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Bad Company is a British rock band that emerged in the 1970s and became one of the most influential and successful rock acts of its era.
Formed in 1973, the band's original lineup consisted of four talented musicians, each of whom had a strong pedigree in the world of rock music. The founding members were Paul Rodgers (vocals), Mick Ralphs (guitar), Boz Burrell (bass), and Simon Kirke (drums).
Here's a detailed history of Bad Company:
1. Formation and Early Years (1973-1974):
Bad Company's story begins when its members came together from different renowned rock bands. Paul Rodgers, the charismatic frontman, had previously been the lead singer of Free, a successful British blues-rock band. Mick Ralphs had been the guitarist for Mott the Hoople, Boz Burrell was known for his work with King Crimson, and Simon Kirke was the drummer for Free.
The band's name, "Bad Company," was inspired by the 1972 film of the same name. They signed with Led Zeppelin's newly formed record label, Swan Song Records, and released their self-titled debut album in 1974. The album was an immediate commercial success, featuring hit singles like "Can't Get Enough" and "Bad Company." The record went on to achieve platinum status in the United States.
2. Continued Success (1975-1976):
Bad Company followed up their debut with "Straight Shooter" in 1975, which included hits like "Feel Like Makin' Love" and "Shooting Star." The album was a major commercial success, reaching multi-platinum status and solidifying the band's position in the rock music scene.
3. Lineup Changes and Shift in Sound (1977-1979):
In 1977, Bad Company experienced its first significant lineup change when Boz Burrell left the band, and was replaced by ex-Free bassist, Rick Wills. The band also experimented with a more polished sound on their album "Burnin' Sky" (1977) and "Desolation Angels" (1979). These albums featured a departure from their bluesy rock roots, incorporating elements of pop and arena rock.
4. Decline and Hiatus (1980s-1990s):
Throughout the 1980s, Bad Company faced a decline in popularity and commercial success, partly due to changing musical trends and internal conflicts. The band disbanded in 1982, and its members pursued solo projects and other collaborations. Paul Rodgers, in particular, had a successful solo career.
5. Reunion and Later Years (2000s-Present):
Bad Company reformed in the late 1990s, with the original lineup of Rodgers, Ralphs, Kirke, and Burrell. They released a live album titled "In Concert: Merchants of Cool" in 2002 and continued to tour successfully. Tragically, Boz Burrell passed away in 2006.
The band has continued to tour and record with different bassists in Burrell's absence. Todd Ronning, formerly of The Paul Rodgers Band, took on the bassist role for a time. Bad Company released "Stories Told & Untold" in 1996, "Company of Strangers" in 1999, and "Live in Albuquerque 1976" in 2016.
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Bad Company remained an active touring act, often performing as part of classic rock package tours alongside other iconic bands of the era.
Bad Company's enduring legacy lies in their blues-infused rock sound and memorable hits from the 1970s, which continue to be celebrated by fans of classic rock. They are remembered as one of the seminal bands of their generation and have left an indelible mark on the history of rock music.