‘Well I take whatever I want
And baby I want you,
After the chaotic dissolution of Free, vocalist Paul Rogers formed a band Peace and landed a support slot on a Mott the Hoople tour. Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs has been writing a whole load of songs that no longer had a place in the Mott portfolio as the band were becoming increasingly synonymous with glam rock. When Ralphs and Rogers stated hanging out it was only a matter of time before Ralphs started demoing his songs.
On hearing the above line Rogers was blown away, it was 1974 after all there was no sexist cliche too risible. And so the seeds of Bad Company were sown.
Soon Simon Kirke also traumatized by his time in Free was recruited on drums and eventually Boz Burrell, ex of King Crimson, was the bass player. Burrrell felt the same about prog rock as Ralphs felt about glam, this was going to be a back to basics band. To misquote Alan Partridge on the Beatles and Wings, Bad Company was the band Free could have been. This time there would be no drug problems, a new manager was found in the form of Led Zep’s Peter Grant and a home on Zeps record label Swansong was inevitable.
Bad Company would have a long life span, I covered it here a few years ago.
In all honesty all you need to know about their music is on their first, or, at a push,their second LP. That was when Ralphs had a stockpile of songs, after that it was the law of diminishing returns.
But really all you need is their first and greatest single ‘Can’t get Enough’.
The song means a lot to me, I never owned a copy but it was on the radio a lot. I was learning to play the drums and whenever the song appeared on Radio 1 (which was about every two hours) I would join in to the delight of my family and neighbors. This did me a huge favour. Bad Company had their roots in the 60’s when drummers would be expected to swing a bit, shuffles and 6/8 time were meat and potatoes for the jobbing percussionist. ‘Can’t get Enough’ sounds like a rock song but it swings in a subtle way. When I sat in with my jam band to play this recently it took me a while to find the groove, we’ve lost that way of playing today.
Usually these days my role is as bass player and again Boz Burrell’s bass line is a triumph of subtle invention. It shifts constantly building verse by verse without ever deviating from the chord sequence, unless you listen carefully you’d miss it but it makes the song a whole lot better.
‘Can’t Get Enough’ is superficially a simple song, its just a few chords, most bar bands could play it (and do) but they could never play it as well as Bad Company and no one could sing as well as Paul Rogers. I don’t have guilty pleasures, its hard to justify this song to a younger generation, especially the lyrics, but I cant feel guilty this song brings me so much pleasure which I’m sure is about more than just remembering what it was like to be 15 again