Desolation Angels is the fifth studio album by the English rock band Bad Company. The album was released on March 17, 1979. Paul Rodgers revealed on In the Studio with Redbeard (which devoted an episode to Desolation Angels) that the album’s title came from the novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac. The title was almost used 10 years previous to name the second album from Rodgers’ previous band, Free, which in the end was called simply Free.
Desolation Angels was recorded at Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey, England in late 1978. It is considered the last strong album by Bad Company with the original lineup, mostly because it contains their last major hit, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy”, written by Paul Rodgers and inspired by a guitar synthesizer riff that Rodgers had come up with.
“Gone, Gone, Gone”, written by bassist Boz Burrell, also received substantial airplay on rock stations. The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard album charts in 1979 and went Platinum in 1979 and Double Platinum subsequently.
A cover version of “Oh, Atlanta”, written by Mick Ralphs, was recorded by Alison Krauss and appears on her 1995 album Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection. The original version was used in the open to The Nashville Network’s 1993 broadcast of the Motorcraft 500 when ABC (which originally had the broadcast) could not find time to air the race, postponed six days by a snowstorm in the Atlanta Motor Speedway. (by wikipedia)
By the time Bad Company released Desolation Angels, it was evident that even Rodgers and Ralphs were getting tired of their ’70s-styled, conveyor-belt brand of rock & roll, so they decided to add keyboards and some minor string work to the bulk of the tracks. Although this change of musical scenery was a slight breath of fresh air, it wasn’t enough to give Desolation Angels the much added depth or distinction that was intended, and only the vocal passion of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” really comes out on top, eventually becoming a gold single. The good news is that Desolation Angels is a noticeable improvement from 1977’s Burnin’ Sky, with Bad Company’s sound taking on a smoother, more polished feel than its predecessor.
“Gone, Gone, Gone,” “Lonely for Your Love,” and “She Brings Me Love” work best in Rodgers’ favor, and fans did prove their loyalty, pushing the album to the number ten mark in the U.K. and to number three in the U.S. The campaign toward a new sound does cause a few of the cuts (“Crazy Circles,” “Evil Wind”) to appear a bit forced and overly glitzy (especially the use of electronic drums), and the album spawns a smattering of a few attractive moments rather than evolving as a complete, constructive listen. Things didn’t get much better for Bad Company, and it was after the release of 1982’s Rough Diamonds, a much weaker and unattached effort, that Rodgers decided to call it quits. (by Mike DeGagne)
Boz Burrell (bass)
Simon Kirke (drums)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, keyboards)
Paul Rodgers (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer)
01. Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy (Rodgers) 3.19
02. Crazy Circles (Rodgers) 3.32
03. Gone, Gone, Gone (Burrell) 3.50
04. Evil Wind (Rodgers) 4.22
05. Early In The Morning (Rodgers) 5.45
06. Lonely For Your Love (Ralphs) 3.26
07. Oh, Atlanta (Ralphs) 4.08
08. Take The Time (Ralphs) 4.14
09. Rhythm Machine (Kirke/Burrell) 3.44
10. She Brings Me Love (Rodgers) 4.42