Make or Break
Someone to Love
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
Money Can't Buy
The teaming up in 1984 of Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers as The Firm succeeded in at least one regard: it got Page out of the personal and professional rut he had mouldered in since the demise of Led Zeppelin four years earlier (triggered by the drink-related death of drummer John Bonham).
Or, as Jimmy put it to me not long after the band dissolved in 1986, The Firm was what “saved” him.
Rodgers' tenancy in his two previous bands – Free had been blues-rock contemporaries of Zeppelin’s in the late-60s, while Bad Company had been Zep’s Swan Song labelmates – meant that he was one of the few people Page still felt comfortable around.
Although they had the same name once given to the infamous Krays’ gang, there were no heavy-duty ambitions for The Firm, beyond Page’s desire simply to “get out and play and just really enjoy ourselves”. Or, as Rodgers would later say: “It was a vehicle, as much as anything, to help Jimmy get back on his feet, musically."
Ultimately, the band's debut album The Firm failed to set the world alight, although it made made a respectable showings in the US album chart, and the single Radioactive reached the US Top 30.
Every week, Album of the Week Club listens to and discusses the album in question, votes on how good it is, and publishes our findings, with the aim of giving people reliable reviews and the wider rock community the chance to contribute.
Other albums released in February 1985
- No Jacket Required - Phil Collins
- Starpeace - Yoko Ono
- She's The Boss - Mick Jagger
- The Breakfast Club - Various Artists
- Armed And Dangerous EP - Anthrax
- Beyond Appearances - Santana
- Love Bomb - The Tubes
What they said...
"The Firm is a dim and superannuated blues rock record released in the middle of the hair metal years, the sleeve is not too attractive, and the music contained was not so imaginative, in either case. The slow heavy rock Make Or Break, Mann/Weil/Spector's You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, the funky Radioactive and Midnight Moonlight are the moderately interesting cuts on this album." (RateYourMusic)
"The real disappointment is Jimmy Page. Could these sloppy, sluggish riffs come from the same genius who created Led Zeppelin's ferocious bite? Is it possible that the engineers who worked on Zeppelin's records really deserved far more credit for the sound than they received? If Jimmy Page's name weren't listed here and if his face didn't appear on the album sleeve (as well as in the Radioactive video), one might think that his involvement was just a rumour, if not a joke." (Rolling Stone)
"The fact that Midnight Moonlight was actually an unfinished Led Zeppelin cut entitled Swansong, left over from the Physical Graffiti sessions, led some to believe that Page had run out of new ideas for the project. While it is true that this album isn't as uniformly excellent as Led Zeppelin's work, it is the best from this short-lived band and turned out to be Page's most consistent effort from the entire decade of the '80s." (AllMusic)
What you said...
Gary Claydon: What do you get if you combine two genuine members of Rock Royalty ans back them up with a very capable rhythm section? Why, a 'supergroup' of course and, in the case of The Firm, two mediocre albums and some decent live dates.
The Firm was conceived after Page and Rogers had played together on the ARMS tour. Both had found themselves in a certain degree of musical limbo after the break up of their respective bands. Rogers had released his first solo album, Cut Loose, while Page had dabbled with the stillborn XYZ project and the Death Wish II soundtrack. Originally, The Firm was meant to comprise the pair of them plus drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Pino Palladino from Paul Young's band but, for contractual reasons those two couldn't come on board so Tony Franklin and Chris Slade were recruited in their stead. Not too shabby as substitutes go!
If history has shown us anything about 'supergroups' it's that they, more often than not, fail to live up to, often sizeable, expectations. The very best bands are organically grown, whereas 'supergroups' are more man-made. As such, they are often lacking something - a spark, a certain chemistry - that makes a band great. This usually manifests itself in the song writing more than anything else and that's certainly demonstrated on The Firm.
