free

Free drummer Simon Kirke (left) drinks a Coke backstage with Free guitarist Paul Kossoff (right) in 1970.
Photo by Lucy Piller

The life and techniques of Free’s legendary lead guitarist told through anecdotes from friends and fans, including Paul Rodgers and Joe Bonamassa.

In the 1960s, England was up to its eyeballs in white-boy blues bands. This was the golden age of the guitar player, when people like Clapton, Beck, and Page became recognized names the world over. But for every Cream, Yardbirds, or Led Zeppelin, there were scores of other groups working the same circuit, trying their damndest to break through. Free was such a band.

Between Paul Rodgers’ wailing, Simon Kirke’s tremendous backbeat, and the steady bass lines of Andy Fraser, Free had more than enough talent. And they had another weapon: Paul Kossoff, a player who brought it all together and elevated their music into the stratosphere.

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