Paul Kossoff

Paul Kossoff

Infobox musical artist
Name = Paul Kossoff

Img_capt =
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Born = birth date|1950|9|14|df=y
Hampstead London, England
Died = Death date and age|1976|3|19|1950|9|14|df=yes
United States
Alias =
Genre = Hard rock, Blues-rock, Rock
Occupation = Musician, Songwriter
Instrument = Guitar
Associated_acts = Free
Black Cat Bones
Back Street Crawler
Label =
Years_active = 1968 - 1976
Notable_instruments = Gibson Les Paul

Paul Francis Kossoff (14 September 1950, in Hampstead, North West London, England–19 March 1976) was a rock guitarist best known as a member of the band Free.

Early days

Kossoff—son of the noted British actor David Kossoff—started playing in the mid 1960s and his first professional gig was with Black Cat Bones alongside drummer Simon Kirke. The band did many supporting shows for Fleetwood Mac and both Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac's guitarist) and Kossoff would jam and spend hours discussing blues playing and players. Black Cat Bones also played with touring blues piano player Champion Jack Dupree. Both Kossoff and Kirke would go on to play on the Dupree album "When You Feel the Feeling...".


In April 1968 the pair teamed up with Paul Rodgers (vocals) and Andy Fraser (bass) to form Free. They did the "Transit" circuit for two years and recorded two albums: "Tons Of Sobs"(1968) and "Free"(1969). Both albums showcased the band's blues and soul influenced sound, a style which was in contrast to some of their progressive and heavier counterparts at the time.

Success came in 1970 when their third album, "Fire and Water"(1970), spawned the massive hit "All Right Now". The band played the Isle of Wight festival to both audience and critical acclaim. Sellout tours in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Japan followed, but after the release of the next album, "Highway"(1970), band pressures led to a split.The live album 'Free Live", recorded in 1970, was released in 1971 as a farewell record.While Rodgers and Fraser pursued unsuccessful solo projects, Kossoff and Kirke teamed up with Texan keyboard player John "Rabbit" Bundrick and Japanese bass player Tetsu Yamauchi to release the 1971 album "Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit".

Free reformed and released the album "Free At Last"(1972). Following its release Fraser decided he had had enough and quit to form Sharks. Free drafted Tetsu and Rabbit for Free's 1973 album "Heartbreaker"(1973) after which the group disbanded.

Rodgers and Kirke went on to form the successful Bad Company while Kossoff released a solo album, Back Street Crawler (1973). He then accompanied John Martyn on a 1975 tour before assembling a group called Back Street Crawler.

Back Street Crawler released two albums: The Band Plays On in 1975 and "Second Street" in 1976. Recordings from one of their UK concerts in 1975 were also released under the title "Live at Croydon Fairfield Halls 15/6/75". When Free supported Blind Faith in the United States(1969), Eric Clapton was impressed enough to ask Kossoff to demonstrate his vibrato technique to him.Fact|date=February 2007

Kossoff's guitar playing was also much in demand for session work and he contributed solos on several albums including: Jim Capaldi's "Oh How We Danced" (1972), Martha Veléz's "Fiends and Angels" (1969); Blondel's "Mulgrave Street" (1974); Uncle Dog's "Old Hat" (1972), Michael Gately's "Gately's Cafe" (1971) and Mike Vernon's 1971 album "Bring It Back Home".

He also played on four demos by Ken Hensley (eventually released on the 1994 album entitled "From Time To Time") and three tracks which appear on the CD-only issue of John Martyn's "Live At Leeds" album from 1975.

An unreleased guitar solo also surfaced in 2006 on the title track to the album "All One" by David Elliot who recorded with Paul Kossoff in the 70s.

On Jim Capaldi's 1975 solo album "Short Cut Draw Blood", two songs were reputedly written about Kossoff; "Seagull" and "Boy With A Problem". Kossoff played lead guitar on the latter.

Kossoff's unhappiness with the end of Free and his drug addictions contributed to a drastic decline in the guitarist's health. On a flight from Los Angeles to New York on 19 March 1976, Paul Kossoff died from drug-related heart problems. He was 25. He was cremated and interred at the Golders Green Crematorium.

A 16-track career retrospective, "Koss", was issued in 1977. The late 1990s saw a renewed interest in Kossoff, and another career retrospective was released, 1997's 14-track "Blue Soul"(actually a reissue of a double vinyl release from the mid 1980s of the same name), as well as the five-disc Free box set "Songs of Yesterday", and a Free biography entitled "Heavy Load: The Story of Free".

elective discography


* "Tons Of Sobs" (1968)
* "Free" (1969)
* "Fire And Water" (1970)
* "Highway" (1970)
* "Free Live!"(1971) (live)
* "Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit" (1971)
* "Free At Last" (1972)
* "Heartbreaker" (1973)

The following albums were issued after the band ceased recording:
* "The Free Story" (1974)
* "The Best of Free" (1975)
* "Free and Easy, Rough and Ready" (1976)
* "Completely Free" (1982)
* "All Right Now: The Best of Free" (1991)
* "Molten Gold: The Anthology" (1994) (2 disc set)
* "Free: All Right Now" (1999)
* "Songs of Yesterday" (2000) (5 disc box set)
* "Chronicles" (2005) (2 disc set)


*"Back Street Crawler" (1973)
*"Koss" (1977)

Back Street Crawler

*"The Band Plays On" (1975)
*"Second Street (album)" (1976)
*"Live at Croydon Fairfield Halls 15/6/75":(After Kossoff's death the band made further albums)


* Clayton, David, and Todd K. Smith. "Heavy Load: The Story of Free". London: Moonshine Publishing, 2002. ISBN 978-0954216900.

External links

* [ Paul Kossoff Website]

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