As with any combo of the calibre of The Firm, the musicianship takes care of itself but the song writing just doesn't gel. The result is competent but pedestrian AOR which, at times, has one eye squarely on MTV territory. The 'hit' single Radioactive being the prime example. The whole thing feels a bit cobbled-together. There is no real sense of cohesion or flow. Too many times, for instance, Page's guitar parts seem like a bit of an after thought, a bit tacked-on.
The most interesting thing on the album by miles is Midnight Moonlight. The genesis of this track is well documented but here it's all a bit messy. The arrangement isn't great, the incongruous backing vocals towards the end being particularly annoying. Which is a shame. There are some good ideas in there and it's the only time on the album where Page stretches out to any extent. While Rogers' vocals aren't bad on Midnight Moonlight, I do think it's a track which would be better suited to a different kind of vocalist, someone like, I dunno, Robert Plant ?
Oh and the cover of You've Lost That Loving Feeling smacks, not so much of filler, more of desperation - a sign that they were struggling to come up with material?
At the time of release this album was a pretty big deal. For me, anything Zep-related always was (and still is) and I've always been a big fan of Rogers and both Free and Bad Company. But it wasn't well received critically and, although it achieved some reasonable chart action, it's easy to see why. I also don't think it's aged particularly well either. It's very 'of its time' and, with it's time being the mid 80s, that's not necessarily a good thing.
I did get to see The Firm, at Middlesbrough Town Hall, and they were really good live, as you would expect. The fact that it took me a couple of days to search out my copies of this and the follow-up, Mean Business, tells me that I haven't listened to them very often down the years and, while it was nice to revisit both albums, I think it might be a while before I dig them out again.
Marco LG: Before this week my experience of Jimmy Page post-Zeppelin was limited to the albums he released with Coverdale first and Plant later. I knew nothing about The Firm and went in with my mind as open as possible.
The first thing that I noticed is that this is a typical mid-80s album, where the one single stands out like a sore thumb from the rest. Luckily, in this case Radioactive happens to also be the best song of the lot, so at least on that front I’m rather positive. Given the year of release I am also happy to report that synthesisers are used sparingly and tastefully, another aspect I’m very happy about.
My main problem is that the low points of this album are so low they have me reaching for the skip button, every time. And they are placed right in the middle of it: Together is an awful attempt at a big ballad, and the cover of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling is so bad it actually has some comic relief value (if only it was three minutes shorter). The infinitesimal quality of these songs and their position in the running order make listening to The Firm a painful and forgettable experience for me, but we are in the age of streaming and it’s easy to create a playlist without the two offenders.
With the running time reduced to just above half hour, this becomes a rather competent affair, with a few moments of brilliance: namely the aforementioned Radioactive, Closer and the Led Zeppelin outtake Midnight Moonlight. Enough for a decent score probably but certainly not classic rock material.
In conclusion: The Firm is a rather forgettable album containing a few songs worth collecting in a playlist of deep cuts. Some moments are brilliant, others are utterly disappointing. Overall I will score it 5 out of 10
Kevin Miller: I think it’s a mediocre album from a band that could have done much more with their talent, but I think most of the songs are listenable and very much exactly what I would expect from two 70s superstars trying to bridge into the mid-80s. They just stayed in their comfort zone and tried to combine their sounds to create Led Company (I like it a bit, so I’ll refrain from calling it Bad Zeppelin).
While I agree with others that Franklin is the standout artist on this album (granted, I’m a bassist), I’m surprised at how many are commenting that the “Jimmy Page sound” didn’t come out. I listen and hear the same rhythmic themes as much of his later Zeppelin work, especially on the back to back combo of Someone To Love and Together. It’s often commented that Midnight Moonlight is the most “Page“ performance, but I feel like Paul completely took it over and it sounds much more like a Bad Company song to me than a Zeppelin one. It’s a 6 for me. Not great, but not bad, and certainly not groundbreaking or imaginative in any way.
