Personalities | Free | Seventies | Rock
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1968–71, 1972–73)
Comprising Paul Rodgers (vocals), Simon Kirke (drums), Paul Kossoff (guitar) and Andy Fraser (bass), Free made headlines in 1970. After two respected albums, Tons Of Sobs (1968) and Free (1969), had been promoted in Britain and, via a support slot to Eric Clapton’s supergroup Blind Faith, the States, their primal blues rock power made them the stars of the year’s Isle of Wight Festival. Hit single ‘All Right Now’ reached No. 2, and all looked set for lasting stardom.
But Highway (1970), a hurried follow-up to No. 2 hit album Fire And Water (1970), failed to break the UK Top 40, Kossoff’s drug problems spiralled, songwriters Rodgers and Fraser clashed and a potentially world-beating band limped to a sorry conclusion in 1973. Rodgers and Kirke, the only originals, continued in Bad Company, who stripped out the commercial aspects of Free’s raw blues and turned them into radio and stadium-friendly chest-beaters; Rodgers recently fronted a reformed Queen, while Kossoff died in 1976, one of British rock’s most grievously wasted talents.
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