Album review: Bad Company, Fame and Fortune (1986)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 26, 1986

By Steve Newton

Mott the Hoople and Free were two of the best rock bands Britain ever produced, so it was only fitting that when their members joined forces in 1974 as Bad Company, the band was quickly labeled a supergroup. And it was pretty super at that. With Mott’s Mick Ralphs on guitar, Free’s Paul Rodgers sand Simon Kirke on vocals and drums–and Boz Burrell from King Crimson on bass–Bad Company was a very basic, bluesy band that could boogie or balladize with the best of them. They hit their peak in the mid-’70s with albums like Straight Shooter and Run With the Pack, and had a big hit with a cover of the Leiber/Stoller tune “Youngblood” in ’76.

The group’s problems started when singer Rodgers left after 1982’s Rough Diamonds LP to join Jimmy Page in the Firm. The loss of Rodgers’ soulful crooning was a major one, but the last straw came when they replaced him with a clone of Foreigner’s Lou Gramm named Brian Howe.

Now, on their latest album Fame and Fortune, the once-great band sounds like any of the many vacuous Foreigner/Journey/Survivor-type corporate-rock bands around today. Not surprisingly, Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones is executive producer of the new LP.

It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

 

 

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