Happy 35th: Bad Company, ROUGH DIAMONDS
35 years ago this month, Bad Company released their sixth album, an effort which would prove to be the final album by the original lineup.
Recorded at Ridge Farm Studio in Surrey, England – which was, as it happens, the same place where they’d laid down the tracks for their previous LP, DESOLATION ANGELS – ROUGH DIAMONDS was a difficult album by most anyone’s standards. For one thing, tensions were running high between the band members, reaching a point where Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke actually had to separate Paul Rodgers and Boz Burrell, who’d gotten into a fistfight with each other. It also didn’t help that the band’s manager, Peter Grant, had been virtually incommunicado since the death a few months earlier of a member of one of the other bands he handled. (Perhaps you’re familiar with the deceased: his name was John Bonham.) Even worse, when ROUGH DIAMONDS hit record store shelves in August 1982, it proved to be the lowest-charting album of the band’s career, although it’s a testament to their fanbase that it still managed to earn them a gold album.
Needless to say – and yet we’ll say it nonetheless, because that’s just how we roll – the writing was on the wall that Bad Company was not long for this world…or at least not in the same form that the world had known it for the previous decade or so, anyway.
“After ROUGH DIAMONDS, we were all tired from the endless touring and recording, really, from 1968 to that point,” Kirke said in a May 2016 interview with AZ Central. “It had been a long haul. We just needed a break.”
In an interview on Bad Company’s official website, Ralphs concurred with Kirke’s sentiments. “Paul wanted a break and, truthfully, we all needed to stop,” he said. “Bad Company had become bigger than us all and to continue would have destroyed someone or something. From a business standpoint, it was the wrong thing to do, but Paul's instinct was absolutely right.”
As it happens, it was also business – specifically, a label insistence – that led Kirke and Ralphs to carry on with the Bad Company name a few years later without Rodgers in the band. But that’s a story for another time.
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