As Bad Company is currently on the road with Lynyrd Skynyrd to celebrate the 40th anniversary of both bands, vocalist Paul Rodgers spoke with me for The Houston Press about the group’s history, his thoughts on being excluded from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and how the boys from Skynyrd played romantic matchmakers for him.
It is an interesting bit of cultural exchange that many English teenagers of the early ’60s were simply mad for American R&B and blues music — even moreso than their similarly-aged former colonists. And in a pre-iTunes time, finding said vinyl imports from Across the Pond was not easy.
The more intense of these teens would become obsessed with the music, mostly performed by older black men. Later they would form groups of their own and include many covers of the songs in their sets. Bands with names like the Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Zombies, Animals, Yardbirds… you may have heard of them.
Young Paul Bernard Rodgers of Middlesborough was one of those teens, slipping in the shoes of his musical heroes as the lead singer for the Roadrunners, Free (“All Right Now”), and later Bad Company.
“There was just something about that music from America. It just leapt out of the speakers and it said something to us. It wasn’t just music, but another lifestyle!” Rodgers says today, just before breaking into singing a few lines from Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around.”
“They say the joint was rockin’/Goin’ round and round/Yeah reelin’ and a rockin’/What a crazy sound.’ That’s the song. And then the police bust in!”
Rodgers laughs. “We all thought, ‘What is going on over there in America!”