February 22, 2024

How bands get named can be a quixotic process.  

Case in point: British Bluesman Alexis Korner’s daughter took the moniker from one of her father’s bands, Free At Last (with future Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker). and shortened it.  

Signed to Island Records in late ‘68 label owner Chris Blackwood, recognizing the band’s no-hold-barred sound, wanted to re-name them the Heavy Metal Kids.  But notion was dismissed.  

Free is remembered for All Right Now.” The powerhouse Blues Rock track featured Free’s prime asset – the vocal talents of Paul Rodgers.  

Released in 1970 “All Right Now” went to #4 in the U.S. and Canada and #2 in the U.K. It helped them land on the bill for the ’70 Isle of Wright Festival. The powerhouse Blues Rock track featured Free’s incredible asset – the vocal talents of Paul Rodgers.

Free’s third album “Fire And Water,” contained “All Right Now,” and it sold well.  The majority of the songs were written by Rodgers and bassist Andy Fraser.  

On the strength of “All Right Now” the album went to #2 in the U.K. and #17 in the U.S.  

But the low-key follow-up set “Highway” barely registered.   One reason for the fall-off was guitarist Paul Kossoff’s drug problems which hampered the group. Free split in ‘71 to pursue individual projects but re-formed a year later adding new members.

After touring Free broke up for good. Rodgers turned down an offer to be Deep Purple’s lead singer (following Ian Gillan’s departure) preferring to start Bad Company with Free drummer Simon Kirke.  

Fraser teamed up with Robert Palmer and Brian Eno on a couple of projects. Kossoff recorded “Back Street Crawler” which also became the name of his band.

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