Brett Deighton: I hadn’t played this in ages. That had me wondering why? Amazing group of musicians, but not an amazing group of songs. They’re mostly simple songs played really well. Not sure who thought the cover was a great idea. I actually find myself enjoying the final few tracks the most. I also have to say that fretless bass is a real highlight.
Plamen Agov: Although I’m a devoted Bad Company fan – both eras, Rodgers and Howe – it was not until 2018 that I finally put The Firm on my player to hear what it's all about.
Not bad as a whole but… it's odd to have released soft, calm rock material during the peak of the 80s, when many powerful hard rock and heavy metal Giants totally ruled the world. Man, in those years, you couldn’t compete with Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, the German heavy metal wave and many more. Naturally, few noticed this title on the shelves.
The album starts well with Closer, Make or Break and Someone to Love, all typical of Bad Company stuff, followed by some filler until one more good song, Money Can't Buy and the absolute peak for me, the superb Satisfaction Guaranteed, which would be the only tune that I’d put in my list of 1985.
In conclusion, man, there is nothing of Led Zep. In terms of music style, this is a total pure Bad Company album, and no matter what anyone says, it should be in the collection of every Paul Rodgers fan.
Bill Griffin: I hadn't listened to this in a long time and I like it more now than I remember doing back then. Nonetheless, it still sounds too much like Page trying not to sound like Led Zeppelin which is what comes natural to him. As a result, it comes off as quite stiff to me. Enjoyable in the moment then but not particularly memorable.
Brian Carr: There was far too much talent in The Firm to produce such a boring record. Rodgers and Page are in the upper echelon of vocalists and guitarists, and I absolutely love the fretless bass sound from Tony Franklin, but too many of the songs here are yawn-inducing.
For me, the sequencing is “good track, bland track” throughout, and while there are reasonably solid moments, even the good tracks aren’t standouts. The back and forth nature puts the radio tracks Radioactive in the “good track” category and Satisfaction Guaranteed under “bland track.” The former is fine, but not solid enough to completely escape the dreaded burnout label for me; the latter can’t be saved by some interesting guitar moments from Page.
So in which category does album closer Midnight Moonlight land? It probably summarises The Firm perfectly, with ear catching moments alternating with others that have me peeking at my watch.
Listening to The Firm made me wonder if my lack of joy is related to Paul Rodgers. I’ve long been disinterested in Bad Company other than Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy, a tune I’ll likely never tire of, but I don’t know that I’ve ever explored their full albums (maybe I’ll find some unexpected gems). On the other hand, I’ve very much liked the Free music I’ve spent time with. Overall, The Firm just made me want to listen to another Tony Franklin supergroup, Blue Murder, which I think I’ll do right now!
Kathy Kerr Gonzalez: Of course Paul Rodgers has a great voice, but on this album, I find out that no, I would not care to hear him sing the phone book. Forgettable melodies and lyrics written by Austin Powers and a team of 12-year-olds, it's generic, plodding, and pointless. I do appreciate the effort to go a little prog, but the lyrics unfortunately spin it more towards hair metal.
As for Jimmy Page, if I didn't know he was here, I'd still be asking, "who's the guitarist?" because there are some brief moments when he rings out. But it sounds like he's mostly just phoning it in.
All in all, it lacks direction and purpose. I have no idea what You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling is doing here - Did they run out of material? Does this somehow inform or further explain the other songs? Besides which it's the saddest drunken lament of a cover. If I had this in my record collection, I would sell it to the used record store - someone else might like it.
Mike Canoe: When you name your new band "The Firm," that pretty well telegraphs it's the epitome of corporate rock. An album of well-executed adult oriented rock (AOR) not that far removed from what similarly established peers like Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, and Steve Winwood were doing at the time. To quote another superstar, "What a drag it is getting old."
My overall impression is that it sounds more like a Paul Rodgers solo album than a supergroup. He wrote the big hit, Radioactive, on his own as well as a couple of other songs, and co-wrote the rest of the originals with Jimmy Page.
