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British blues-rock outfit Bad Company already had a heady track record before the release of its 1974 self-titled debut album. Paul Rodgers, the voice of the band, put together Bad Company after the break-up of Free, his legendary 1960s-era outfit. Rodgers brought drummer Simon Kirke from that previous band along for the ride, joining guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott the Hoople and bassist Boz Burrell from King Crimson to form Bad Company. The debut album’s first hit single, “Can’t Get Enough,” hit #5 on the chart, pushing the album itself to number one.
A year later, Bad Company released Straight Shooter, more of the same hard rock and boogie blues that characterized the band’s first LP – no surprise, really, as many of the songs had been written in ‘73 around the time of the debut (and may have been leftovers from those first sessions). The ad campaign for Straight Shooter showcases the band (and friends) gambling at a craps table (in keeping with the two dice theme on the album’s cover, the dice showing a “natural” eleven), portraying Bad Company taking risks and living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
Sadly, Straight Shooter displayed little of the risk the ad was clearly trying to picture, the band following the same formula as the debut, and one that they more or less chased throughout the remainder of the 1970s (or until Rodgers left the band). Straight Shooter was only slightly less successful than the debut, hitting #3 on the album chart on the strength of the hit single “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” which itself rose to #10, followed by “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad,” which was also a Top 40 hit single.
Still, the “sophomore slump” for Bad Company was quite obvious, and the band would experience diminishing commercial returns with their recordings as the years wore on, even if Rodgers' enormous voice and charisma, coupled with Mick Ralphs' slashing fretwork, would keep them headlining arenas for the rest of the decade.
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