Before forming Bad Company, Rodgers and Kirke were in Free, Burrell was in King Crimson, and Ralphs was in Mott The Hoople. It was a few months before Burrell came on board, during which time they wrote most of the songs for their first album.
They were the first band to record for Led Zeppelin's record label, Swan Song. They recorded their first album at Headley Grange, the mansion where Zeppelin recorded many of their tracks. They also shared a manager with Led Zeppelin: Peter Grant.
According to Kirke
and most sources, they got their name from a 1972 Western called Bad Company
starring Jeff Bridges. Rodgers later refuted this, saying it came from a book he read when he was young.
The group temporarily disbanded in 1982 when Rodgers left to form The Firm with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. The group reformed in 1986 without Rodgers, who later rejoined them in 1999.
While Rodgers was gone, former Ted Nugent vocalist Brian Howe filled in. He was introduced to Bad Company by Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones.
Their first two albums contained just eight songs each and ran about 35 minutes long. This was done, in part, for fidelity: on vinyl albums shorter run times allowed for larger grooves, which improved sound quality.
Kirke suggested to Don Henley and Glenn Frey that they bring Joe Walsh into the Eagles. They did.
While the band was disbanded in the 1980s, Ralphs toured with Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.
Ex-King Crimson saxophonist Mel Collins played on their first album.
Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zant had a boat named after the band. He was a huge Bad Company fan.
After a grueling 1977 tour, they took the next year off, which served two purposes:
1) To get the "thrill" back.
2) To flee England so they could avoid paying the very high taxes charged to high earners.
Kirke was the last guest musician to join Led Zeppelin on stage. He joined them for an extended rendition of "Whole Lotta Love
" at their concert in Munich on July 5, 1980. This turned out to be Zeppelin's penultimate show, as drummer John Bonham died two months later.