Simon Kirke Of Bad Company: 10 Albums That Changed My Life

Simone Kirke Of Bad Company: 10 Albums That Changed My Life

Feature Photo courtesy of Simon Kirke

Looking back across the last 60-odd years of rock music, you’d be hard-pressed to find a harder-hitting and groovier drummer than Simon Kirke. Born in Lambeth, London, England, but deeply influenced by American R&B, Motown soul, and British Invasion ’60s rock, Kirke upended the drum paradigm with his band Free (think “All Right Now” and “Fire and Water”) in an era when rock music, save for the likes of Carmine Appice and John Bonham, featured either spastic types or soft-hitting, jazzier players.

But don’t get it twisted—there’s nothing wrong with jazz fills or frenetic flourishes ala Mitch Mitchell, Giner Baker, and Keith Moon. Still, there’s something bewitching about the backbeat via blues rock that Kirke laid forth with Free and, later, the titanous Bad Company (think “Bad Company,” and “Shooting Star”), who became one of the premier ’70s rock acts en route to monster FM radio success.

These days, Kirke is still at it, though Bad Company has been dormant for the last few years. But don’t take that to mean Kirke is complacent—quite the contrary. He’s ready to go at a moment’s notice, knowing that time waits for no one and that it could be the last time if Bad Company does saddle up again.

Here’s to hoping we get one last ride out of Bad Company, as it is a trend with older rockers these days. But in the meantime, Simon Kirke beamed in with to recount the ten albums that changed his life. Can you spot any of your personal favorites?

# 10 – Blue –  Joni Mitchell (1971)

The lady was not only possessed of beautiful looks but also had an exquisite voice. She experimented with different tunings and instruments and crafted a dozen songs here that still amaze and seduce 50-odd years later.

# 9 – Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul by Otis Redding (1965)

One of the all-time great singers, Otis Redding, greatly influenced Paul Rodgers. I love the simplicity and stripped-down sound of Booker T. & the M.G.’s. It also featured my number one drumming influence, Al Jackson Jr. Check out “Shake” and “Down in the Valley,” with the latter being quite simply the funkiest track ever recorded.

# 8 – Rubber Soul – The Beatles (1965)

This album and Revolver launched The Beatles into the firmament as bona fide musical innovators and visionaries. It’s hard to single out any one song on Rubber Soul as they are all good, but what really struck me then and still does today was their incredible harmonies; “Nowhere Man,” “The Word,” “If I Needed Someone,” all have glorious close harmonies, no autotune, and all done on four tracks. I use ten tracks on my drum kit when I record!

# 7 – Revolver by The Beatles (1966)

And Revolver came a short time later with the sublime “Eleanor Rigby,” “Taxman,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” and more. I often group this with Rubber Soul, as they’re both great, and it’s hard to separate them. Some 60 years on these two (for one) albums still stand head and shoulders above many albums today.

# 6 – Axis: Bold as Love – Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)

Rumor has it that upon seeing Jimi at his debut at a London Club, Eric Clapton phoned [The Who’s] Pete Townsend (or maybe the other way around) and said, “We’re in trouble.” Jimi turned the pop world upside down with his onstage antics and wild persona.

And those antics, and that persona was a vehicle to showcase his amazing guitar playing. His chord work on “Castles Made of Sand” and “Wait Until Tomorrow” just defies belief. And a tip of the hat to Mitch Mitchell, who was a wonderful drummer.

# 5 – Live – James Taylor (1993)

I’ve always loved James Taylor. His guitar playing, his pitch-perfect singing, and the superb musicians that he always surrounded himself with. This is one of the great live albums, beautifully recorded and performed.

# 4 – Let It Roll – Little Feat (1988)

Little Feat is one of the great American bands. When they lost Lowell George to a heroin overdose, they languished for a while without their frontman but bounced back in 1988 with this incredible album. There’s not a bad song here; “Willing,” “Let it Roll,” and ” One Clear Moment” are examples. All these musicians deserve a place in musical halls of fame—especially Richie Hayward on drums, Billy Payne on keyboards, and Paul Barrere on guitar.

# 3 – Live at the Apollo –  James Brown (1962)

James Brown was at the height of his powers here when he came to Harlem’s Apollo with his band, which featured two drummers who worked tirelessly. That rhythm section was as tight as paint on a board, and the man himself defied all vocal expectations.

# 2 – Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton –  John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (1966)

I heard this album the same week I heard Live at the Apollo. I was 17 then and just getting ready to come to London and try to be a musician. And when I listened to this album, and particularly Eric Clapton’s playing, I nearly didn’t go.

Eric’s playing was incredible, and I believe he was 22, which floored me. In particular, songs like “Stepping Out” and “Hideaway” were memorable. At the time, I had never heard a guitar played like that. It was spine-tingling.

# 1 – Aretha’s Gold –  Aretha Franklin (1969)

The mid to late ’60s were a great musical awakening for me. The Beatles and soul music were the two musical forces that galvanized me, and Aretha Franklin’s power, pitching, and phrasing set the bar for countless female vocalists.

This album also featured the Muscle Shoals band with the core members of Roger Hawkins on drums, David Hood on bass, Barry Beckett on keyboards, Jimmy Johnson on guitar, and Spooner Oldham on Wurlitzer, proving that white men could, indeed, play soul along with one of the finest female vocalists ever.

Simon Kirke Of Bad Company: 10 Albums That Changed My Life article published on Classic© 2023 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either supplied by the artists, public domain Creative Commons photos, or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Haunting Songs In Rock Music
10 Most Haunting Songs In Rock Music
David Foster Songs
Top 10 David Foster Songs
Bruce Springsteen Songs
Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Songs Loved By His Older Fans
Steppenwolf Songs
Top 10 Steppenwolf Songs
Stevie Nicks Albums
Top 10 Stevie Nicks Albums
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Thin Lizzy Albums
Top 10 Thin Lizzy Albums
Sinead O’Connor Songs
10 Sinéad O’Connor Songs We Love The Most
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch's Role in Fleetwood Mac
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch’s Role in Fleetwood Mac
Billy Joel's new single
Billy Joel To Release Brand New Song On February 1st 2024
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner Interview
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner: The Interview
Rival Sons Interview
Scott Holiday of Rival Sons: The Interview
Scott Ward Interview
Scott Ward: The Interview
Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Complete List Of Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Pretty Things Albums
Complete List Of Pretty Things Albums And Discography
The Hooters Albums
Complete List Of The Hooters Albums And Discography
311 Albums
Complete List Of 311 Albums And Songs
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums
Complete List Of Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums And Songs
Foghat Night Shift Album Review
Why We Loved Foghat’s Night Shift Album
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Return of the Dream Canteen Album Review
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Return Of The Dream Canteen Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review