Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bad Company Top Ten #1

So I'm back with a major shift in genres from pop to some classic rock and the band that rounds out my top 3 after Heart and Foreigner...Bad Company. I discovered my love of this British super group in my early 20s and seeing as I am only 31 it's been a decade love affair with the smooth vocals of Paul Rodgers, one of the best vocalists of all time. That love affair grew in about 2008 when I learned that former Heart guitarist (and my life long rock star crush) Howard Leese was asked by Rodgers to join his band and now he plays with Bad Company as well. Here on the classic rock stations, Bad Company is constantly played with their hard rock hits and though I have not seen them live in person, to watch them do live performances is truly something to behold and would surely be part of my bucket list or my wish list if I ever found a time machine to go back to the 1970s in their heyday. Now it's time to tackle the first top ten list of my favorite Bad Company songs and before I start this is songs from the Paul Rodgers line-up of the 1970s and early 1980s as there will be another list at another time discussing Bad Company songs after Rodgers left the band. So let's start with the last big hit for the original line-up on their last studio album shall we?

#10. Electricland from the album Rough Diamonds

Well maybe not a big hit radio wise for airplay but I love the smooth sound of Paul Rodgers' vocals and that funky, bass groove of Boz Burrell. There is a very mysterious vibe to the music even with the piano and Mick Ralphs' guitar work sounding just as point on as ever but even Simon Kirke's drums have almost an otherworldly feel. I guess it melds well with the story presented in the lyrics of being in a foreign place where the rules are unknown to you and you find that danger is around every corner. It's a good thing you don't plan on staying long: once your gig is over you'll just be another face passing through Electricland. Even though the lyrics spell out a different tone than the music supplied, there is still an almost wistful, hypnotic environment thanks to Rodgers' vocals.

#9. Shooting Star from the album Straight Shooter

Now I wouldn't say that Bad Company really has a lot of ballads in their catalog loved by the classic rock stations as far as romantic but if you can call a song about tragedy a ballad than Shooting Star might as well be alternatively titled The Sad Ballad of Johnny or even The Ballad of The 27 Club. Written by Paul Rodgers, it chronicles the rise and death of a young man who finds his fame playing guitar and then dying of drugs and booze. The song is based on the lives of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin and also a tragic future prediction on the death of Rodgers' former Free guitarist bandmate Paul Kossoff who didn't die at 27 but at 25 a year after the song's release and is now sometimes a dedication to him in concerts alongside a long list of other fallen rockers. The song's not all sad but has great guitar work by Mick Ralphs and of course the aggressive yet bluesy vocals of Rodgers and is uplifting despite its tragic content.

#8. Gone, Gone, Gone from the album Desolation Angels

This is one of only three songs written by Bad Company's bassist Boz Burrell during the band's original line-up. Boz died in 2006 of a heart attack but left behind his legacy in this composition which had me real gone from the first moment I heard it and even I made a pun this rocker's no joke! Besides Boz's bass work and of course Paul Rodgers' sexy vocals that guitar riff by Mick Ralphs gives the song a sort of rock-country-disco mash-up (hey don't pelt me with tomatoes it's just my opinion!). Maybe not full on disco but there is this upbeat flare that makes me want to dance and in the car my hands are drumming the steering wheel to the rhythm. I say it has a country feel because of course the lyrics are about a woman leaving, getting the boys together to drink her away but still missing the good things about her that you don't know whether to cry or laugh at the new found freedom you have. Can you blame me I'm a Southern girl who likes her country and classic rock but loves to dance?

#7. Ready For Love from the album Bad Company

Although it is actually a cover of a song Mick Ralphs wrote for his band before Bad Company, Mott The Hoople, this version is the one most remembered and played a lot on classic rock radio. This is one steamy song without being as aggressive as say another Bad Company hit about love that we'll get to soon enough. That piano or keyboard (whichever version you prefer to call it) is what really gets me as it feels like something added to enhance the bluesy, guitar work almost kind of like a cat just making a sleek saunter over the keys. If you want to know why I say it's steamy try finding Episode 10 of Season Four of Supernatural and the scene when this song plays and you'll have proof! Besides having the sound of a good romantic evening, the lyrics tell of hard times then finding love that has been long elusive and hoping it will change things for the better.

