Bad Company

Rough Diamonds

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The swan song on Swan Song. Bad Company had done well for themselves by laying off for two years after the disappointing Burnin' Sky (1977), then coming back with Desolation Angels (1979) and its hit single, "Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy." Instead of capitalizing on this resurgence, they disappeared for another three years before trying it again with Rough Diamonds. Remember, it was not yet common in the music business for major groups to stay away from the marketplace that long. In Bad Company's case, the results were disastrous: the album didn't even make the Top 25 in the U.S. or go gold, much less platinum. And those, of course, were the stakes; if a band like this can't fill stadiums, they might as well stay home on their estates. The real problem was that the band had nothing to say. The music was softer and less distinctive than on their earlier records, and it seemed that the team was not getting along. Why else would the bass player, not previously known as a songwriter, get two sole songwriting credits (both wretched songs -- one about watching TV, the other about being in a rock 'n' roll band, naturally), and why else would the singer be allotted three carefully credited lead guitar spots (except that he wanted them and that the real lead guitarist didn't want anyone to think they were his work)? In any case, Bad Company broke up after this album, with Paul Rodgers going solo and then hooking up with Jimmy Page in The Firm, and Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke waiting four years and then disingenuously launching a new band under The Bad Company name. Don't be fooled. This is the end, right here.

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