the album and set the stage, going on to become
a gold selling classic. Another highlight of the album was "Oh Atlanta."
"That was Bad Company meets Little Feat," laughs Kirke. "We always
had a great time in Atlanta and I think you can hear a bit of the country
influence in that song."
The band, having
played for nearly a decade, that included relentless touring and recording,
reached a personal saturation level and a life altering decision was imminent.
According to Rodgers, "at this same time there came a point when I felt
the band and its commitments had completely overtaken my life. I needed
to get my feet on solid ground and spend some time watching my children
grow. I never left music, I left the band." After the release of the
Top 30 album "Rough Diamonds" in 1982, Rodgers left the band to take time
off and to eventually pursue a solo career. "Looking back, we stopped
at the right time," recalls Ralphs. "Paul wanted a break and truthfully
we all needed to stop. Bad Company had become bigger than us all and to
continue would have destroyed someone or something. From a business standpoint,
it was the wrong thing to do, but Paul's instinct was absolutely right."
In 1986, Kirke and
Ralphs resurrected the Bad Company
name. Over a six year span, from 1986 to 1992, this version of the band
released four albums including Fame and Fortune, Dangerous Age, the platinum
selling Holy Water and Here Comes Trouble. the band released two more albums,
1995's Company of Strangers and Stories Told and Untold in 1996. While
the music was always consistently well played and tours well attended,
nothing could replace the writing, stage presence and, of course, those
one-of-a-kind vocals that Rodgers brought to the equation. Fans and critics
alike began to clamor for a reunion of the original band and finally, it
happened when Rodgers got together with Kirke, Ralphs and Burrell in England
to hang out and record.
The long awaited
reunion came together in 1999 and saw the band not only complete a 30-date
U.S. tour that drew sellout crowds, but also oversee the release of the
acclaimed "Original Bad Company Anthology" that year as well, a dynamic
two-CD, 33-song overview of the band's career released on Elektra Records.
The compilation received significant radio and chart action, exemplifying
just how timeless Bad Company's music is.
2001 Touring Band:
Rogers - Vocals
Rogers - Guitar, vocals
Ralphs - Guitar
Burrell - Bass
Kirke - Drums
Career Album Discography:
The long awaited reunion came together
in 1999 and saw the band not only completed a 30-date US tour that drew
sellout crowds and much critical acclaim, but also the release of the Original
Bad Company Anthology that year as well. It was a dynamic two-CD, 33-song
overview of the band's career released on Elektra Records. It featured
six B-sides and out takes including "Easy On My Soul" and "Whiskey Bottle"
that were recorded during the Straight Shooter sessions along with an alternate
recording of "Do Right Woman."
Another previously unreleased track is
the Boz Burrell-composed "Smokin' 45"that was recorded during the "Burnin'
Sky" sessions. The Anthology also contains four new tracks including the
Anthology's two singles, new songs "Hey Hey" and "Hammer of Love," which
received significant radio and chart action exemplifying just how timeless
Bad Company's music is.
"We were influenced
by people like Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and, to a certain extent, the Beatles,"
explains Rodgers. "I don't think that Bad Company was particularly blues
influenced as a band, although I probably brought that in as I'm such a
huge blues fan. We were just trying to play what felt good and natural.
I think that is what gave us our identity as a band."
more information on the band
Bad Company Music.
Photos by Debbie Seagle Copyright
Quest Productions - All Rights Reserved - Debbie Seagle is the Special
Features Editor for the iconoFAN Network.