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The Firm
[Click above for album images]



Anticipation was quite high when it was announced in 1984 that Paul Rodgers, the past voice of Bad Company, and Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin's former guitarist, were creating a "supergroup" called the Firm. Page and Rodgers had first tinkered with the idea of an album after their successful collaboration on the ARMS benefit tour for Ronnie Lane in 1983. Based upon the fact that it had been over five years since Page's last band effort, and two years since Rodger's lackluster finale with the original Bad Company, pundits were more than eager to hear what new material the duo would unleash. However, when the band's self-titled debut was actually released in 1985, it received a critical drubbing and was all but ignored by the record-buying public. That's too bad, for the album is quite good and does nothing to taint the sterling reputations of either of its key players. Page and Rodgers were joined on The Firm by veteran drummer Chris Slade and Roy Harper-alum Tony Franklin. Slade's Bonham-esque sledgehammer attack on the skins, coupled with Franklin's fretless basslines, added dimension to Rodgers' smooth vocals and Page's layered guitar textures. Page's tone throughout is very reminiscent of the sound of his overdubs on Coda, as well as the sound he would subsequently employ on 1988's Outrider. Opening track Closer cleverly uses a subtle horn section to good effect, while Someone to Love represents all the good elements of the band in one number. Rodgers' "Radioactive" was actually a minor hit for the band, its quirkiness overcoming the goofiness of the lyrics. The album's best cut is Satisfaction Guaranteed, a mid-tempo gem with a snaky and exotic Page riff and a heartfelt vocal performance by Rodgers. The only weak track on the record is the unnecessary cover of the Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Loving Feeling, which feels totally out of place. The album-closing Midnight Moonlight could have been the Firm's best song, but the underwhelming arrangement and superfluous backing vocals partially destroyed it. The fact that Midnight Moonlight was actually an unfinished Led Zeppelin cut entitled Swan Song, 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.
-Brian Downing, AllMusic
Statistics

Released:
Feb. 11, 1985

Chart Position:
#17 (US) #15 (UK)

Certified:
Gold: Apr. 11, 1985

Tracks

1. Closer
2. Make or Break
3. Someone to Love
4. Together
5. Radioactive
6. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
7. Money Can't Buy
8. Satisfaction Guaranteed
9. Midnight Moonlight
Quick Fact

Jimmy Page first demoed the roots of Midnight Moonlight in mid-1973 at his home studio, complete with Mellotron accompaniment.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

October xx, 1968 - Led Zeppelin is recorded
October 19, 1968 - Final performance as the New Yardbirds
October 31, 1969 - Led Zeppelin II is released in the US
October 17, 1969 - Bonham is thrilled to play Carnegie Hall where Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa have performed
October 23, 1970 - Led Zeppelin III is released in the US
October xx, 1970 - The press lash out at the band over the Led Zeppelin III acoustic content
October xx, 1971 - Page and Plant venture around Thailand and India after the Japan tour
October 18, 1972 - Zeppelin rehearse at the Rainbow Theater for a UK tour
October xx, 1973 - Each member performs an individual film sequence for their concept film
October 31, 1974 - Swan Song hosts a party for the launch of its UK division
October xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin decide not to tour and concentrate on recording new material
October 20, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same premieres at New York’s Cinema One
October xx, 1977 - Jimmy starts assembling a Led Zeppelin live album from recordings as far back as 1969
October xx, 1978 - Jones and Bonham record with Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios
October xx, 1978 - Rehearsals for In Through The Out Door in London
October xx, 1979 - All nine Led Zeppelin albums enter the Billboards Top 200 -- no other band has ever achieved this
October 10, 1980 - A private funeral is held for John Bonham at Rushock church in Worcestershire
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