The only thing super about most supergroups is their title. Bad Company was an exception. Together, Free singer Paul Rodgers, Mott the Hopple guitarist Mick Ralphs, Free drummer Simon Kirke, and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrel formed one of the best British bands to come out of the 1970s. The type of rock they specialized in was always hot, heavy, and hard. There was no excess, no production trickery, and god forbid, no nods to prog. it was rock and roll at its most elemental, with a churning menace and a swaggering machoism that ended up defining ’70s album rock. These are the 10 best Bad Company songs of all time.
10. Burnin’ Sky
Right from the opening thundercrack, Burnin’ Sky sizzles with a dark, ominous menace. The lyrics were actually written on the hoof: Paul Rodgers hit the studio with chords and some basic ideas for the chorus, but still hadn’t written a word to go with them. The band recorded the song in one take and Rodgers’ made up the lyrics as he went along. In the hands of a lesser band, that could have been disastrous. in the hands of Bad Company, it was epic.
Compared to their earlier efforts, the original quartet’s final album, Rough Diamonds, was a letdown. Not in its entirety though – dig through the dross, and there’s still plenty of gems to be mined. Electricland is a laid-back stunner, with a smooth performance from Rodgers and some gorgeously mellow guitar from Mick Ralphs. The band never quite managed to replicate their 70s success after this, but it was magic while it lasted.
8. Silver, Blue and Gold
As ultimateclassicrock.com notes, Silver, Blue and Gold may never have been released as a single but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a firm fan favorite. The theme of the lyrics might be a little predictable (good love goes bad, spurned lover longs for a return to the good times) but there’s nothing predictable about Rodger’s soulful crooning,
7. Ready For Love
Ready for Love was first recorded by Mick Ralphs during his time with Mott the Hoople. Bad Company’s version is moodier and more macho than the original, with Rodgers injecting a whole lot of swagger into the lyrics with his soulful pipes. Like all of Bad Company’s best songs, Ready For Love is an exercise in simplicity. There are no winding jams and no unnecessary flourishes – it’s just the sound of four guys getting down to business and delivering some straight-shooting, classic rock and roll.
6. Good Lovin’ Gone Bad
Good Lovin’ Gone Bad is a raucous, chest-beating piece of rock and roll about the confusion of being in a relationship with a flighty woman. Dripping in barroom swagger, it delivers some incredibly soulful crooning from Rodgers and some equally effective riffs from Ralphs. Released as the lead track and first single from Bad Company’s 2nd album Straight Shooter, it cemented the band’s reputation as rock goods and proved that whatever else their debut album had been, it was no fluke.
5. Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy
Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy is a little bit funky, a little bit flashy, and as sharp as a tack. Written about life as a rock and roll star, it didn’t give the band their highest charting position, but it did end up selling more copies than any other single, certifying Gold by the RIAA.
4. Can’t Get Enough
As Louder Sound writes, Can’t Get Enough is one of the most recognized songs both of Bad Company’s career and of the era it came from. The first song of the band’s first album introduced us to a band that sounded as confident in their abilities as Rodgers was in landing the girl (“well, I take whatever I want / and baby, I want you.”) Built around a classic blues melody, a shuffling riff, and a flawless vocal, it gave the band their highest charting position and one of their most enduringly popular songs.
3. Shooting Star
As rocksoffmag.com writes, Shooting Star was never released as a single, but it still managed to become of the band’s most popular songs. Written at a time when addiction was claiming more and more lives in the music industry, often at a tragically young age, it chronicles the rise and fall of a rock star, a shooting star whose light gets snuffed out by a bottle of whiskey and some sleeping pills.
2. Feel Like Makin’ Love
Straight Shooter produced a ton of hits, with Feel Like Makin’ Love ranking as one of the biggest and best. Rodgers had started writing the lyrics years before while he was still touring with Free. When he played it to the rest of the band, Mick Ralphs threw in a stupendous guitar pattern that instantly transformed the song from an unremarkable country ballad into a fist-pumping rocker. Released in 1975, it landed the band a No.10 in the US and a No. 20 in the UK.
1. Bad Company
It’s long been rumored that Paul Rodgers named Bad Company after the Jeff Bridges film of the same name. According to the man himself, the inspiration actually came from a book of Victorian morals, which shows a picture of a child looking up at a ne’er-do-well leaning against a lamppost with the caption “beware of bad company.” Rodgers thought it made a good name for a band; the band’s management and record company disagreed. Rodgers eventually got his own way. In something of a middle-fingered salute to the suits who’d told it was a ‘terrible name,’ he also decided to use it as the title for the band’s debut album and its lead song. With its western theme and its iconic piano opening, Bad Company fast became the band’s signature tune. It was little short of monumental, creating a new template for blues-rock that resonates just as much today as it did back in 1975.