Bad Company

  • British hard rock band, formed in 1973, from London England. The founding members from the 70s were Paul Rodgers (lead vocals, keyboards, guitars, songwriting), Mick Ralphs (lead guitar, backing vocals, songwriting), Boz Burrell (bass guitar, backing vocals, occasional songwriting) and Simon Kirke (drums, occasional songwriting).
  • Bad Company is one of the early “supergroups.” Rodgers and Kirke were members of the rock band Free (biggest hit – All Right Now), Ralphs was part of Mott the Hoople (famous for All The Young Dudes) and Burrell was from King Crimson. Rodgers initiated the new group when Free split up. He met Ralphs while at a jam session, and Ralphs decided to leave Mott the Hoople to form Bad Company. They recruited Burrell and Kirke, and the band was complete. Rodgers chose the name Bad Company, from a book that he was reading that had a picture of a child looking at an unsavory character, with the caption “beware of bad company.”
  • They were signed to Swan Songs Records, the first group signed to Led Zeppelin’s new label. Their debut album, the self-titled Bad Company, was released in 1994. It topped the album chart in the U.S., and reached #3 in the UK, with the single Can’t Get Enough peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Interestingly, the song Bad Company, one of their most well known songs and a staple of classic rock stations, never charted. The album was their first of 6 to be certified platinum – this one was their best seller, at 5x platinum.
  • They released 4 more albums from 1995 to 1999. Each sold well and charted highly. Top 20 hits from these records were Feel Like Makin’ Love, Young Blood and Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy. After this, the band grew weary of playing large stadiums, and their manager lost interest in managing them after the death of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. With their manager no longer motivating them, Bad Company lost interest in the band. They released 1 more album of studio music in 1982, and then disbanded.
  • In 1986, Bad Company reformed, though Rodgers was not available to contribute, as he was with a new supergroup, The Firm. Ralphs and Kirke replaced Rodgers with Brian Howe, and Burrell was replaced by Steve Price. Greg Dechert also joined on keyboards. Their first album with this lineup, Fame and Fortune, was full of keyboards and a departure from their hard rock sound. The album did not sell well, so they dropped Dechert and released 3 more albums from 1988 to 1992 that were a return to their guitar driven sound, and were more successful. Five songs from these albums cracked the top 10 of the Mainstream Rock chart, with Holy Water in 1990 and How About That in 1992 reaching #1 on the chart. Another single, If You Needed Somebody, went to #2, and was a top 20 song on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Howe left in 1994, and was replaced by Robert Hart. Hart’s vocal style was similar to Rodgers’, so he was popular with fans in concert. Two albums were released with Hart as the frontman – Company of Strangers in 1995 and Stories Told and Untold (re-recordings of earlier hits by the band, along with some new songs) in 1996. In 1998, Rodgers reunited with the 3 original members to record 4 new tracks that would be included in a compilation album called The ‘Original’ Bad Co. Anthology, released in 1999. They did a concert tour that year, after which Burrell and Ralphs retired. Kirke and Rodgers have continued to perform with various other artists in the group since 2001. In 2018, they performed several shows, including concerts with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Cheap Trick.
  • Classic rock fans consider Bad Company an essential part of 70s rock music. Rodgers’ distinctive vocals and their blues rock sound was instantly popular in the U.S. On lists of Bands Snubbed By the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, they are always included. Here’s a concert clip of the band performing Can’t Get Enough.

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