Bad Company Biography

This solid, highly acclaimed UK heavy rock outfit was formed in 1973, with a line-up comprising Paul Rodgers (17 December 1949, Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England; vocals), Simon Kirke (b. 28 July 1949, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England; vocals/drums), Mick Ralphs (b. Michael Geoffrey Ralphs, 31 May 1944, Hereford, Herefordshire, England; vocals/guitar) and Boz Burrell (b. Raymond Burrell, 1 August 1946, Lincolnshire, England, d. 21 September 2006, Marbella, Spain; bass, ex-King Crimson). With Ralphs (ex-Mott The Hoople) and Rodgers and Kirke (both ex-Free), Bad Company were akin to a blues-based supergroup, with much of their style derived from the traditions established by Free, not least because of Rodgers’ distinctive vocals. Their bestselling debut established their sound: strong vocals placed beside tough melody lines and hard riffing. A string of albums through the mid-70s brought them chart success on both sides of the Atlantic, while a series of arduous stadium tours maintained their reputation as an exemplary live act. They achieved singles success with a number of powerful songs (notably, ‘Can’t Get Enough’ and ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’), all well produced and faultlessly played, although lyrically they were often pedestrian.

A three-year hiatus ended with the release of Rough Diamonds, which provided Bad Company with another UK Top 20 album success. After nearly a decade of extensive gigging and regular albums, they finally dissolved in 1983, with Rodgers embarking on a solo career. A new version of the band, with former Ted Nugent vocalist Brian Howe replacing Rodgers, was assembled in 1986 for the reunion album Fame And Fortune. The band’s subsequent releases were mediocre, pale shadows of their first two albums.

The late 80s/early 90s Bad Company model revolved around surviving original members Ralphs and Kirke, and included bass player Rick Wills and rhythm guitarist Dave Colwell. They also enjoyed further US chart success with the singles ‘If You Needed Somebody’ (number 16, November 1990), ‘Walk Through Fire’ (number 28, August 1991) and ‘How About That’ (number 38, September 1992), and the platinum-selling Here Comes Trouble. Rodgers’ 1993 solo album, Muddy Waters Blues, included three vintage Bad Company tracks. The band continued recording into the late 90s with Company Of Strangers and Stories Told & Untold. They received further media coverage in 1999 when they announced a 25th anniversary tour. This was a little tenuous, because for most of that time they were not together as a band.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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