Tuesday Night Music Byte
Bad Company are an English hard rock supergroup founded in 1973, consisting of band members from Free (Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke), Mott the Hoople (Mick Ralphs), and King Crimson (Boz Burrell). Bad Company enjoyed great success throughout the 1970s. They were managed by Peter Grant, who had also guided Led Zeppelin to massive success.
Singer Paul Rodgers was so enamoured of the film Bad Company that he chose to name his band after it. The film was also purportedly the inspiration for the band’s eponymous album and breakthrough single.
The 1974 debut album Bad Company was an international hit, with the group considered one of the 1970s’ first supergroups. Bad Company consisted of four seasoned musicians: two former members of Free, singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke; former Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs; and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. The group was managed by Peter Grant, who also managed Led Zeppelin at the time and would manage Bad Company until 1982, when Swan Song Records folded. The album peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart (North America) and included two singles that reached the top 20 charts, “Can’t Get Enough” at #5 in 1974 and “Movin’ On” at #19 in early 1975. In 1975, Straight Shooter gave the group another #1 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart. The album also spawned two hit singles, “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” at #36 and the slower “Feel Like Makin’ Love” at #10.
Bad Company scheduled a British tour, along with the band of former Free member Paul Kossoff, Back Street Crawler, to support Bad Company’s 1975 album Run With the Pack as well as a new album by Back Street Crawler. This double headline tour was scheduled to commence on 25 April 1976, but was halted due to Kossoff’s death on 19 March 1976.
Run With the Pack was Bad Company’s first Platinum certified album. The third consecutive million-selling record, reaching #5 on the Billboard chart and featured the hit “Young Blood” that peaked at #20 on the Pop charts.
1977’s Burnin’ Sky fared the poorest of the first four that charted: the album’s title song, “Burnin’ Sky”, which reached #78 on the Pop charts. 1979’s Desolation Angels fared better than its predecessor and gave the band their first Top 5 Platinum selling album since 1976’s album Run With the Pack. Desolation Angels embellished the group’s sound with synthesisers and strings. The album reached #3 on the Billboard charts and again had two charting singles: “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” at #13 and “Gone Gone Gone” at #56.
By the end of the 1970s, the band grew increasingly disenchanted with playing large stadiums. In addition, Peter Grant lost interest in the group, and in management generally, after Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died on 25 September 1980. In the words of Simon Kirke, “Peter was definitely the glue which held us all together and in his absence we came apart”. (Reportedly, Paul Rodgers—who has a black belt in martial arts—was involved in a rather one-sided physical altercation with Boz Burrell and Mick Ralphs.)
A three-year hiatus from the studio ended with the release of Rough Diamonds in 1982. This would be the sixth and final LP in the group’s original incarnation until four new songs were recorded in 1998. The album was the worst selling Bad Company album of those that had Paul Rodgers as the front man. The album peaked at #26 and featured “Electricland” (#74), that reached #2 on the newly created Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
After the release of Rough Diamonds, they disbanded. Mick Ralphs said, “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”.
Despite being famous for their live shows packing the largest stadiums for almost a decade, Bad Company did not release an official live album of performances from this time period until the 2006 album Live in Albuquerque 1976. The recordings were made by Mick Ralphs, who regularly taped the group’s shows, utilizing them as a tool to finely tune their set and performances. Bootlegs of Bad Company’s live performances from this period were also available, including “Boblingen Live” (1974), “Live in Japan” (1975) and “Shooting Star Live at the L.A. Forum” (1975).
Please enjoy this video clip of Bad Company performing “Can’t Get Enough” in 1974…