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Free

Famed for their perennial "All Right Now," Free helped lay the foundations for the rise of hard rock, stripping the earthy soundof British blues down to its raw, minimalist core to pioneer a brand of proto-metal later popularized by 1970s superstars likeForeigner, Foghat and Bad Company. Free formed in London in 1968 when guitarist Paul Kossoff, then a member of the bluesunit Black Cat Bones, was taken to see vocalist Paul Rodgers' group Brown Sugar by a friend, drummer Tom Mautner. Afterdeciding to form their own band, Kossoff and Rodgers recruited drummer Simon Kirke (since Mautner was a ...read more

Famed for their perennial "All Right Now," Free helped lay the foundations for the rise of hard rock, stripping the earthy soundof British blues down to its raw, minimalist core to pioneer a brand of proto-metal later popularized by 1970s superstars likeForeigner, Foghat and Bad Company. Free formed in London in 1968 when guitarist Paul Kossoff, then a member of the bluesunit Black Cat Bones, was taken to see vocalist Paul Rodgers' group Brown Sugar by a friend, drummer Tom Mautner. Afterdeciding to form their own band, Kossoff and Rodgers recruited drummer Simon Kirke (since Mautner was at university) and16-year-old bass phenom Andy Fraser from the ranks of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers; with the aid of Alexis Korner, who alsosuggested the name Free, the fledgling band signed to the Island label, issuing their bluesy debut Tons of Sobs in 1968.

Free's eponymous 1969 follow-up expanded on their roots-based sound, incorporating rockers like Albert King's "The Hunter"as well as muscular ballads like "Lying in the Sunshine" into the mix. Although both of the first two albums fared poorly on thecharts, 1970's Fire and Water became a tremendous hit on the strength of the primal "All Right Now," a Top Five smashpowered by Rodgers' gritty, visceral vocals. After headlining 1970's Isle of Wight festival, the group appeared destined forsuperstardom, but the LP Highway did not fare nearly as well as anticipated, and after a grueling tour which yielded 1971'sFree Live, the band dissolved amidst ego clashes and recrimination.

While Rodgers went on to form Peace and Fraser founded Toby, Kossoff and Kirke teamed with bassist Tetsu Yamauchi andkeyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick to record the album Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit. When none of these new projectsproved successful, the original lineup of Free re-formed to record 1972's Free at Last, which launched the hit "Little Bit ofLove." However, drug problems nagged the group, as Kossoff's longtime battle with heroin continued to worsen; soon Fraserexited to form Sharks with Chris Spedding, leaving Rodgers and Kirke to record the majority of 1973's Heartbreaker while adrug-addled Kossoff watched from the sidelines. Soon, the group disbanded again, this time for good: while Rodgers and Kirkewent on to found Bad Company, Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler before dying of a drug-induced heart attack on March19, 1976. « hide

Similar Bands: Bad Company, The Firm (UK), Atomic Rooster

LPs
Heartbreaker
1973

3.6
29 Votes
Free at Last
1972

3.1
23 Votes
Highway
1970

3.7
27 Votes
Fire and Water
1970

4.1
75 Votes
Free
1969

3.9
37 Votes
Tons of Sobs
1968

4.3
38 Votes
Live Albums
Free Live!
1971

4.2
6 Votes
Compilations
The best of Free (All right now)
1991

3.5
10 Votes

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