I got turned on to Free through my brothers Ronnie and Donnie. I was just a kid, and they used to play those albums of theirs on the turntable.
What made Free so special was that they were a melting pot; they had blues, they had rock and they had pop. Their sound was so raw and edgy. When you listened to those records it felt as though they were playing live in your living room.
I never got to see them on stage, but in later years Paul Rodgers became a good friend of mine, and Bad Company toured with Skynyrd last year. That felt a little bit strange, and I had to tell him: “Man, you’re my favourite singer.”
Just like Skynyrd’s music, what Free did back then has become timeless. I’d like to think that in a hundred years from now people will still be listening to both of our bands. You know: “Check this out, man. This is real rock’n’roll.”
Paul Kossoff has been dead for many, many years, but I would love to see Paul Rodgers reunite with Andy Fraser and Simon Kirke. After Kossoff died, Paul went on to form Bad Company with Mick Ralphs, who’s another good friend of mine, and together they did some really good things. They were a little bit different, but in their own way just as good. Bad Co. are still an amazing band, and whenever they played something by Free it made me wonder whether that band could ever perform again. Skynyrd know it better than most, but only the good die young, and nobody knows for sure what might happen further down the road.
I find it crazy that Free aren’t in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. But it took Skynyrd seven nominations before we finally made it in 2006. After a while it became a bit of a running joke, so it was a nice surprise when they accepted.
For the honesty of their music alone, Free should be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Bad Company should be there too. They have inducted people that really shouldn’t be there, so there’s no logical reason for their exclusion. Just let them in!