Fans and record companies kicked around the term “supergroup” loosely in the 1970s. At the top of lists of bands made up of members from other popular bands is Bad Company. Formed in 1973, the group included former members of Free, Mott the Hoople and King Crimson.
Bad Company last performed at Artpark’s Tuesday series in 2013. It was a rare opportunity to catch founding guitarist Mick Ralphs performing with them. At one point, Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes replaced Ralphs but these days former Heart guitarist Howard Leese handles all of the guitar duties. Surprisingly, Leese is the only member of the current lineup that is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (inducted in 2013 as a member of Heart).
The current lineup still features former Free members Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke. Many classic rock fans consider Rodgers one of the greatest rock vocalists of all-time and in addition to singing Bad Company’s biggest hits, he also is the singer of the Free hit “All Right Now,” The Firm’s “Radioactive” and Rodger’s was once the lead singer of Queen after Freddie Mercury died.
The only other original member of Bad Company, former King Crimson bass player Boz Burrell, passed away in 2006. Todd Ronning handles bass duties in the current lineup.
Like many classic rock bands, Bad Company has had several incarnations. Simon Kirke has been the only constant in the lineup. The current group focuses on the band’s Swan Song Records era from 1974-1982. Swan Records was best known as Led Zeppelin’s record label, and in addition to being on the same label as Led Zep, Bad Company’s original manager, Peter Grant, also managed Led Zeppelin.
Bad Company’s self-titled debut album is still the group’s best-selling effort; it achieved 5x Platinum sales status, meaning it sold over 5 million units worldwide. In addition to the title track, the radio hits “Can’t Get Enough,” “Rock Steady” and a cover version of the Mott the Hoople song “Ready for Love,” all received significant airplay.
The original lineup’s best-selling single is “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” from the 1979 album “Desolation Angels.” The group went on an extended shortly after touring in support of “Desolation Angels” and reformed in 1982 to record their last full-length album of original material with Rodgers handling lead vocal duties.
The original lineup reformed in 1999 for a 32-date reunion tour, it was the last time the full lineup performed together.
The 2013 Bad Company show at Artpark was one of the highlights of that season and it included all the surviving members of the original Bad Company lineup and Howard Leese handling second guitar.
Fans attending Tuesday’s show can expect to hear all the hits from Bad Company as well as Free’s “All Right Now,” which has regularly been performed at Bad Company shows in recent years. It is one of only 12 Bad Company shows scheduled this year so you can expect it to be a special night.
The opening act is Paul Rodgers' son Steve.
Tickets for the performance start at $19 and are available at the Artpark box office or through Tickets.com.