Page is the first musician you hear on opener Closer and is instantly recognisable but seems kinda muted throughout. It's as if he's content with focusing on his other favourite "instrument", the studio - because the album sounds great, if not particularly inspired. As a guitarist, he seems to save the flash for outros like Make Or Break or Satisfaction Guaranteed. Actually, Tony Franklin's fretless bass is probably the second-most dominant instrument after Rodgers' voice. Drummer Chris Slade is a great timekeeper but I'm sure he was excited to quicken the pace with AC/DC.
Rodgers' lyrics tend to reuse the same clichés he mined in Bad Company. Unattainable woman? Money Can't Buy. Fantasy woman? Midnight Moonlight. Ready for love? Closer. Not ready for love? Make or Break. Ready for love again? Someone To Love. Ready to settle down? Together. By my math, he's in his mid-thirties when he sings, "Now that I'm a man..." on that one. Although, admittedly, rhyming "not unattractive" with "radioactive" is unexpected.
The biggest clunker is the meandering and unfocused cover of You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'. Little did the Firm know that Tom Cruise and a bunch of actors would best them in a drunken karaoke scene the following year in Top Gun. Ouch.
For me, the Firm is competent commercial rock, but as a supergroup, they're a little *ahem* limp.
Glenn McDonald: I've always loved this one. For me, Jimmy's single best album beyond Led Zeppelin, and Paul's best post Bad Company. Honestly, I was expecting it to be much more celebrated on reappraisal than results so far.
When this was released, it sure threw many for a curveball. I was 14 and only discovering the works of Zeppelin and Free / Bad Co, and not old enough to remember them as active bands. So it was my first "new" release from both camps and I remember being mightily excited. It certainly wasn't what I, or most, were expecting.
Mercurial Pagerian guitar symphonies are almost entirely absent, so too the big hook / big riff motif choruses of Bad Company's typical hits. What we get in their place, is a selection of beautifully crafted and executed adult-oriented, contemporary rock songs. A peculiarly non-showy record, considering the principal participants, that reveals its strengths with deep listening.
Opening with the brass embellished, yet vaguely subdued Closer, the album really sparks into life on track two, Make Or Break. Featuring a sinewy riff, surprisingly penned by Rodgers rather than Page, and an off-kilter Presence-era Zep solo, it builds to a fine head of steam before Chris Slade expertly rolls the drum beat straight into track three, the bluesy barnstormer Someone To Love. Kudos to Tony Franklin here in particular, but indeed across the album, for some fantastic fretless bass work. Definitely the unsung hero of proceedings.
Together is a heartfelt ballad, with some of Paul's keenest vocals and a beautifully understated solo from Jimmy. Side one is closed out by the single, Radioactive. Almost a radio hit, you can hear the band aiming here for something of the times in which they were recording, and I think they maybe just about get there. Whatever they were aiming for, it's definitely something fresh for both Page and Rodgers considering their backgrounds as stalwarts of the hairy, lairy 70s rock scene.
Side two is much more of a "deep cut" affair. A decent stab at the Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Loving Feeling gets things underway, likely Paul's input considering his love of soul and R&B. I love Slade's drumming on this one, thunderous yet understated, a wee trick he would later employ to great effect on AC/DC's Thunderstruck.
The next two tracks - Money Can't Buy and Satisfaction Guaranteed - are where the band really hit pay-dirt in realising something approaching their own sound. Both are unique from anything their previous bands hinted at across illustrious recording histories. Money Can't Buy has that rainy, late night downtown feel, like a Hopper painting in sound. Satisfaction Guaranteed is a honeyed, blue-eyed soul song, given just enough of a sour twist by Page's note bends and bottleneck solo.
The album finishes on the nine minute epic Midnight Moonlight, and hey, it is that guy from Led Zeppelin after all! Jimmy saving his trademark intricate weave of guitar for the finale, on a song said to be based on the mythical unreleased Zep track Swan Song. Rodgers and Page swoop and dive around each other here, like two birds of a feather in dusky murmuration. Compositionally, it perhaps doesn't quite hang together like the best of Zeppelin epics, but from a performance standpoint, there are more than a few minutes across its grand sweep where the band capture that elusive lightning in a bottle that all artists seek.