#6. Live For The Music from the album Run With The Pack

A good song doesn't really need a lot of explanation as to why it is a good song so when I go into great detail about one it just means I have a whole lot of love for it. So it goes with saying that this one's short and sweet and to the point! I love the the killer ending Boz Burrell bass line and of course, the swaggering vocals of Paul Rodgers along with Mick Ralphs' impeccable guitar work. The lyrics of course are about living for the music as any rocker or rock fan can relate to because sometimes it's the only thing that can make your ordinary day not so boring. I know my day goes a lot better when I have music in it as this blog of mine is one big love letter to all types of music.

#5. Burnin' Sky from the album of the same name

This song has one of the best bass grooves and that thundering intro really makes you take notice! As always I am easily seduced by Paul Rodgers' smooth, vocals and the guitar playing of Mick Ralphs is the thing that is on fire in this song! I don't know if anyone has ever paid attention to the lyrics but it's about a man escaping from jail just to go and see his woman only to be chased by cops and dogs and end up back in jail! The main line of the song is how this one woman has enough power over this man that she can make him do all of these impulsive things just so he can spend one moment in her arms. The desire builds up that not only is his heart burning it's powerful enough to set the sky on fire and thundering with passion! Speaking of burning, did it get hot in here or is it just me?

#4. Feel Like Making Love from the album Straight Shooter

Paul Rodgers once said that probably a lot of people were conceived to this song and I'm sure he's not that far away from the truth! As I said earlier about Ready For Love being the slower, romantic song for love making this aptly titled song is still at times tender but the more aggressive song to make out with! It's got driving guitar work and beautiful harmonies along with great bombastic drums provided by Simon Kirke. Of course there is no doubt as to what the song's meaning is but if you look closer at the lyrics it's not about sex but actually having a love that transcends everything where the two become one in the climax of emotions so to speak. If I have to spell it out for you anymore clearly than you obviously haven't read the lyrics, heard the song or paid much attention in health class...

#3. Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy from the album Desolation Angels

A guitar-synthesizer riff created by Paul Rodgers is what led to the birth of this song and spawned dreams of being a rock star to generations yet to come! Killer vocals by Rodgers, amazing guitar work by Mick Ralphs and the driving rhythm section of Kirke and Burrell make this a gem for garage bands and cover bands to master if they can even try to duplicate the original. I know I always had aspirations to be in a rock band but I know that I can get no where close to handling vocals on the same level as Paul Rodgers or any other rock singer but that doesn't mean I can't give up my own fantasies and sing along with this song when it comes on the radio in my car. If you can sing or play an instrument, more power to you but that doesn't mean anyone can't have a little fun singing this at karaoke night once in awhile...drunk or not!

#2. Can't Get Enough from the album Bad Company

Don't you just love that opening guitar riff? I like how it starts off almost so silently and then begins with the guitar and then when those drums kick in alongside Paul Rodgers' playful yet powerful vocals you've got one good, head-bobbing, foot-tapping song! Again there's really not a lot to explain to you about what the song is about which is another reason why you can like Bad Company songs...no subtext just straight to the point with it clearly indicating that a man wants a woman who is clearly interested but likes to press his buttons which of course makes him crazy that when she does give him what he wants...he can't get enough! Okay maybe a little subtext but what do you expect from me when I listen to the song fifteen-hundred times at home or hear it on the classic rock radio?

You know it's really hard to pick songs from such a great band when they only had six albums under their belt so when it came to picking the number one for this first list of Bad Company songs, what was my end result? Well the leader of this pack is well you kinda guessed it...

#1. Run With The Pack from the album of the same name

What can I say...I just love that piano opening and its presence throughout the song up until it fades out so beautifully in the end. The song also has a melody that sounds so clearly like an orchestra could back up the band on a 40-piece scale which makes it melodic, fit for acoustic interpretation or a live, rocking performance just like above. As always the guitar work of Mick Ralphs and Paul Rodgers' strong, rich tone bring life to this track which in no way makes the contributions of Simon Kirke's drums or Boz Burrell's bass any less significant but the vocals and guitar are what give it so much drive! Lyrically, I find this to be a song about running away from life in general but mostly that one person that tries to keep you stuck in a life devoid of passion of not only the physical but of the things such as music or even material possessions. They try to stifle everything free about you that eventually you want to escape and be like the animals in the wild who have no law and then maybe you can find others like yourself: a pack, a family, to which you can really belong.

So it seems you never know what kind of music I may talk about next or what kind of bands and artists I admire and love...but that's no surprise anymore, am I right? No the real question is will you come back next time? I truly hope you do!

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