Free  were an English rock band formed in London in 1968.  The band was famed for its sensational live shows and nonstop touring.  However, early studio albums did not sell very well – until the release of Fire and Water which featured the massive hit “All Right Now”.  The song helped secure them a place at the huge Isle of Wight Festival 1970 where they played to 600,000 people.  By the time the band dissolved in 1973, they had sold more than 20 million albums around the world and had played more than 700 arena and festival concerts.  (More from Wikipedia)
Chris Spedding went on to play with Cream bassist Jack Bruce (including his first solo album in 1969Songs for a Tailor) and former Manfred Mann singer Mike D’Abo, plus a host of others, from Elton John to John Cale to Brian Eno to Harry Nilsson (including one of his best known albums, Nilsson Schmilsson).  In 1973Andy Fraser, the former bass player for Free (“All Right Now”) brought Spedding in as the lead guitarist for his short-lived band Sharks
(November 2011)
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In 1969Mick Farren “liberated” the earliest large-scale rock concert in the U.K., the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival by encouraging the fences to be torn down.  This concert – which took place the month after Woodstock (and with many of the same acts) – featured the Whothe BandFreeJoe Cocker, and the Moody Blues.  But the real excitement was caused by the inclusion on the bill of Bob Dylan, who had been little seen since his near-fatal motorcycle accident in July 1966.  When Dylan took the stage, audience members included three of the Beatles, three of the Beatle wives, three of the Rolling StonesEric Clapton, Liz TaylorRichard BurtonJane FondaRoger VadimSyd Barrett, and Elton John  


One of the main reasons for the location of the original Woodstock was to lure Bob Dylan out of hiding – the idea was to throw a huge party practically on his doorstep that surely he couldn’t resist attending.  Woodstock is the name of the town where Dylan lived (and also members of the Band); the festival itself was in Bethel.  But resist he did; Bob Dylan instead signed up to appear at the Isle of Wight Festival and set sail for England on August 15, 1969, the day that Woodstock opened.


The following year, Mick Farren organized his idea of what a rock festival should be.  Called Phun City, it took place from July 24 to July 26, 1970.  Unlike Woodstock and most other similar festivals, there were no admission fees and no fences.  After the funding for the concert was withdrawn, the organizers had to notify the bands scheduled to appear that they would have to perform for free.  Most of the bands agreed to go on anyway; ironically, one of the few bands that didn’t play was Free, best known for their 1970 hit All Right Now.  Rock musicians who did perform included MC5, the Pretty ThingsKevin AyersShagratthe Edgar Broughton BandMungo JerryMighty Baby, and the Pink Fairies; the Beat poet William Burroughs was also there. 

(March 2014/1)
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John Mayall’s band was a revolving door of famous British musicians; but even more remarkably, bandmembers who left John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers often helped form other rock bands.  Examples include Mick Taylor, the first new musician to join the Rolling Stones since their classic line-up was formed; Jon Mark and Johnny Almond, who later formed Mark-Almond, among other musical accomplishments (not to be confused with Marc Almond of Soft Cell); top English drummer Aynsley Dunbar; and Andy Fraser, a founding member of Free


(May 2014)

Last edited: March 22, 2021