According to just about every bio on the band, this song, and the band name, came from Bad Company
, a critically acclaimed Western starring Jeff Bridges that was released in 1972. Lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke
, both formerly of Free, formed the band with Mick Ralphs of Mott The Hoople. Ralphs brought in three songs from his days with Mott: "Ready For Love," "Movin' On" and "Can't Get Enough." Rodgers and Kirke wrote the song "Bad Company," and decided to use it as the band name. How did it happen?
According to Kirke, Rodgers saw a poster advertising the movie and suggested it as the band name. Rodgers told a different story in a 2010 interview with Spinner
. "It came from my childhood days," he said. "I saw a book on Victorian morals. They showed this picture of this Victorian punk. He was dressed like a tough, with a top hat and the spats and vests and the watch in the pocket and the tails and all of that. But everything was raggy. The shoes were popped out of the soles, and the top of the hat was popped out. And the guy is leaning on the lamppost with a bottle in his hand and a pipe in his mouth, obviously a dodgy person. And you've got this little choirboy kind of guy - a little kid, actually - looking up to him. And underneath it said, 'Beware of bad company.'"
The singer added that he decided to go with a song with same name as the band as, "I think because it had never really been done, as far as I knew. I thought it was interesting to come out as a brand-new band with its own theme song."