Formed in the early 1970s, the English rock supergroup Bad Company has been at the top of their career for decades now. Yes, they have gone on multiple hiatuses over the years but that has in no way diminished the power of their music.
Bad Company has left an indelible mark on rock music in general and classic rock in particular. Their rock gems have transcended generations to remain as relevant as they were when they first came out.
It has not been an easy journey for the band by any stretch of the imagination though. The band has gone through more than its share of ups and downs but in the end everything has turned out fine. Now they are a constant presence on the annual touring calendar. If classic rock is your thing, then grab your Bad Company tickets and watch them live.
The Early Days
Bad Company was formed in the year 1973. Paul Rogers was member of the band Free and when the group broke up, it was time to start all over again. Rogers teamed up with other members of Free, Simon Kirke, Mick Ralphs and Mott the Hoople to form Bad Company. They were also joined on the original line-up by Boz Burrell who himself was a member of another iconic band, King Crimson.
Bad Company signed up with Swan Song Records, a label that was started by Led Zeppelin, and Atlantic Records for the North American continent. For other regions of the world, their record label was Island Records.
They came out with their first self-titled album in the year 1974 and it turned out to be a massive success story. It went on to top the US Billboard 200 and went to the third spot in their native UK. “Bad Company” also went to the seventh position in Canada. The record was eventually certified five times platinum in the United States.
The album did exceptionally well on the critical front too. It received four and a half stars out of five from AllMusic and made it to Kerrang! magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time. On top of that it also made it to the book, “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.” Bad Company was also the first ever record to be released by Swan Song. It was a pretty good start by the group and they did not look back from that point onwards.
Bad Company Hits a Purple Patch
Their next album was titled “Straight Shooter” and it hit the music stores on April 2, 1975. The record peaked at the third spot on the both the US Billboard 200 and the UK charts. It also went to the third position in Canada and to the sixth spot in Norway. Straight Shooter was certified triple platinum in the United States while it went gold in both the United Kingdom and Canada. It did not do too badly with the critics either. AllMusic gave it four stars out of five and received favorable review from Rolling Stone too.
Bad Company were on a roll and they made the most of that momentum by coming out with their third studio album in 1976. It was titled “Run With the Pack” which went to the fifth spot in the US and to the fourth position in the UK. The album went on to sell over a million copies in the United States to get a platinum certification from the RIAA.
Their next album, Burnin’ Sky came out in 1997 and went gold. Then came “Desolation Angels” in the year 1979. It climbed to the third position in the United States and went as high as the tenth spot in the UK. The album went double platinum in the US by virtue of it selling over a whopping two million copies in the country.
The First Hiatus and Return
By the time the 1970s came to an end, the band took a break from recording. The band members had begun to lose interest in various aspects especially performing in big stadiums.
They did not record for three years. Then in 1982 Bad Company released “Rough Diamonds” which was certified gold in the US and went to the fifteenth spot in the country. Soon after its release, Bad Company went on a hiatus.
In the year 1985, Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs decided to team up once again. The two of them were signed to Atlantic Records and the label was insistent that they made their comeback as Bad Company. Paul Rogers was busy with some other projects at the time so Kirke and Ralphs turned to Brian Howe to become the lead singer. Greg Dechert and Steve Price were also brought on board. Boz Burrell also returned and the reincarnation was complete.
Bad Company released the album “Fame and Fortune” and before the band was to go on a tour to promote it, Burrell quit and Steve Price returned. The album did not do too well however and Dechert soon left too.
Bad Company then released “Dangerous Age” in the year 1988 and it went gold. They followed that up by coming out with “Holy Water” in 1990 and the album not only fared well on the chars but also went on to sell over a million copies to go platinum in the US. There were some more line-up changes after that and rumors began to surface about Howe quitting the group. Even amidst all that, they released “Here Comes Trouble” in 1992 which turned out to be their last album of the Howe era.
More Breaks and Returns
As a result of Howe quitting, there were some more line-up changes but Bad Company did not disband. At least not immediately. They released “Company of Strangers” in 1995. In December of the same year, the first four original members of the band came together for the first time in more than a decade when they went to the funeral of their ex manager Peter Grant.
In the year 1998 Kirke and Rodgers got together to come up with a compilation record. Rodgers suggested that the record should have four new songs and to complete the album, the original four members hopped onboard. They went on a tour too in 1999 to celebrate the reunion. The comeback was short-lived and in 1999 Bad Company disbanded once again.
In 2001, Kirke and Rogers teamed up once again and decided to go on a tour of the US. They were joined on the trek by Rick Wills and Dave Colwell. The road trip did fairly well and they then flew to the UK. Bad Company then performed a few dates on the West Coast in January of 2002 and recorded their live album “Merchants of Cool.” They went on the Merchants of Cool tour the same year and the band went on a break soon afterwards.
Touring and Another Comeback
In the year 2005, Paul Rogers started to tour with Queen and began playing Bad Company tracks. It was then announced that Rogers will perform with Queen on a collaborative project titled “Queen+ Paul Rodgers.” A DVD and CD of those collaborations were released in the year 2005 and it was named “Return of the Champions.” It contained songs by Free, Bad Company and Queen. In April of 2006, they came out with another DVD of a show they had performed in Tokyo. The DVD was titled “Super Live in Japan.”
Unfortunately Boz Burrell passed away in 2006. Then in May of 2007, Mick Ralphs, Chris Grainger, Jaz Lochrie, Dave Colwell and Robert Hart played a small show of songs by Bad Company. The very next year Ralphs went on a tour with the likes of Robert Hark, Gary James, Jaz Lochrie and Dave Colwell and they performed as “Mick Ralphs’ Bad Company.”
In August of 2008, the remaining members of Bad Company’s original line-up teamed up for a special one-time performance at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. That turned into another reunion. They performed together ten dates in the US in the summer of 2009. They went to the UK in April of next year to play a few concerts too. They followed that up by touring all across North America and Japan and that trek began in July and ended in October of 2010.
Bad Company Tour Tickets
Bad Company have released a few compilation and live albums since then. They also came out with their first two albums on vinyl, digital and CD. Not only that, but they have also hit the road to go on tour and perform at various music festivals. It is very possible that the touring schedule will continue this year too. If that happens, then this is a rock fan’s dream come true. If you want to see them live, then book your Bad Company tour tickets.