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Free (band)

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Free was a R&B-style rock band which formed in London in 1968 best known for their popular song "All Right Now". Lead singer Paul Rodgers, went on to become lead singer of the rock band Bad Company, while lead guitarist Paul Kossoff, a much revered blues/rock guitarist, was to die tragically from drugs induced heart failure aged 25 in 1976. The band were famed for their sensational live shows and nonstop touring, although their early studio albums sold slowly until the release of "Fire and Water" which featured the massive hit "All Right Now". This song helped secure them a place at the huge Isle of Wight Festival 1970 where they played to 600,000 people. Free are considered to be one of the major rock bands of the seventies along with other luminaries such as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. As surviving band members ruefully admit, personal problems got in the way and they broke up on the brink of something big, perhaps never realising their true potential.

History

The remarkable thing about the birth of Free was the young age of the band members who first came together to rehearse at the Nag's Head pub in Battersea, London, on April 19, 1968. Bass player Andy Fraser (born July 3, 1952), was only 15-years-old while lead singer Paul Rodgers (born December 17, 1949), lead guitarist Paul Kossoff (September 14, 1950 - March 19, 1976), and drummer Simon Kirke (born July 28, 1949), were also still teenagers. By November of that year they had recorded their first album "Tons of Sobs" for Island Records, and although it was not released until the following year the album documents their first six months together and contains studio renditions of much of their early live set. Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke first became friends in the R&B band Black Cat Bones but they wanted to move on and saw vocalist Paul Rodgers singing with Brown Sugar while visiting the Fickle Pickle, a R&B club in London's Finsbury Park. They were immediately impressed and the three were soon jamming and forming Free with the addition of Andy Fraser, who at the tender age of 15 had already been playing with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. British blues legend Alexis Korner played a part in the Free story recommending Andy Fraser, providing the name Free and encouraging their early efforts.

Members

Discography

  • Tons of Sobs (1969)
  • Free (1969)
  • Fire and Water (1970)
  • Highway (1970)
  • Free Live! (1971) (live)
  • Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit (1971) [1]
  • Free at Last (1972)
  • Heartbreaker (1973)

[1] Although having members of Free, it is not regarded as an official Free album.

The following albums were issued after the band ceased recording:

  • The Free Story (1974)
  • The Best of Free (1975)
  • Free and Easy, Rough and Ready (1976)
  • Completely Free (1982)
  • All Right Now: The Best of Free (1991)
  • Molten Gold: The Anthology (1994) (2 disc set)
  • Free: All Right Now (1999)
  • Songs of Yesterday (2000) (5 disc box set)
  • Chronicles (2005) (2 disc set)
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