"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."
This statement was made in 1982, after Bad Company's sixth album, Rough Diamonds, was released. Mick Ralphs was explaining the breakup of this great supergroup of the 70's and 80's.
Bad Company was founded by Paul Rodgers, former vocalist for the group Free, in England in 1973. Along with Rodgers, Simon Kirke (drummer), also from Free, Mick Ralphs (guitarist) formerly of the group Mott the Hoople, and the bassist from King Crimson, Boz Burrell, formed one of the most well-known supergroups of the 70's and 80's. Rodgers reportedly named the group after one of his favorite movies, also named Bad Company. In addition, the movie was supposedly the inspiration for the group's first album and single.
In 1974 the group's self-titled debut album, Bad Company, was an instant, international hit. It traveled up Billboard's Pop Chart (North America) all the way to #1. In addition, it included a #5 single, Can't Get Enough, and a #19 single, Movin' On. Their second album, Straight Shooter (1975), also garnered the group a Billboard #1. It also had two hit singles, Good Lovin' Gone Bad and Feel Like Makin' Love.
In 1976 Bad Company planned a tour with the band Back Street Crawler to promote their album, Run With the Pack, Bad Company's first certified platinum record. The double headliner tour was supposed to begin in April 1976. Unfortunately, in March 1976, Back Street Crawler member, Paul Kossoff, died, cancelling the tour.
Burnin' Sky (1977) was the group's fourth, and poorest faring, album. In 1979 their album, Desolation Angels, fared much better, highlighting the group's use of strings and synthesizers. By the beginning of the 80's the band seemed to be burning themselves out. In addition, from it's inception until 1982 the group was managed by Peter Grant (Led Zepplin's manager). When Swan Song Records went under so did Bad Company's relationship with Grant. In 1982 the group released its sixth, and final, album Rough Diamonds, as the foursome Rodgers originally brought together.
By 1986 Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs decided to come back together, under Atlantic Records. The label wanted them to pick up where the group left off, resuming the identity of Bad Company. At the time Paul Rodgers was involved in another group, The Firm, and was unable to join them. Instead, they hired vocalist Brian Howe (Ted Nugent), bassist Steve Price, and keyboardist Greg Dechert.
In 1986 the new Bad Company released Fame and Fortune to nominal success, not even breaking the top 100. Howe was a very different vocalist, much more pop/rock, not as bluesy or full of soul as Rodgers voice.
The band released their next album, Dangerous Age, in 1988. This album returned the group back to their guitar origins. The group's next album, Holy Water (1990), was the most successful album they had released in a while with a Top 40 and certified platinum status.
The final album of this incarnation of the group was Here Comes Trouble (1992). It went gold but, the fan base was waning. They did release a live album, What You Hear is What You Get: The Best of Bad Company, in 1993. This included live recordings from the original group with Paul Rodgers and the second form of the group with Brian Howe. It sold very poorly.
The next incarnation of the group came in 1994, replacing Howe with Robert Hart of Distance. Hart's voice was much more comparable to Rodgers and the group's beginning. In 1995 they released Company of Strangers. They followed this up with 1996's Stories Told and Untold. Both of these albums had very poor showings.
In 1998 Rodgers rejoined the other three original members of the group to record four new tracks which were included in the compilation project, The Original Bad Company Anthology, released in 1999. The tour which followed played to sold out crowds. Many of whom no doubt have downloaded many of the group's songs as mp3 music downloads.
In 2002 Bad Company went back on hiatus and Rodgers left to pursue his solo career yet again. In 2005 Inside Bad Company 1974-1982 was released on DVD. It was not an authorized release or documentary. Also in 2005 Rodgers began touring with Queen and performing Bad Company songs. A 24 carat gold limited edition CD of their first album, Bad Company, was released in 2006.
Recent Comings and Goings
In August 2008 the original remaining members, Boz Burrell died in 2006, performed at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida. They then went on to play 10 US shows during the summer of 2009 and in April 2010 they are scheduled to perform 8 shows in the UK.
Did you know that...
- ...Paul Rodgers sang lead for Queen at one time.
- ...there is a movie named Bad Company.