Largely critically panned at the time of release, this stands up today as a classy, grown-up rock record, made with integrity and not some little expertise. Respectful of the pasts of those involved without ever trying too hard to emulate, it finds its own pocket and delivers a deep and satisfying listening experience.
Iain Macaulay: Not a big fan of Free or Bad Company, but I am a fan of Zeppelin. Yet the overriding impression of this album is that it does nothing positive for the legacy of Rogers or Page. The whole album doesn’t seem to go anywhere and sounds very uninspired, both vocally and musically. Never mind lyrically.
And that mid 80’s, swamped-in-reverb-and-chorus production doesn’t do it any favours either. It sounds like a case of too much cocaine in the studio and trying a bit too hard to cover all the commercial sounds of the time. If I wasn’t aware of the irony, I’d say they were trying to out do Ann and Nancy Wilson’s Heart, album, which came out the same year but went five times platinum.
But the bass player decided he wanted to target Tony Levin, who hit gold playing on Peter Gabriel’s So album. Which also went five times platinum. Of course, neither is true as all these albums were being written around the same time. But it does show a bit of a mishmash of unfulfilled ideas, which is a shame really.
Roland Bearne: Wow, reading back over the comments, the phrase "damning with faint praise" comes to mind. I bought this when it came out, tingling with anticipation as a Zep nut and growing fan of Rodgers (I was only 15, playing catchup). I duly plonked it on the platter and was duly underwhelmed!
I have played it on occasion over the years but it has remained largely unloved in pristine condition in its duly alphabetised place. Re-listening for this august page I had something of a Damascene moment. While perhaps less than the sum of its much anticipated parts, particularly at the time, this listening suddenly revealed a genuinely fine album.
The quality and experience of the players is beyond question. The songs are good, actually really good in some instances. The playing is stellar, with a particular doff of the cap to Tony Franklin's fantastic fretless bass work and Rodgers is in superb voice.
Why then is this not a slam dunk 10? To some extent it is the "corporate rock" gloss which makes everything supremely sanitised (I wonder if Chris Slade put his Collins-esque fills in as a comment or because that's what they were actually going for?).
I may be in a minority feeling that Rodger's vocal on You've Lost That Loving Feeling was soulful and quite excellent, the drums and bass were on point, but the guitar arrangement somehow didn't fit. And today it clicked, on many occasions PP's guitar textures just sort of jarred. He definitely wanted to avoid Zep tropes and also being too straight ahead and being accused of Free/BadCo stylings.
Unfortunately the final result, for me is that a lot of the guitar work sounds over-thought. Having said that, Money Can't Buy totally gels and Midnight Moonlight features classic Page open tuned acoustic, just delicious. It would have been fascinating to see how the track would have turned out with Plant!
Aside from the whole being a tad overcooked thereby making it a bit stodgy, I enjoyed this more than at any time previously. It's very "grown up" and there's no way 15-year-old me would have ever given it much time. 55-year-old me forgives its corporate rock pomposity and found much to enjoy. It's aged way better than I imagined it would. Might investigate their second (never bothered at the time!)
Jacob Tannehill: Great album (and the second one was just as good). If there would have been a lesser caliber singer than Paul Rodgers on this then it would have been a train wreck. Lots of great tunes on there. Tony Franklin carried a lot of weight on there with his outstanding bass playing. I still play the hell out of this on vinyl. Closer, Radioactive, Midnight Moonlight and Satisfaction Guaranteed are all classics in my book. Really enjoyed the cover of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling. I think a lot of people compare every single thing he does to Led Zeppelin, and not as a stand-alone project, and that’s when the negativity starts.
Adam Ranger: Just a bit forgettable isn't it? Definitely sounds dated now. A couple of nice touches on Make Or Break and Money Can't Buy, but for me it's forgettable and disappointing, given the two stellar talents involved.
