The music world was shaken today with the reports that former Bad Company singer Brian Howe has died at the age of 66. According to a report from TMZ, Howe's cause of death was cardiac arrest. While Howe was not an original member of the classic rock band, he did spend many years as its inimitable voice.
Bad Company first formed in 1973 by singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs, drummer Simon Kirke and bassist Boz Burrell. Over the next 10 years, the band would climb to the top of rock 'n' roll stardom, writing and recording iconic songs such as "Feel Like Makin' Love" and the self-titled "Bad Company." Rodgers left the band in 1982, which led the group going on a hiatus for a few years. In 1986, Ralphs and Kirke reunited and brought Howe in as their new vocalist, since Rodgers was busy with his new band, The Firm. Prior to this, Howe had gotten his start by doing vocals for Ted Nugent. The new Bad Company line-up was rounded out by Steve Price on bass and ex-Uriah Heep member Greg Dechert on keyboards.
With Howe on vocals, Bad Company released four studio albums, and one greatest hits collection. In 1994, Howe decided to leave Bad Company after tensions between him and Ralphs and Kirke grew beyond repairable. He later spoke about his time in the band, during a MelodicRock.com interview, and he did not have many fond memories to share. When asked if he had a favorite Bad Company album, Howe replied, "I loved recording all of the Bad Co. studio albums during which time I never saw the other band members!"
He eventually confessed that he did have a favorite Bad Company song from his time in the band, sharing, "I think my favourite song from those days would have to be 'If You Needed Somebody.' It still sounds current." Finally, Howe shared his perspective on his exit from the band. "It had got to the point where nobody was contributing anything to songwriting and quite frankly, the band was getting very very sloppy live."
He went on to say, "I quite simply, along with Terry Thomas, got tired of doing all the work and then getting nothing but resentment for it from Mick and Simon." Howe added, "The highlight for me in Bad Co. was turning the group around from being almost a bar band (that's how far they had fallen) to selling millions of records again and playing to sold out shows 15,000 / 25,000 people every night." At this time, the band does not appear to have issued a statement on Howe's death.