March 1977: Bad Company Light Up with BURNIN' SKY

Thursday, March 3, 2022

When it came time for Bad Company to regroup and record a fourth studio album, the band was running on fumes. The years spent relentless touring in support of three hit records had taken a definite toll.

"We had a really heavy schedule. Not only were you out on the road, but you were also expected to be writing songs for the next album. It was very demanding," singer Paul Rodgers said during a 2020 interview. "By the time we got to do Burnin’ Sky, we’d just done a four-month tour and we were basically shagged to be honest with you."

The group still had enough gas in the tank to crank out Burnin' Sky, even if they had to make it up on the fly, as Rodgers explained in 2016: "I was making up songs on the spot, particularly, I remember with 'Burnin’ Sky,' being in the hotel the night before, because I would go into Paris for the weekend," he told Ultimate Classic Rock. "I had the chorus. I took that into the studio, and I had no verses for it. I didn't know what the song was about, and I played the guys the song and  they picked up on it, like, 'Great, I love the chorus!' I’m going, 'Yeah, you might like the chorus, but I haven’t got any verses yet,'" the singer added. "But I didn't say that, and they pushed the red button and I just went, 'Waiting for the van to arrive.' I just made this whole story up on the spot and we recorded it."

Recording the album over the summer of 1976 in Hérouville, France, Bad Company sat on the finished product while previous LP, Run with the Pack, continued to rock the U.S. charts. The group finally released Burnin' Sky on March 3, 1977. A hit with fans, the album peaked at #15 on the Billboard album chart.

"I can’t remember much about 1977," bassist Boz Burrell admitted during a 1979 interview with Melody Maker. "We ended up shaking. Our bottle had gone and we were killing ourselves, so we knocked it on the head."

"There was a point when I said we weren't going to release the album, we'd finish it but not release it." Rodgers admitted in 2020. "As it turned out, it wasn't a bad album."