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It went well from the start. With Free in ashes, Rodgers and Kirk formed Bad Company and immediate hit pay dirt.
Bad Company never produced complex music. This was 4 on the floor done to a high standard. Of course, Paul Rodger’s could sing the ingredients from a packet of noodles and make it sound like a love song, which helped with commerciality
Add in Mick Ralph’s from Mott, Boz Burrell from King Crimson to the two Free lads and maybe it was no surprise that they had a hit album. Bad Co was built for American FM radio with it passionate vocals and effective instrumental expression It sold 5 million and was a #1 in USA and #3 in UK. They played a huge world tour. UK disc jockey, John Peel said for about five years that they put on the best show ever.
So they were stars from the start. The sophomore record Straight Shooter sold 3 million, but was halted at #3 both sides of the Atlantic. Run With The Pack made Top 5 and features Silver, Blue and Gold perhaps their best number. They could do no wrong it seemed.
But times were changing. Burnin' Sky got to 15 in USA and ‘only’ went gold. 1979’s Desolation Angels was a return to commercial success went to #3 and #10 in the UK, but the band felt less vital. I saw them on that tour, they were good but perhaps a little too in love with being rock stars.
It was 1982 before the next release. The last with Rodgers, Rough Diamonds got to 26 in America and 15 in UK. Electricland was the opening and best number. There followed a four year hiatus, then they reformed with Brian Howe singing. Burrell, was on board in theory, but a session man played bass. Fame and Fortune flopped. It didn’t chart in the UK and peaked at #106 in USA.
It was a solid AOR record. But the next record Dangerous Age was superb, went gold in America and got to #58. 1990’s Holy Water did even better, peaking at #35 in USA and selling a million as well as topping the AOR chart. Neither was anything like the classic band.
Two years later Here Comes Trouble ended Howe’s involvement and peaked at #40. Robert Hart replaced him for a final two records. It was a long way from the early days. There was a few live releases and Mick has not been well. But those early years were perhaps the very definition of Classic Rock. Their third release, Run With The Pack doesn’t always get the love it deserves. They remain a joyful punch of rock.