Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#630 in the Series) is self-titled debut from Bad Company
The year was 1974 and the musical landscape as far as the charts were concerned was a saccharine heavy peppering of Crosby Stills and Nash, The Eagles, and Carole King, full of laid back California Soul that was about as dangerous and edgy as Peter Frampton, and much like Cliff Richard was very close to exceeding its shelf life. It was during this time that hard rock & heavy metal was very much like that green, leafy, combustible substance, it was something I really wanted, but did not necessarily know how to go about getting it. I could not find it on the charts and had to settle for the gateway drugs of “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting” and Bread’s horrific “Mother Freedom”. Believe it not, this was considered harder rock back in the day.
Thank goodness my older sister was one of those kids that hung out in the smoking section and vicariously exposed me to Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. While I was in my room listening to my new K-Tel record she had her black light and lava lamps going and was rumbling the wall between our rooms with “Iron Man”, “My Woman From Tokyo”, and “The Pusher”. It was like being a prisoner on Alcatraz. I could see, or in this case hear, everyone on the mainland whooping it up having a great time while I was trapped on an island with a “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, hanging out with “Sweet Baby James”, and riding “A Horse with no Name”. The horror of it all.
Musical salvation thankfully arrived with the Eponymous release Bad Co. by the super group Bad Company that consisted of Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke from the band Free, Mick Ralphs of Mott the Hoople and Boz Burrell, bassist for King Crimson. The resulting band put the rock back in Rock & Roll as far I was concerned and set the blues rock template that was to be brilliantly followed by the likes of Tom Petty, the mid 70’s sound of Grand Funk Railroad, and even to some extent Boston and Lynyrd Skynyrd, just listen to the opening riffs of “Rock Steady” and tell me there was no influence.
Paul Rodgers, right there on the Mount Rushmore of hard rock and heavy metal singers alongside Ian Gillan, David Coverdale, and Ronnie James Dio, already had his stamp punched to the classic rock radio hall of fame with “All Right Now”, a song that showed off his musical chops in the sixties with as much gritty power and punch as he demonstrated during his recent short lived one album tenure as the Freddie Mercury replacing lead singer for Queen, showing his voice is still a powerful force of nature even after 40 years.
The album Bad Co. reached number 1 on the Billboard Charts with “Can’t Get Enough” reaching number 5 and “Movin’ On” peaking at number 19. While this album may have seemed somewhat primitive in nature at the time of its release, the 1-2-3 power chord intro of “I Can’t Get Enough of Your “love”, the song that introduced us to Bad Company and good old listener accessible hard driving Rock & Roll, provided an immediate rush and sent an immediate, clear message that the cavalry was on its way to get us out of the musical doldrums. For people that were too afraid or our parents would not let us listen to Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio, this voice was different from the mellow crooning of James Taylor, Don Henley or even Elton John. This was bluesy, soulful sounding with an edge that we had been looking for, and desperately.
Just take a look at the albums that were in the top 10 at the time Bad Co. was number 1: Elton John – Caribou / Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells / Paul McCartney – Band on the Run / The Carpenters – The Singles / David Bowie – Diamond Dogs /Gary Glitter – Remember Me This Way /R. Wakeman – Journey to the Centre of the Earth /Sparks – Kimona My House / Alan Price – Between Today and Yesterday
The hardest this list rocks is with Diamond Dogs, and this would not be considered hard rock under anybody’s estimation. At just under 35 minutes this album is almost the perfect length with each of the 8 songs standing tall on their own. Sure there are the hits, “Can’t Get Enough of your Love”, “Rock Steady”, and “Ready for Love” has good an opening trio of songs as you will find on anyone’s debut album, with the two closing songs “Movin’ On” and “Seagull” that were hit singles in their own right. Add to this the fact that the somewhat obscure “Way I Choose” that could very well be the first real power ballad and you get a timeless effort by a timeless band and a peerless voice.
— Jeremy Wren
- “Can’t Get Enough” (Mick Ralphs) – 4:16
- “Rock Steady” (Paul Rodgers) – 3:46
- “Ready for Love” (Ralphs) – 5:01
- “Don’t Let Me Down” (Rodgers, Ralphs) – 4:22
- “Bad Company” (Rodgers, Simon Kirke) – 4:50
- “The Way I Choose” (Rodgers) – 5:05
- “Movin’ On” (Ralphs) – 3:21
- “Seagull” (Rodgers, Ralphs) – 4:06
- Paul Rodgers – vocals, second guitar on “Can’t Get Enough”, piano on “Bad Company” and “Don’t Let Me Down”
- Mick Ralphs– guitar, keyboards on “Ready for Love”
- Simon Kirke – drums
- Boz Burrell – bass
- Sue Glover and Sunny Leslie – back up vocals on “Don’t Let Me Down”.
- Mel Collins – saxophones on “Don’t Let Me Down”
Here’s some additional Rock and Roll Albums that we’ve written about.