Paul Rodgers is a voice you know but a face you might not recognize. He counts Freddie Mercury from Queen, Brian Johnson from AC/DC and Ronnie Van Zandt from Lynyrd Skynyrd among his millions of fans. He’s played with guitarists Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Slash, Brian May, Steve Miller, Buddy Guy and bassist extraordinaire Tony Franklin. Rodgers has sold over 90 million albums, started two hugely successful bands in Free and Bad Company, sang with Queen for five years and he’s not done yet.
Rodgers was born in England today in 1949 and he started singing in the band Free in 1968 when he was still 18 years old. He was the old man in the group as Free had a 15 year old bass player and a 17 year old guitarist. Two short years later Rodgers and Free would hit #17 on the US album chart with “Fire and Water” and play to a crowd of 600,000 people at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. The single “All Right Now” went to #4 and the album also produced a classic rock staple with the title track.
Rodgers left Free in 1973 after three more albums and he started Bad Company with his drummer from Free, guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott the Hoople and bassist Boz Burrell from King Crimson . They were a success right from the beginning as their first four albums reached the Top 5 on the chart. Bad Company hits like “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, “Can’t Get Enough” and “Shooting Star” are still played daily on radio stations across the country.
Rodgers left Bad Company in 1982, released a solo album in 1983 then started The Firm with Jimmy Page, bassist Tony Franklin and former Uriah Heep and future AC/DC drummer, Chris Slade. The Firm released two albums and Rodgers was on his own again. He recorded solo and with a backing band called The Law that featured a rotating cast of members including David Gilmour and Bryan Adams. Rodgers played with Queen from 2004-2009 and is currently reunited with Bad Company.
Despite Rodgers’ pedigree he is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Free – Fire and Water 1970:
Free – All Right Now 1970:
Free – Wishing Well 1973:
Bad Company – Good Lovin’ Gone Bad live 1974:
Bad Company – Burnin’ Sky 1977:
The Firm – Radioactive 1985:
Paul Rodgers and David Gilmour – Standing Around Crying (Muddy Waters cover) 1993:
Gov’t Mule – Mr. Big (Free cover) 1995: