Paul Bernard Rodgers (born 17 December 1949, Middlesbrough, England), is an English singer-songwriter. He is known chiefly as a member of the bands Free and Bad Company. He also collaborated on two albums with Jimmy Page in the Firm, and one album with Queen.
Rodgers credits his father for buying him a guitar in his youth, and he later taught himself to play bass and piano. He began writing songs when he was in his early teenage years, before he had mastered any musical instrument. Rodgers is best known for his expressive soulful vocals and the role as the lead singer in Free and Bad Company (with Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke, Boz Burrell), and the songs 'All Right Now', 'Feel Like Makin' Love', 'Rock Steady', 'Rock 'n Roll Fantasy', and 'Shooting Star'. After the original line-up broke-up in 1981, various incarnations of the band have toured, mostly without Rodgers' participation. Rodgers attempted a career as a solo artist, before deciding to form the Firm, and releasing two albums. In the early 80s, it was rumoured that he would also sing with the Rossington Collins Band (composed of the survivors of Lynyrd Skynyrd), but the pairing never eventuated. During the 1970s, Rodgers was also named as a possible replacement for Ian Gillan, when he left Deep Purple in 1973.
Rodgers released his first solo album Cut Loose in 1983, before forming the Firm, with Jimmy Page, Tony Franklin, and Chris Slade in late 1984. In 1991, he teamed with ex-Who drummer Kenny Jones and recorded an album as the Law which featured various artists including David Gilmour, Bryan Adams, and Chris Rea. A tribute album to Muddy Waters, Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters followed in 1993 which also featured many guest musicians. A tour followed, featuring former Journey and Bad English guitarist Neal Schon. In autumn 2004, Rodgers participated in an all-star line up of some of the world's greatest guitarists and thousands of fans gathered at London's Wembley Arena to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Fender Stratocaster guitar. In 2005, he participated in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Four Tops, wherein he was credited with assisting that band's popularity in the United Kingdom.
Rodgers was asked by British rock group Queen to sing lead vocals on their European tour. Paul joined Brian May and Roger Taylor on stage, and the group was billed as Queen + Paul Rodgers; participants pointed out that Rodgers did not join Queen to replace the late Freddie Mercury. Rodgers sang with Queen at their 2005 European performances. A live CD and DVD Return of the Champions was released late 2005. Further concerts were played in Japan and also two concerts in the USA. In 2005 he performed John Lennon's 'Imagine'. Queen + Paul Rodgers toured the US and Canada in 2006 playing twenty-three venues, including Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Seattle, and Portland. They released a studio album of original material The Cosmos Rocks in 2008. Following the disbanding of Queen + Paul Rodgers, Rodgers reformed Bad Company. Rodgers turned down the lead vocalist position with Aerosmith after being approached by Joe Perry to replace Steve Tyler. Tyler never left Aerosmith, but wanted a break from live performances.
In 2014, Rodgers released The Royal Sessions, a tribute to the classic soul and rhythm and blues music that influenced him as a youth.
Rodgers received an honorary doctorate from the University Teesside in 2010. He also holds a second degree black belt in martial arts. Rodgers married fitness instructor Cynthia Rodgers (née Kereluk) in September 2007. He has a son Steve Rodgers (born 1972), and a daughter Jasmine Rodgers (born 1976). Both are musicians.
- Cut Loose (1983)
- The Law (1991)
- Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters (1993)
- Now (1997)
- Live (1997, The Loreley Tapes)
- Electric (2000)
- Live In Glasgow (2007)
- Live at Hammersmith Apollo (2009)
- Paul Rodgers & Friends: Live at Montreux 1994 (2011)
- Paul Rodgers Live (2011)
- The Royal Sessions (2014)
- Blake, Mark (2011). Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Queen, Reprint. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81959-9 (OCLC 657595576).
- Rosen, Steven (2010) Free at Last: The Story of Free and Bad Company. Reprint. London: SAF Publishing. ISBN 978-0-946719-74-7 (OCLC 57485779).
- Sutcliffe, Phil (2009). Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-3719-6 (OCLC 308175415).
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