Review Summary: Just put this in the trash and walk away.
FAME AND FORTUNE is one of those albums that record companies put out just to see whether their listeners still have functional gag reflexes. I knew enough from looking at the sports themed logo on the front NOT to waste even a dollar on figuring out why this album was going to suck so hard. Was this some lame attempt at branding? It was only during the Napster years that I decided to download this and give it a proper appraisal.
The back story here is that the original Bad Company had gone belly up after the disappointingly bland ROUGH DIAMONDS album in 1982, prompting Paul Rodgers to begin work on his own solo projects, including The Firm. Remaining members Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke decided to reboot Bad Company in 1986 (probably after their bank accounts ran out) and enlisted ex-Ted Nugent (PENETRATOR era) Brian Howe to replace the unreplaceable Rodgers. The bigger problem was that Howe wasn't even in the same ball park stylistically and sounds a bit like a subpar singer for a Foreigner tribute band. Hold on, it gets worse.
So then Ralphs & Kirke decide to hire Foreigner's Mick Jones and Keith Olsen to produce the record. I can almost picture the white powder piled high around the recording desk as the producers, record company execs and snowblind band members exchange high fives and salute their almost certain domination of the pop charts. But that's not quite what happened here. The album barely dented the U.S. Billboard pop charts, peaking at a miserable #106 ranking. The songs just weren't happening and old fans probably didn't even realize this was Bad Company when they played this on the radio, at least briefly...
The album is full of bland, faceless pop/rock that is geared for AOR playlists. It seems that Bad Company, Foreigner, Journey (and even Uriah Heep) all essentially became the same band around this point in time because you'd to hard pressed to guess whose record was playing if you randomly queued up their mid-80's albums. And if sickening sweet pop-rock like the stuff that David Foster was doing with Chicago and Peter Cetera around this time is your thing, you might actually like this.
However, if you're a self respecting fan of the original Bad Company, you might have wound up back at the record store in 1986 telling the clerk that someone put the wrong record in this sleeve. The music on FAME AND FORTUNE bears absolutely no relation to the soulful, bluesy hard rock they crafted for their classic 1970s albums. It's obvious that Ralphs and Kirke should have called this project anything but Bad Company, the record company may have forced the issue. I don't know and don't care because I would still hate this album even if they'd called themselves Powdered Genie. It's just adding insult to injury to trot this out as a Bad Company record and add such a blemish to their band's original spirit and image. Just put this in the trash and walk away.