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Bad Company is a british hard rock band with strong blues influences. They rose to prominence in the mid 70s, but have a career, which spans over 4 decades. The band derived it’s name from a 70s Western film and are in many ways considered a supergroup.
Bad Company’s roots spread across 4 different bands. Two of it’s members Paul Rodgers (singer) and Simon Kirke (drummer) made up half of Free, the group’s guitarist Mick Ralphs was previously in Mott the Hoople and their bassist Boz Burrell was recruited from King Crimson. Their manger Peter Grant also managed Led Zeppelin, a group who is one of Bad Company’s greatest influences. Bad Company also drew inspiration from proto-metal bands like Steppenwolf as well as formative electric blues figures such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf; however, their sound was more akin to acts like Nazareth or Thin Lizzy.
The group formed in 1973 and shortly after signed to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song vanity label, making them the first group to do so. Their self-titled debut came out in 1974 and did exceptionally well in the market. It topped the US Billboard 200 and since it’s release has been certified platinum 5 times over, becoming the 46th best selling album of the 70s. The album also made a big impact in the UK, staying on the charts for 25 weeks peaking at No. 3.
This album boosted Bad Company into stardom and seemingly spawned a growth of creativity as they produced 3 more albums at a yearly rate. Their sophomore release “Straight Shooter” entered both the UK and US charts at No. 3, their 3rd album “Run With the Pack” peaked at No. 4 in the UK and No. 5 in the US and their 4th album “Burnin’ Sky” did significantly worse comparative to it predecessors but nevertheless entered the charts at an impressive No.15 in the US and No.17 in the UK.
The group’s 1979 album “Desolation Angeles” abandoned the hard edge sound and grit of their previous releases, swapping sharp distorted guitars for string arrangements and synthesizers. This marked the band’s return to chart domination as the album rose to No. 3 in the US and No. 10 in the UK.
Bad Company had a rough start in the 80s. They lost interest in touring and their longtime manager Peter Grant quit managing after the passing away of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The group took a break from recording, but returned 3 years later with “Rough Diamonds”, which would be the last album they recorded together as the original lineup. Despite the audience’s anticipation of their return “Rough Diamonds” was the worst selling album the band had yet released.
Not long after this release, Rodgers and Burrell left the band. It was later revived by Ralphs and Kirke and featured a new lineup, featuring Ted Nugent’s vocalist Brian Howe. It took a while for the revisionary group to catch on. Their album “Fame & Fortune” was commercially unsuccessful, sporting a title that seemed to mock them. However they picked up momentum with their follow up album “Dangerous Age” and were back on track with their 1990 release “Holy Water”, which featured the top 20 hit “If You Need Someone”. Bad Compony’s success seemed to be on an exponential incline as their next album “Here Comes Trouble” reached platinum status and produced the hit “How About That”. A year later the band added bassist Rick Willis and rhythm guitarist Dave Coldwell.
After the group issued their live album “Best of Bad Company Live...What You Hear Is What You Get” they put out 2 more studio albums in the 90s: 1995s “Company of Strangers” and 1996s “Stories Told & Untold”.
Though Bad Company has not released any albums in the 2000s they continued touring, many dates alongside acts like David Lee Roth, Styx, Billy Squier, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.