In most cases, a band will have a musician who stands out from the rest because of their technical abilities, on-stage swagger, or other reasons. It’s that player that makes you go “how does he do that?!” There are some bands, like Led Zeppelin or Rush, where all of the members are musical geniuses and are among the best at their respective instruments and are notable in their own individual right. A band that is not well-known outside the blues-rock music nerd society is the late 60’s group Free.
Although they were only together for five years, they managed to pull off six incredible studio albums and made one of rock’s staple tunes with “All Right Now” which helped to put the band on the map. Rolling Stone Magazine has labeled the band as “British hard rock pioneers” and ranks some members among the top at their craft. Let’s go through each member to find out about the sensational parts that made up this amazing band.
Let’s start with the guy who is always front and center on stage, vocalist Paul Rodgers. After heading a few local bands in the London area, Rodgers founded Free, the blues-rock power group in 1968. After the band official broke up in 1973, Rodgers began another rock group that has been dominating the scene ever since, Bad Company. Paul Rodgers is without a doubt one of the greatest rock vocalists in history. He has lent his iconic voice to not only two of the leading blues-rock groups, but also to bands like The Firm with Jimmy Page and Queen. Recently, Rodgers decided to embark on a “Free Spirit” tour where he plays a mixture of Free and Bad Company tunes. This is a must see!
Quite simply, this dude is the greatest guitarist you probably haven’t heard of. Paul Kossoff joined Free when he was 18 years old, after being a part of random bands around his hometown in England. Kossoff always possessed that special gift that was apparent every time he picked up a guitar. Although he died extremely young, at 25 years old, Kossoff is still recognized by many musicians, including Joe Bonamassa as one of the greatest Les Paul players of all time.
If you have ever stopped to listen to the stellar basslines on any of Free’s albums, you are listening to the incredible skills of Andy Fraser. Fraser joined the band when he was only 15 years old! Due to creative differences with Paul Rodgers, Fraser left the band, twice actually, and formed a band called Sharks. In my opinion, Fraser is one of the most overlooked bassists in rock.
Can’t forget the drummer! Simon Kirke, along with Paul Rodgers, has appeared on a majority of both Free and Bad Company albums since 1968.