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The Firm

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 "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.
-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

February 7, 1962 - Deborah Bonham, sister to John, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
February 23, 1966 - Warren Grant, son of Peter, was born.
February xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin enters the Billboard Top 40
February 16, 1969 - Led Zeppelin wrap up their first American tour in Baltimore, MD.
February 07, 1970 - Edinburgh gig cancelled after Plant receives facial injuries in a car accident
February 28, 1970 - The band performs as "The Nobs" in Copenhagen after threat of legal action from Countess Von Zeppelin
February xx, 1971 - John Paul Jones involved in legal issues regarding a musician who shares the same name
February xx, 1971 - Overdubs for the fourth album are recorded at Island Studios
February 14, 1972 - The band is refused admission into Singapore due to their long hair
February 16, 1972 - The Australian tour begins in Perth
February 21, 1972 - Led Zeppelin: Rock and Roll b/w Four Sticks (Atlantic 45-2865) 45 single is released in the US.
February xx, 1973 - The band makes final preparations for the European tour
February 16, 1973 - The release date for Houses Of The Holy is pushed back due to some sleeve problems
February xx, 1974 - Sessions for Physical Graffiti continue
February 14, 1974 - Page, Plant and Bonham attend a Roy Harper concert
February 04, 1975 - Zeppelin perform a last minute show at Nassau Coliseum to accomodate fans after being banned in Boston
February 24, 1975 - Physical Graffiti finally issued worldwide to phenomenal sales
February xx, 1976 - Media reports that Zeppelin are due to release an album entitled Obelisk
February xx, 1977 - Robert contracts a bout of tonsillitis postponing the American tour
February xx, 1978 - Robert Plant helps produce a record for punk band Dansette Damage
February 16, 1978 - The cases against Bonham, Cole & Grant stemming from the Oakland incident are heard and all receive suspended prison sentences and fines
February xx, 1979 - Although absent from the US stage or market, Led Zeppelin rank best in many music magazine categories
February xx, 1979 - Mixing sessions for In Through The Out Door take place at Polar Studios. Rumors fly of a European tour
February 03, 1980 - Robert joins Dave Edmund’s Rockpile at the Birmingham Top Rank
February 13, 2005 - Led Zeppelin receives a Grammy for Lifetime Achievment.
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