Top 10 Bad Company Songs
The vocals of Bad Company's Paul Rodgers have been a fixture on rock radio for decades and his instrument has been the driving force behind countless rock 'n' roll classics. While his work with Bad Company would be impressive on its own, Rodgers also bent the ears of music fans worldwide with Free, The Firm (with Jimmy Page), The Law (with Who drummer Kenney Jones) and in recent years he even toured with the members of Queen (and somehow in all of this, he even found time to record a number of impressive solo albums). To put a comic book slant on it, Batman’s ‘The Joker’ might ask “where does he get that wonderful voice?” Rodgers remains one of rock’s most talented vocalists and today (Dec. 17) in honor of his 63rd birthday, we’re taking a look at 10 of his best songs with Bad Company.
Rodgers spins a brooding tale of troublesome times in an unfamiliar place and as a visitor, he finds it to be a strange zip code of events. Looking deep into the mystical vibe that is projected in Rodger’s lyrics, it’s quite easy to identify Las Vegas as the subject of his tale, a place where “the neon lights go flashing by” and if you’re “willing to have a good time/ you live for the moment / the moment is fine.” What happens in Vegas…
‘Silver, Blue and Gold’
Although it was never a single, ‘Silver, Blue and Gold’ is a fan favorite and it’s one of Bad Company’s very best songs, artfully charting the oft-experienced tale of a love gone wrong and the aftermath as the spurned party seeks solace in silver, blue and gold and the rainbow that’s long overdue.
The gentle acoustic feel of ‘Seagull’ pulls a visual to mind that actually came together in a very natural setting. Rodgers told Classic Rock Revisited that he wrote the song while sitting on the beach and as he said, “the best way to create the atmosphere is to actually be there,“ because “you don’t have to imagine it.”
The atmospheric ‘Burnin’ Sky,’ which would eventually become the title track for Bad Company’s 1977 album, came late in the process as the band was recording. Burned out from frequent touring, Rodgers went into the studio with chords and the basic song idea, but he still needed lyrics for ‘Burnin’,’ which ended up being no problem at all. They recorded the song in one take with Rodgers making up the lyrics as he went along, working off only a chorus idea that he had in his head.
‘Ready For Love’
The Bad Company version is so familiar that you might be surprised to learn that the song originated with Mott The Hoople during Mick Ralphs’ time with the band. Bad Company’s take on it is a touch more moody than the original, which has an extra bit of swagger. Rodgers' vocals walk with the shackles of a man who has been denied what he wants for way too long.
‘Can’t Get Enough’
Written by Mick Ralphs, drummer Simon Kirke provided the thundercrack opening that launched the first side of Bad Company’s self-titled debut album. ‘Can’t Get Enough’ finds Rodgers exuding complete confidence in his ability to land the girl that he wants, saying “well I take whatever I want/ and baby, I want you,” which doesn’t leave a lot of doubts as far as what his intentions are, does it?
‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy’
Coming off the band’s fifth album, ‘Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy’ is probably one of the best songs ever written about what it’s like living life as a rock 'n' roll star. From the first time you hear it, you’ll be wishing for a similar career upon the lighted stage. Keep reaching for that sky…
‘Shooting Star’ came about at a time when addiction was claiming its share of victims in the music business, often at a tragically young age. ‘Shooting Star’ tracks the moment when the song's protagonist Johnny discovers his musical mistress and acts as a cautionary tale about what can happen when a “star” gets more success than he can handle. The bottle of whiskey and sleeping pills ultimately snuff this “Shooting Star” long before his time.
‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’
Despite being English in descent, songs like ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ have a distinctly American feel and Rodgers has said that he learned the “language of rock 'n' roll listening to lots of blues and soul guys,” which he imitated with his vocals. A muscular guitar riff from Mick Ralphs adds extra emphasis to the bluesy passion of Rodgers’ vocals on ‘Feel Like Makin Love.’
Bad Company’s signature song also happens to be the name of the group and it’s something that Paul Rodgers fought hard for, because management and the record label thought it was a “terrible name.” Rodgers has described the song as one that has a Western vibe, “with an almost biblical, promise-land kind of lawless feel to it.” He says the song name (and we’d argue the same for the legendary piano opening) helped to back up the theme of ‘Bad Company.’