were an English R&B-style rock band, formed in
in 1968 and best known for their popular song "All Right
Now". Lead singer Paul Rodgers went on to become lead singer
of the rock band Bad Company along with Simon Kirke on
drums, while lead guitarist Paul Kossoff, a much revered
blues-rock guitarist, was to die from a drug-induced heart
failure at the age of 25 in 1976. The band was famed for
their sensational live shows and nonstop touring, although
their early studio albums sold slowly until the release of
"Fire and Water" which featured the massive hit "All Right
Now". This song helped secure them a place at the huge Isle
of Wight Festival 1970 where they played to 600,000 people.
As surviving band members ruefully admit, personal problems
got in the way and they broke up on the brink of something
big, perhaps never realising their true potential.
remarkable about the birth of Free was the young age of the
band members who first came together to rehearse at the
Nag's Head pub in Battersea, London, on April 19, 1968. Bass
player Andy Fraser (born August 7, 1952), was only 15 years
old while lead singer Paul Rodgers (born December 17, 1949),
lead guitarist Paul Kossoff (September 14, 1950 - March 19,
1976), and drummer Simon Kirke (born July 28, 1949), were
also still teenagers. By November of that year they had
recorded their first album Tons Of Sobs for Island Records
and, although it was not released until the following year,
the album documents their first six months together and
contains studio renditions of much of their early live set.
Kossoff and Simon Kirke first became friends in the R&B band
Black Cat Bones but they wanted to move on and saw vocalist
Paul Rodgers singing with Brown Sugar while visiting the
"Fickle Pickle", an R&B club in London's Finsbury Park. They
were immediately impressed, and the three were soon jamming,
forming Free with the addition of Andy Fraser, who at
the tender age of 15 had already been playing with
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
are still cited as one of the definitive bands of the
British blues boom of the late 1960s with the release of
Tons of Sobs in 1968, but this is the only album that
can strictly be called blues-rock. The next album, Free,
released in 1969, has a marked difference in the
musicianship of the band as well as Paul Rodgers's voice.
their previous albums Tons of Sobs and Free,
Fire and Water - released in 1970 - was a huge
success, largely due to the album containing the hit single
All Right Now that reached #1 on the UK rock music
charts and #4 on the U.S. charts. The album reached #2 in
charts and #17 on the U.S charts making it the most
successful Free album. Highway was their fourth
studio album, recorded extremely quickly in September of
April 1971 due to differences between singer Paul Rodgers
and bassist Andy Fraser, the drug problems of guitarist Paul
Kossoff, and inconsistent record sales, the band broke up.
This led to the studio release of the live album in 1971
called Free Live!. Early in 1972 the band set aside their
differences and reformed, and in June of the same year
released Free at Last.
was not well with the band. After the release of
Heartbreaker in the first month of 1973 - recorded in
November of 1972 - bassist Andy Fraser left the band and
guitarist Paul Kossoff was ailing from an addiction to
Mandrax. Free disbanded in early 1973 with Paul Rodgers and
Simon Kirke going on to form Bad Company that same year.
Andy Fraser went onto to form the band Sharks and then The
Andy Fraser Band and Paul Kossoff would form the band Back
Paul Kossoff in better health again in late 1975, he was
delighted that now ex-Free colleagues, Paul Rodgers and
Simon Kirke asked him to joined him on stage for two nights.
A British tour was set to begin on 25 April 1976 with the
Back Street Crawler headlining with Bad Company in support
of Back Street Crawler's second album, but again his drug
addictions contributed to a drastic decline in the
guitarists health. On a flight from
to New York on March 19th, 1976, Paul Kossoff died from
drug-related heart problems at the age of 25.
blues legend Alexis Korner played a part in the Free story,
recommending Andy Fraser to the band, providing the name "Free"and
encouraging their early efforts. The sound that would be a
trademark of Free is heard in songs like "All Right Now",
"Trouble On Double Time", "Fire And Water" and "Wishing
Well", with Paul Rodgers being known in the rock media as
"The Voice". Paul Rodgers would go on to explore the heavy
blues stylings of Free again in his solo career during the
'80s and '90s, and in the bands The Firm and The Law.
Right Now". A # 1 hit in over 20 territories and recognised
by ASCAP(American Society of Composers, Authors, and
Publishers) in 1990 for garnering 1,000,000 plus radio
plays in the US by late 1989, and in 2000 an Award was given
to Paul Rodgers by the British Music Industry when "All
Right Now" passed 2,000,000 plus radio plays in the UK.
recently Paul Rodgers has joined the remaining members of
Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor), as vocalist. He covered
the role of Freddie Mercury, vocalist, who died in 1991. It
was stated, including on Brian May's own website, that
Rodgers would be "featured with"
Queen as [[Queen + Paul
Rodgers]], not replacing the late Freddie Mercury. Rodgers
also sang Free and Bad Company songs whilst on tour with
queen, in addition to the traditional
Paul Rodgers - Lead Vocals
Paul Kossoff - Lead Guitar
Andy Fraser - Bass Guitar
Simon Kirke - Drums
Music Bios A-Z
Free Music Tools
Artists & Bands Gallery