Friday, March 20, 2015

Free: All Right Now

The recent passing of Andy Fraser, has prompted me to write about this band. Andy Fraser recently passed due to complications from cancer and AIDS. He was a co-founder of this group, and co-writer of their best selling song.

Free were an English rock band formed in London in 1968 best known for their 1970 signature song "All Right Now". They disbanded in 1973 and lead singer Paul Rodgers went on to become a frontman of the band Bad Company along with Simon Kirke on drums. Lead guitarist Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler and died from a drug-induced heart failure at the age of 25 in 1976. Bassist Andy Fraser formed Sharks.

The band was famed for its sensational live shows and nonstop touring. However, early studio albums did not sell very well – until the release of Fire and Water which featured the massive hit "All Right Now". The song helped secure them a place at the huge Isle of Wight Festival 1970 where they played to 600,000 people.

By the early 1970s, Free was one of the biggest-selling British blues rock groups; by the time the band dissolved in 1973, they had sold more than 20 million albums around the world and had played more than 700 arena and festival concerts. "All Right Now," remains a rock staple, and had been entered into ASCAP's "One Million" airplay singles club.

Rolling Stone has referred to the band as "British hard rock pioneers". The magazine ranked Rodgers No. 55 in its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time", while Kossoff was ranked No. 51 in its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

"All Right Now" originally appeared on the album Fire and Water, which Free recorded on the Island Records label, formed by Chris Blackwell. In 1991, the song was remixed and re-released, reaching #8 on the UK singles chart.

"All Right Now" was a #1 hit in over 20 territories and was recognised by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) in 1990 for garnering 1,000,000 plus radio plays in the U.S. by late 1989. In 2006 the BMI London awards included a Million Air award for 3 million air plays of All Right Now in the USA.

According to drummer Simon Kirke, "All Right Now" was written by bassist Andy Fraser and singer Paul Rodgers in the Durham Students' Union building, Dunelm House.

One of the engineers during the recordings of "All Right Now" was Roy Thomas Baker, who would later become Queen's producer (he mixed "Killer Queen", "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Don't Stop Me Now" among others).

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