John Davidson: This has, on the face of it, the ingredients for a fantastic album: Paul Rodgers is a great, soulful blues singer. Jimmy Page has written and played some of my most treasured moments in music. But sadly this suffers from the curse of the supergroups and is less than the sum of its parts. It sounds stale and dated and seems completely devoid of any emotional resonance.
I'll admit I was ready to give up on this after one listen, though I did persevere, and it did improve with multiple runs through. I think it's the bass playing that dates it more than anything. I can see the speedboats crossing Miami harbour as I listen to these songs.
From what I've read it was something that Rodgers and Page cooked up between them for fun and perhaps as a bit of therapy for Jimmy who was listless after the breakup of Led Zep. Its perhaps not surprising that it doesn't sound much like either Bad Company or Zep - and fair play to the two of them for trying something new.
Side two is probably a bit better than side one. Despite opening with an inauspicious cover of You've Lost That Loving Feeling, the remaining three tracks are the best on the album. Its not awful, but I didn't get the desire to buy it or play it again after my review listens.. 5/10.
Alex Hayes: As a rock music fan whose formative years took place during the heady days of the 1980s, yet whose all-time favourite group happens to be Led Zeppelin, I've often pondered to myself down the years as to just how well that band might, or possibly might not, have prospered had they remained an ongoing concern past 1980 itself and beyond. As the new decade took hold, Zeppelin, like many others, would have found themselves having to adapt to a fast changing music industry.
Imagine a scenario where John Bonham hadn't tragically passed away in September of that year, or the remaining members had elected to continue creating music together. Just how well would Led Zeppelin have coped fitting into an ever changing rock and metal scene that was hugely exciting to be a fan of, yet was so troublesome for many longer standing music artists?
We'll never really know for sure, but, if 1985 was any indication, then likely not without a few missteps along the way. As well as Zeppelin's now infamous Live Aid performance, that fateful year saw the release of both Shaken 'N' Stirred, Robert Plant's third solo effort, and this debut album from Jimmy Page's new supergroup, the not very imaginatively titled The Firm.
The former was one of Plant's more left-field releases. Brave in execution, it was nevertheless far less satisfying than his first two albums (or 1988's terrific Now And Zen for that matter). The latter fared no better and ended up under-performing across the board. It was tepidly received both critically and commercially and, after getting picked up for cheap on vinyl during a heatwave in 1992 (from the long lost and lamented Power Cuts Records, just off Oxford Street in Manchester), was a bit of a letdown for me also. Decent in places, but too inconsequential to amount to anything more.
It had so many of the right ingredients in place to be far superior though. After all, Page is teamed up with no less than the outstanding Paul Rodgers here, one of the finest rock vocalists of all time. The rhythm section is no slouch either, with Tony Franklin's fretless bass being one of the album's highlights for me. With such stellar personnel, both this album and it's sequel (1986's equally inconsistent Mean Business) should have been way stronger. The reason that they aren't can only be put down to the quality of the songs on offer, too many of which are middling at best.
The Firm have always put me in mind of a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces don't quite fit together properly. Something that should have worked but a vital component was missing. Don't get me wrong, there's good material here. The album improves greatly over the course of its second half, redundant cover of You've Lost That Loving Feeling aside. It's just not distinctive enough overall for musicians of such high calibre. Obviously, Page and Rodgers must have felt so too and, after Mean Business, the group called it a day. Not with a bang but a whimper, as the saying goes.
In the real world, rather than in the realms of my furtive imagination, Led Zeppelin never got the opportunity to create some kind of odd, sonic hybrid of The Firm's debut and Shaken 'N' Stirred, which is likely where Page and Plant's collective muse would have led them by 1985. They were spared from the kind of, often self induced, creative pressures that produced other 'difficult' 80's records like Dirty Work, Empire Burlesque or Landing On Water.
