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The Firm-Radioactive

The Firm were a British rock supergroup formed in 1984, featuring singer Paul Rodgers (Free and Bad Company), guitarist Jimmy Page (The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin), drummer Chris Slade (Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Uriah Heep and later AC/DC) and bass player Tony Franklin.

In the early 1980s, Page and Rodgers were both dealing with the demise of their respective bands, Led Zeppelin and Bad Company. "Jimmy was at a bit of a loose end," recalled Rodgers of the band's formation. "He'd come round and check out my home studio and we ended up writing songs, but without any definite plans. Jimmy was very keen to get on the road, so we put a band together… The first thing I knew was that he had to be writing songs again. I'd already seen one of my friends going down that road in Koss, and it wasn't going to happen again." They initially wanted to form a band with Yes drummer Bill Bruford and bass player Pino Palladino but both were under contract with other acts.

Page and Rodgers refused to play material by their former bands and instead opted for a selection of Firm songs plus tracks from their solo albums; however, at least one performance of "Midnight Moonlight" featured sections of "White Summer" and "Kashmir", originally recorded by Page's former bands The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, respectively. The new songs were heavily infused with a soulful and commercially accessible sound, courtesy of Franklin's fretless bass guitar underpinning an understated song structure. Despite refusing to play old material, the last track from The Firm, "Midnight Moonlight", was originally an unreleased Led Zeppelin song entitled "Swan Song". This caused some critics to claim that Page had begun to run out of ideas. On the other hand, both albums and especially tours were met with largely positive and enthusiastic responses by fans of both lead members' previous bands.

In subsequent interviews, Page and Rodgers both indicated that the band was never meant to last more than two albums. After the band split, Page and Rodgers returned to solo work while Chris Slade joined AC/DC in 1989 and Franklin teamed up with guitarist John Sykes and drummer Carmine Appice in Blue Murder.


The Firm-Radioactive

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