My 10 favorite Paul Rodgers songs
One of my favorite tv shows is "That Metal Show" on VH1 Classic. This weekend, the channel posted a marathon of the series, and one of the shows had Paul Rodgers on it (with one of the best current bands out there, Buckcherry.)
Paul Rodgers has had an unforgettable career going back to 1968, when he combined with Andy Fraser, Simon Kirke, and the great guitarist Paul Kosoff, to form Free. Unfortunately, the band didn't make it worldwide, and Rodgers and Kirke formed Bad Company with Boz Burrell and Mick Ralphs. Bad Company was a hit from day one, and had a very successful career, breaking up in 1982. Rodgers went on be in the Firm with Jimmy Page, Chris Slade, and Tony Franklin. After an outstanding debut album, the band second album tanked, and the band broke up.
Rodgers did many solo projects before his unlikely collaboration with Brian May and Roger Taylor in a re-formed version of Queen. When I heard about this, I thought it wouldn't work because how could you replace Freddie Mercury, and Rodgers voice wasn't compatible with Queen's songs. Boy, was I wrong. Those guys clicked so well, you'd swear they'd been playing together for years. The bonus of all their shows was that the band would play Free and Bad Company classics as well as Queen songs.
So that got me thinking, what 10 songs would I put on a Paul Rodgers compilation? It wasn't easy, but I knocked it down to 10 after thinking of 22 songs. So, here's my list of Paul Rodgers' 10 Best:
"All Right Now". It was the biggest hit of Free's career, and is still one of the definitive classic rock songs 42 years after it was released. I love how in the live versions of the song Andy Fraser doesn't even touch his bass until it swoops down all over the chorus. Just a simple, classic song.
Fire and Water. This is actually my favorite Free song. The title cut from the 1970 album of the same name, I just love the bluesiness of the song. Rodgers sounds like he's in pain as he wails about how his woman makes him cry, the bitch.
Little Bit of Love. A lesser-known Free track, I just love the chorus, and how Fraser's bass fills make the song just flow beautifully. Listen to it, and see if you don't agree.
Can't Get Enough. The first Bad Company single went to #5 in the United States, and is still the most famous song in the history of the band. The riff is so simple that it invites you (and the crowds that saw them live) to sing along to it. One of the staples of classic rock radio.
Good Lovin' Gone Bad. I will admit that the first time I heard it, it didn't sound like Paul in the beginning, but he's just stretching out his chops for the opening track from the 1976 album "Straight Shooter", and it packs a powerful punch. What a killer way to open an album! And Paul gets all soulful on the chorus for all you young ladies in that era.
Movin' On. The first cut of side two of the debut album, this is a song about the tedium of touring, and how you gotta keep going for your fans. I can see a half-blitzed rock star with dark glasses staggering onto the plane in the song, and how he gets revitalized once he hits the ground. Great song!
Shooting Star. A rock and roll fable about a guy named Johnny, who leaves his family and small-town life away to become a big-time rock star, only to die from excess. There's a lot of beauty and sorrow in this piece, and it is a warning to keep away from drugs. Paul lost his good friend Paul Kosoff that way, and he didn't want anyone to die like that. Very powerful message in this one.
Rock and Roll Fantasy. The biggest hit off the 1979 "Desolation Angels" is still one of Bad Company's best-known hit. And Rodgers' vocals keep up with amazing riff from Ralphs' guitar. Just a killer cut, and an air-guitar favorite.
This version has Lynyrd Skynyrd's Gary Rossington joining in on guitar. A little-known fact was that Rossington tried to get Rodgers to join the Rossington/Collins Band in 1980. Rodgers was also a candidate to replace Jim Morrison in the Doors shortly after the Lizard King's death.
Radioactive. It was Paul Rodgers who forced Jimmy Page to get off his lazy butt on 1984 and start recording again. The result was the Firm, who had some good cuts, but was a little uneven. However this track was a good hard rock song with an infectious hook from Page, and a soulful vocal from Rodgers, meshing the best talents of the two.
There's my list. I'm sure some of you will quibble with, so go ahead. I left off some great songs, but I stick with what I wrote. Let me know what you think!