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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


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November 21, 1968 - Robert becomes a father to a baby girl named Carmen Jane.
November 09, 1968 - Robert marries Maureen in London. Their reception is a performance at the Roundhouse in London
November xx, 1969 - Tempers flare over Atlantic in the UK wanting to release singles
November xx, 1969 - Recording for Led Zeppelin III begins at Olympic Studios in London
November xx, 1970 - Plans are in motion for a Yardbirds reunion
November 08, 1971 - Finally after much anticipation, Untitled is released
November xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy is mixed and completed
November 10, 1972 - Led Zeppelin sell out 120,000 tickets in one day
November xx, 1973 - Initial recordings for Physical Graffiti commences at Headley Grange
November 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finalize the purchase of Headley Grange to be their new corporate headquarters
November xx, 1974 - The band makes plans and rehearses for the tenth North American tour
November xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin records Presence in a mere 18 days
November xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin book into Ezyhire Studios to rehearse new material for an upcoming tour
November 04, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same movie premieres in Europe
November xx, 1977 - Jimmy dispells rumors of Led Zeppelin’s break up
November 06, 1978 - Led Zeppelin purchase and ship new gear to Polar Studios to begin work on a new album
November 10, 1979 - Led Zeppelin and their entire entourage attend an ABBA concert
November 07, 1980 - The band meets with Peter Grant to announce the retirement of Led Zeppelin
November 29, 1999 - The RIAA announced that Led Zeppelin were only the third act in music history to achieve four or more Diamond albums, a Diamond album being awarded for accredited sales of more than 10 million units in the US.
November 01, 2007 - An announcement was made that Jimmy Page had fractured his finger on his left hand after a fall in his garden and the reunion show would be postponed to December 10, 2007.
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