Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Seventeen year old guitarist Paul Kossoff was at a club called The Fickle Pickle in London's Fisbury Park. While there he saw an r&b band called Brown Sugar and was impressed by their singer,eighteen year old Paul Rodgers. Along with his buddy Simon Kirke ,a drummer also eighteen years of age and a member of Kossoff's band Black Cat Bones, approached the singer with the idea of forming a band. Rodgers took them upon it, and the three of them recruited Andy Fraser, who at fifteen years of age had been playing with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. They played their first gig at the Nag's Head in Battersea
as Free.It was April 19,1968.
Later that year they released an album,"Tons Of Sobs" and the following year a second album entitled "Free" , both on Island Records to lukewarm response. The band's third lp , "Fire And Water",however was different.
This album contained a song called "Alright Now", which in reaching #1 on the UK singles charts and #4
on Billboard's top 100, turned them into one of the definitive bands of the late '60s blues-rock boom and a classic rock staple to this day.
The band broke up in early 1973 . Andy Fraser put together his band Sharks while Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler. But it was Rodgers who would prove the most successful .Armed with one of the most iconic voices in rock history , he formed along with Kirke Bad Company, which had even more commercial success than Free. His career subsequently led him to The Firm with Jimmy Page, a solo career,and currently to the lead vocalist spot in Queen. Paul Kossoff ,for his part is considered one of rock's most influential guitarists. He died of a drug-related heart attack March 19,1976. The band name,"Free" was suggested to the band by veteran British blues man Alexis Korner,who also recommended bassist Andy Fraser for membership.