Tag Archives: Bad Company

Bad Company ~ Bad Company

bad-companyBad Company are an English hard rock supergroup formed in Westminster, London, in 1973 by two former Free band members—singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke—as well as Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. Peter Grant, who managed the rock band Led Zeppelin, also managed Bad Company until 1982.

Bad Company enjoyed great success throughout the 1970s. Their first three albums, Bad Company (1974), Straight Shooter (1975), and Run With the Pack (1976), reached the top five in the album charts in both the UK and US. Many of their singles, such as “Bad Company”, “Can’t Get Enough”, “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad”, and “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, remain staples of classic rock radio.

There was a rumour that singer Paul Rodgers was so enamored with the Jeff Bridges film Bad Company that he chose to name his band after it, but Rodgers, in an interview with Spinner.com, explained that the idea came from a book of Victorian morals that showed a picture of an innocent kid looking up at an unsavory character leaning against a lamppost. The caption read “beware of bad company”.

Bad Company consisted of four seasoned musicians: two former members of Free, singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke; former Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs; and ex-King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. The band signed to Swan Song Records/Atlantic Records in North America, and with Island Records in other countries. (Island Records had until that time been the UK home to both Free and King Crimson, as well as to Mott the Hoople for their first four albums; Atlantic, in turn, released King Crimson’s and Mott’s early albums in the US through a licensing agreement with Island). Atlantic/Warner Music would later acquire the non-North American rights to the band’s catalogue.

The band’s 1974 debut album Bad Company was recorded at Headley Grange, Hampshire in Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 in the US, and number 3 in the UK Albums Chart, spending 25 weeks in the UK charts. The album has been certified five times platinum in the US, and became the 46th–best-selling album of the 1970s. The singles “Can’t Get Enough” and “Movin’ On” reached No. 5 and No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1975 their second album, Straight Shooter, reached No. 3 in both the UK and the US, and also went platinum in the US. The album also spawned two hit singles, “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” at No. 36 and the slower “Feel Like Makin’ Love” at No. 10.

Their third album, Run With the Pack was released in 1976 and reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 5 in the US. Bad Company scheduled a British tour with the band of former Free member Paul Kossoff, Back Street Crawler, to support the album, as well as a new album by Back Street Crawler. This double headline tour was scheduled to commence on 25 April 1976 but was halted due to Kossoff’s death on 19 March 1976.

1977’s Burnin’ Sky fared the poorest of their first four records, reaching No. 15 in the US and No. 17 in the UK. 1979’s Desolation Angels did better than its predecessor, peaking at No. 3 in the US and No. 10 in the UK. Desolation Angelsalso embellished the group’s sound with synthesisers and strings. It had two charting singles: “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” at No. 13 and “Gone Gone Gone” at No. 56.

By the end of the 1970s, however, the band grew increasingly disenchanted with playing large stadiums. In addition, Peter Grant lost interest in the group and management in general after Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died on 25 September 1980. In the words of Simon Kirke, “Peter was definitely the glue which held us all together and in his absence we came apart”.

A three-year hiatus from the studio ended with the release of Rough Diamonds in 1982. This would be the sixth and final LP in the group’s original incarnation until four new songs were recorded in 1998. The album was the worst selling Bad Company album of those that had Paul Rodgers as the front man. The album peaked at No. 15 in the UK and No. 26 in the US.

After the release of Rough Diamonds, Bad Company disbanded. Mick Ralphs said, “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”.

Despite being famous for their live shows packing the largest stadiums for almost a decade, Bad Company did not release an official live album of performances from this time period until the 2006 album Live in Albuquerque 1976. The recordings were made by Mick Ralphs, who regularly taped the group’s shows and used the tapes to critique the band’s performances. Bootlegs of Bad Company’s live performances from this period were also available, including “Boblingen Live” (1974), “Live in Japan” (1975) and “Shooting Star Live at the L.A. Forum” (1975).

Bad Company

Bad Company” is a song by the hard rock band Bad Company. It was released as the third single from their debut album Bad Company in 1974, although it did not chart (in America). Co-written by the group’s lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke, the song’s meaning comes from a book on Victorian morals.  The song uses the same chords and piano figure as Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock” from 1970.

It is also a rare instance of the artist, album, and song names being the same. Other examples include “Black Sabbath”, Iron Maiden, “Motörhead”, Electric Wizard, Pennywise, “Children of Bodom”, Damn Yankees, Bang Camaro, Deicide, Iced Earth, The Highwaymen, and “Living in a Box”.

Timothy McVeigh—the terrorist responsible for the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City—was quoted as saying that, as he fled the site of the bombing, he thought of a specific “Bad Company” lyric: “…dirty for dirty”, heard towards the end of the song. Many websites describe this, but confuse that short phrase within a song as the title for another song.

The Song in Popular Culture

This song is heard in The CW series Supernatural, Season 1 Episode 11, titled “Scarecrow”.

It is also heard in “Home Away From Homer”, episode 20 of the sixteenth season of The Simpsons where Ned Flanders moves to a new town and becomes a “rebel” by keeping an untrimmed mustache.

Tori Amos performed the song at a number of concerts in 1994 and 1996.

Bill Champlin did a cover of the song that was featured in season 2, episode 9 of The Young Riders (1990). The title of the episode is “Bad Company”.

In the beginning of the 7th book of his Dark Tower series, The Dark Tower, Stephen King quotes the lines “I was born 6-gun in my hand, Behind a gun I’ll make my final stand”.

On The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling, the song is frequently faded up to drown out callers who have proven to be poor company.

It also appears in the 1992 film Crossing the Bridge.

Garth Brooks covers the song on his box set Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences.

The South African trio of Mark Haze, Dozi and Ghapi (from season 7 of Idols South Africa) recorded a cover version on their album “Rocking Buddies” in 2013.

Bad Company – Kirke, Rodgers

Always on the run
Destiny is the rising sun
Oh I was born 6-gun in my hand
Behind a gun I’ll make my final stand
That’s why they call me

Bad company
And I can’t deny
Bad company
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die

Rebel souls
Deserters we are called
Chose a gun and threw away the sun
Now these towns
They all know our name 6-gun sound is our claim to fame
I can hear them say

Bad company
And I won’t deny
Bad Bad company
Till the day I die
Till the day I die

Bad company
I can’t deny
Bad company
Till the day I die
And I say it’s
Bad company Oh Yeah—Yeah
Bad company
Till the day I die Oh Yeah

Tell me that you are not a thief
Oh But I am
Bad Company
It’s the way I play
Dirty for dirty
Oh Somebody Double-crossed me

We’re Bad company
Kill in cold blood

  • Audio from the 1974 album, Bad Company:


Play Bad Company - by Bad Company