They were signed to Led Zeppelin’s label Swan Song.
You had Paul Rodgers from Free on vocals, Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople on guitar, Simon Kirke from Free on drums and Boz Burrell who did some time as a solo artist and with King Crimson on bass,
The soundtrack they created for a generation.
I got these albums in the 90s from various second hand record shops, so when I started digging into them it was like brand new because apart from the singles, I didn’t really know much else.
The self titled debut dropped in 1974. I also got the CD for this sometime in the early 2000’s.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH
It’s on compilations like Best Drinking Songs and Best Driving Songs here in Australia and it was still on radio in the 80s.
It was the song that hooked people in.
That slithering Intro riff; it’s dripping venom.
READY FOR LOVE
It percolates until it doesn’t.
DON’T LET ME DOWN
It’s like soul and rock had a child and this is it.
“The Boys Are Back In Town” had a similar theme about wild eyed boys coming back into town.
Here it’s darker, more moody and atmospheric as the outlaw and his crew come back into town.
And how good is that chorus line, “they call me bad company and I can’t deny.”
The sound, the riff and the hopeful energy vibe as we move on from town to town.
There is a lot of variation on this album and it’s why bands like Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Toto and Styx hold a special place for people.
And what a great analogy, about how we can just fly away like a seagull without being asked who we are and where we are from.
The follow up, “Straight Shooter” dropped a year later.
GOOD LOVIN’ GONE BAD
The riff to kick it off. How good is it?
Bad Company grabbed my attention from the outset.
FEEL LIKE MAKIN’ LOVE
And with this, they blew up even bigger.
This song has everything from the acoustic folk guitar, to that melancholic vocal melody and the power chords exploding in the chorus.
And I love the way it goes “Feel like makin’”
and then the guitar and drums and bass smash out some power chords (like de-d-der) and then “Feel like makin’ love” comes in and then the guitars, bass and drums smash around again.
About Johnny the schoolboy who heard his first Beatles song and the rest is history.
And the world will love him as long as he’s a star. But as Jon Oliva from Savatage sang, once the crowds are gone, then what.
DEAL WITH THE PREACHER
It’s about that tiptoeing through the darkness guitar riff. And those arpeggios in the chorus. It’s that variation again, fusing different styles.
WILD FIRE WOMAN
That vocal line when Paul Rodgers sings;
“Wild fire shooting through my veins
Burns a fever to my brain
Wild fire woman, something you got
I start to shiver when you do that
Do that baby”
Listen to it and you’ll know what I mean.
“Run With The Pack” dropped in 1976. Not as solid as the first two but still enough quality to get people’s attention.
LIVE FOR THE MUSIC
The chord and a vocal line, the chord again and another vocal line. And that funky riff in the chorus.
“But when the nighttime comes I’m ready to rock”
Like Slaughter’s “Up All Night”. Which has the same theme.
The way the song just rolls after those opening arpeggios.
It’s an anthem. So many good lyrical lines like;
“I’m just a simple man trying to be free”
“Freedom is the only thing that means a damn to me”
RUN WITH THE PACK
The slow down in the chorus. Listen to it especially when the violins come in towards the end.
They tried to rewrite “Bad Company” and they did a good job with it. It has enough variation to make it sound unique.
Album number 4, “Burnin’ Sky” dropped in 1977. I don’t own it but wanted to mention the tracks below.
The pounding beat, that “Wishing Well” theme in the Chorus, the funky bass in the verses and Paul Rodgers wailing away while Mick Ralph’s takes a flanged/phased solo.
This is is Bad Company, when each band member had their home in the song. Their own special place.
The guitars on this song.
And there are some other good moments like the intro in “Like Water” and “Everything I Need” is no different to “Since You’ve Been Gone” to “Louie Louie” to “I Need A Lover” and I like it.
Album number five, “Desolation Angels” released in 1979 is a favourite.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FANTASY
The first track and that guitar groove, with the bass, which sounds like the riff that Kip Winger used for “Cant Get Enough” many years later.
An acoustic track. It’s that variation again.
GONE, GONE, GONE
More variation from song to song. And that riff.
And even more variation, with a different groove and a commanding vocal performance from Paul Rodgers.
EARLY IN THE MORNING
One of the best guitar intros from the band before it morphs into a Beatles like dreamy song.
LONELY FOR YOUR LOVE
It’s like Rodgers was listening to Bon Scott because he definitely brings it.
Album number six “Rough Diamonds” and the last studio album with the classic lineup.
It was a miracle that it happened. Their manager went missing in action and band members preferred to punch each other out than write songs with each other.
“Electricland”, “Untie The Knot” and “Painted Face” were all good listens but they are not good enough to replace a past song in the set list.
And the band split, until it reformed with a different singer in Brian Howe and started having hits again.
But there is no denying the power of the original line up.
that’s why they call me…..