I mention those specific albums not necessarily through them being bad so much as being examples of artists desperately trying to conform to changing technologies and fashions. Zeppelin never had to resort to recording cheesy videos for the fledgling MTV either. Their music and legacy will forever remain tied to the 1970s. Maybe that's ultimately for the best.
Philip Qvist: A good album. The stars of this show are Paul Rodgers and bassist Tony Franklin. Jimmy Page seemed more subdued than you would have expected, but maybe it was just as well. Chris Slade was solid on the drums.
All in all, a pretty decent album, but I think you could argue that the band members have all played on better albums than this one. Radioactive and Midnight Moonlight are my stand out tracks.
A score of somewhere between 7 or 8/10. Very much a product of the 80s - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Arthur Comix: Jimmy Page was still on drugs when he recorded this, wasn't he? An 80s Stupor-group. Horrible horrible horrible.
Joe Cogan: I've never gotten the appeal of Paul Rogers; he's always struck me as the epitome of a generic blues-rock shouter, with pedestrian songwriting ability at best, and it shows all over this album. (Page would make exactly the same mistake with David Coverdale a few years later, it should be noted: he seems to need Robert Plant a lot more than Plant needed him.)
Joe Mitch: IMHO The Firm was the best thing Page did post-Zep and same for Paul Rodgers post-BadCo. It's the most diverse collection of songs Paul ever did. He never did songs with double kick drum, time changes, key modulation, nine minute epics, etc... For Jimmy, Coverdale/Page was an obvious attempt to recreate Zep's sound and Page/Plant's Clarksdale was a major snoozefest. The Firm had their own identity. Page mostly used the B-Bender, they had a Fretless bass, and a drummer with no hair in the middle of the Hair metal era!
Dave Ferris: When this album was first released, I was a teenager and gobbling up all kinds of rock music that was in my immediate radar. I had been reading Hit Parader and Circus magazines on a monthly basis. I was somewhat familiar with Led Zeppelin and Bad Company. Led Zeppelin had been known to me as the premier heavy and hard rock band of the 70s.
So, at first, I expected this to be a heavier outing than it was. I bought it on cassette and it ultimately was with me in my walkman and car stereo and I grew to love it. The opening of Closer was a strong rocker with some cooler syncopated drumming from Chris Slade. I was in a band in college that covered this song. Tony Franklin's fretless bass really has its own signature sound on this album. Radioactive was the obvious single that got a lot of airplay and I still gravitate to it all these years later.
When MTV began playing the video for Satisfaction Guaranteed, it piqued my interest. The cameo of Les Paul as the bartender was a plus and educating to me as a burgeoning fan of rock music. My brother and I were in a blues trio together in the mid 90s and we covered Satisfaction Guaranteed. So, I have memories of that song too. Although Page and Rodgers were the focal points of the band, Tony Franklin may have been the breakout star on this album for his fretless playing. As a drummer, I became a fan of Chris Slade too.
Overall, I have so many memories of this album, that it will always be one that I hold in a list of favourites in 1985.
Jake Koehler: Shame that this didn't hit bigger. The tunes on it are pretty solid and there was a lot of commercial potential for sure on it.
Mark Veitch: More plodding meat and potatoes rock from the maestro of bland rock music, Paul Rogers.
Paul Hutchings: Jeez, a bloated, plodder of a record that just demonstrated how shocking much of the 80s was. This is as bland, boring and dull now as it was in 1985. The version of You've Lost That Loving Feeling is an absolute stinker. If it was a colour, it would be beige.
Jonathan Crooks: I love a lot of Led Zeppelin, especially IV and Physical Graffiti. I really like Straight Shooter by Bad Company, but The Firm? Truly awful. Have listened straight through twice. Dreadful. One of the best guitarists of all time just on acoustic? Thought I was listening to a Powerstation track that failed to make debut at the beginning. Hope I never have to hear it again.
Final Score: 6.28⁄10 (170 votes cast, with a total score of 1068)
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