Smorgasbord Music Column – One Hit Wonders – ‘All Right Now’ by Free – Sally Cronin

Despite the band ‘Free’ being only relatively short lived as recording artists their hit song ‘All Right Now’ was a popular hit in the 1970s and I can vividly remember dancing to the track at the twice a week club I used to frequent, and even requesting it to be played. It is still on my playlist today and I love it and put Free up there with The Rolling Stones any day of the week.

The band was formed in 1968 with very young 15 year old bass player Andy Fraser, lead guitar Paul Kossoff at 17 and lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke both 18. Despite their comparative youth, they had all been playing in other bands on the circuit at the time and in fact Andy Fraser had been playing with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers

They recorded their first album ‘Tons of Sobs’ with Island Records and it documented their first six months together, and judging by the title, it was clearly not all plain sailing. This gave them an in to the industry and they opened for The Who at the end of 1968.

Their second album ‘Free’ was not a chart topper but it all changed in 1970 with ‘Fire and Water’ and the track ‘All Right Now’ which reached #1 on the UK rock music charts, #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It went on to be #1 in over 20 countries. The Album reached #2 in the UK and #17 in the US.

Unfortunately their next album in the September 1970 failed to follow up on their success and only reached #41 in the UK and #190 in the USA.

There were problems within in the band and they split up for a year but reformed in 1972 to release two albums that failed to ignite the fans. Andy Fraser left the band in 1972 and two new members were recruited Tetsu Yamauchi and keyboardist John Bundrick. The band’s final album was ‘Heartbreaker’ but following a USA tour in 1973, the Free was disbanded for good.

Paul Kossoff had an ongoing drug addition problem and died on a flight from Los Angeles to New York in 1976 aged just 25. Andy Fraser died in 2015.

Lead Singer Paul Rodgers went on to enjoy a solo career and in the bands The Firm and The Law and went on to join with Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen and they released ‘The Cosmos Rocks’ in September 2008.

Paul Rodgers embarked on a Free Spirit UK Tour in May 2017 to celebrate the music of Free by performing songs strictly from the Free catalogue

Their music however does continue to be played and despite only the one #1 hit the band produced some great music.

Buy All Right Now: https://www.amazon.com/All-Right-Now-Free/dp/B00002MHPX

The music of Free: https://www.amazon.com/Free/e/B000APZ0TQ

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Right_Now
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_%28band%29

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed taking a step back in time over 50 years….

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27 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Music Column – One Hit Wonders – ‘All Right Now’ by Free – Sally Cronin

  1. Well that title popped my eyeballs this morning- Free-one hit wonders indeed! Over here they had several songs in the top 10, apart from All Right Now, (was at No.2 not 1) Wishing Well (7) and My Brother Jake (4) to name just 2 in the top 10. Their Albums Heartbreaker, Free At Last & Fire and Water were all in the top 10 album charts and Island records have made a mint churning out “Best of’s” also in the top 10 album charts throughout the years. Every year there is a Free Convention in Tyneside, which had Andy Fraser attend and play the year before he died as well as tribute bands from all over the world. https://fragglerocking.org/2016/03/20/the-annual-free-convention-2016/. I saw Paul Rodgers perform with Queen and it was a bit rubbish to be honest, he wasn’t a good fit. However I also saw him doing the ‘Free’ tour with the Bonham band in 2017 and he was brilliant! https://fragglesotherplace.com/2017/05/08/monday-mobile-moments-11/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for all the additional information..they made #2 in the singles chart but got #1 too in the rock music charts. Glad that they have such an avid and knowledgeable fan in their corner… Sorry that I didn’t get to see the tour in 2017.. they are certainly part of my musical memories of the late 60 and early 70s and I am over here too….born and bred Hampshire.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do enjoy hearing what’s become of these one hit wonders Sal. And wow, everyone knows that song, and hard to imagine that was the highlight of their career, especially that they got to open for The Who. Sounds like some bad luck in timing or connections at the time. Great pick. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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