The latest in a series of posts wherein I feature a half-dozen or maybe six tunes by a band I dig. (I cheated a little bit here and threw in a bonus tune that you may not know on the Spotify list.)
Of all the meat and potatoes bands that came out of England, Bad Company is definitely right up there. A little bit of history culled from their web page:
After Paul Rodger’s band, Free went belly up, he got together with Mott the Hoople’s guitarist Mick Ralphs. They jammed on a few tunes and Ralphs left Mott. They recruited King Crimson bassist/vocalist Boz Burrell, added drummer Simon Kirke. The derivation of their name?
Per Wikipedia: “Contrary to speculation that singer Paul Rodgers named the band after the Jeff Bridges film Bad Company, Rodgers stated in an interview that the idea came from a book of Victorian morals that showed a picture of an innocent kid looking up at an unsavoury character leaning against a lamp post. The caption read “beware of bad company.”
Now, it’s not often that popular rock bands start a label and something comes of it. But in case you didn’t know or perhaps have forgotten, Bad Company was the first band signed to Led Zep’s now-defunct Swan Song label.
“I had to fight to get the management and the record company to accept the name Bad Company,” explains Rodgers. “They thought it was a terrible name. Zep’s manager Peter Grant called a meeting and the band met beforehand. I told them that I had been through this before with Free as Island Records had wanted to call us the Heavy Metal Kids.
We agreed to go in and tell them that we were going to be called Bad Company and that was the end of the story. As soon as Peter heard how strongly I felt about the name, he became very supportive, and together we turned the record company around.” (It’s a great fucking name. I mean, Led Zeppelin isn’t a dopey name? C’mon guys – ME).
The band released its eponymous debut album in late 1973. This was a great era for music as blues-rock was still all over the radio. Punk-rock had yet to take hold and the aberration known as disco was still several years in the future.
So, let’s go. How can I not kick this thing off with the great Mick Ralphs-penned “Can’t Get Enough?” I can easily say this is one of my favorite rock tunes ever. Weirdly, the song is played in open C tuning on the guitar. And boy do I love that orgasmic place in the guitar solo at 2:04. I love all kinds of music but THIS is where I go for my meat and potatoes. And my pudding. How can you have any pudding when you don’t eat your meat?
From their second album comes “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad.” While the guys are always ready for love, they recognize that it does not always go as smoothly as one might like.
Speaking of Paul Rodgers, let us now praise him. I did a post a while back doing just that. Is he not one of the greatest rock singers of all time? Unlike a lot of singers in rock, I don’t hear him aspiring to “sound black” or sound like anything other than he is. He brings it every time.
Most of my favorite tunes of this band are from their early years. Also if you’re looking for stuff like “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “Silver Blue and Gold,” “Rock and Roll Fantasy,” look elsewhere. Never much liked ’em.
Back to that debut album. Here’s “Movin’ On,” a tribute to (or perhaps lament about) life as a working musician:
I get up in the morning and it’s just another day
Pack up my belongings, I’ve got to get away
Jump into a taxi and the time is gettin’ tight
I got to keep on movin’ I got a show tonight
And I’m movin’ on, movin’ on from town to town
Movin’ on, baby, yeah I’m never touchin’ the ground
Bad Company became pretty successful. Again, timing is everything. Today you’re better off if you can scratch a turntable or perhaps sing to a pre-recorded track while you have a bunch of people on stage who dance.
Here’s the title tune from a movie I would like to see fellow blogger CB direct one day. He seems to be a pretty knowledgeable movie guy. And “Bad Company” could be his theme for an imaginary western:
Here’s the band live at Wobbly in 2011: Mick Ralphs shows off his chops.
The guys in Bad Company are always ready for some action be it that they “Feel Like Makin’ Love” or they are, in fact, “Ready For Love.” Love the piano in this (Mich Ralphs again):
I wasn’t aware of this but most of the core members of Bad Company are still in the band. (We lost bassist Boz Burrell a few years ago to a heart attack.) According to their website, their last gig was in October 2019 in Vegas with Lynyrd Skynrd, surely an event worth putting on one’s rock and roll shoes for. When this fucking COVID thing is over and they are (hopefully) touring again, I think I’ll grab Sonny Boy and check them out.
In the meantime, I will do what I always do which is to “Rock Steady.” This is one nasty lick: