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About Paul Rodgers

A dominant voice in the evolution of British blues, Paul Rodgers formed the band Free while he was still a teenager, writing and singing lead on their biggest song, 1970’s "All Right Now," before he'd turned 21. Within a couple of years, the Middlesbrough, UK-born Rodgers moved on to form Bad Company, purveying a tough, steady, unpretentiously direct sound whose peaks—“Bad Company,” “Shooting Star,” “Feel Like Makin' Love,” all of which he wrote or cowrote—became hallmarks of FM radio and helped define '70s hard rock. For as expressive as they could be, Bad Company were surprisingly stripped-down, eschewing the excess of the post-psychedelic era for a workmanlike austerity that might, in some other context, scan almost as punk. Just revisit the band’s 1974 debut (and the first release on Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label), a bone-dry slab of crunchy guitars and booming drums, anchored by Rodgers. His powerful voice marries tenderness and pure muscle and has inspired a generation of vocalists from Freddie Mercury and Ronnie Van Zandt to Bon Jovi and beyond. Reflecting on his own influences, Rodgers said he loved blues and soul in part because technical proficiency always came second to feeling. “They weren’t demonstrating their great singing ability,” he said in an interview with No Depression. “They were expressing an emotion and delivering it.”

Middlesbrough, England
Dec 17, 1949

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