Friday, August 8, 2014

Bad Company 7: 10 From 6

Classic Rock radio became an actual format in 1985, right around the time when the compact disc became more of a mainstream consumer commodity. Helped along by the mild success of The Firm’s first album, Atlantic put a minimum of marketing expertise behind the first ever Bad Company best-of. With a genius title derived from the simple fact that its ten songs were culled from their six-album catalog, and artwork that redefined spare, it’s likely that most people of a certain generation were exposed to Badco thanks to 10 From 6 blasting from somebody’s car radio.
A more accurate title for the album would be 10 From 5, since Burnin’ Sky went unrepresented, not even by the title track, which is the only good song on that album. In fact, considering the weight of songs from the debut and Straight Shooter, it could even be called 6 From 2, as 4 From 1 is really nit-picking, even for us.
No matter what advertising wizard put it together, it’s still a solid set of tunes. Where else could they start but with “Can’t Get Enough”, and getting the overplayed “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Shooting Star” out of the way on the first side, split by “Run With The Pack” and capping it with the potboiler of “Movin’ On”? Side two begins with “Bad Company”, jumping ahead to “Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy” and the criminally underappreciated “Electric Land”. “Ready For Love” brings it down, just as “Live For The Music” provides a strange choice for a curtain call.
According to the RIAA, 10 From 6 hasn’t been as successful as the albums it samples, but it’s still preferable to anything released by the band’s late-‘80s hair-metal incarnation, which didn’t include Paul Rodgers, and sometimes boasted only two original members. (This bastard stepchild of the band’s first album featured artwork that looked a little like 10 From 6 but mostly resembled the then-popular-but-waning Swatch wristwatches. There’s no smoke without a fire, indeed.) Finally, to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary, a two-CD set appeared featuring most of the hits, album cuts and rarities, a couple of new recordings, and thankfully, not a single song from the non-Rodgers years. It got points for including “Burnin’ Sky”, but left off a few key tracks, like “Electric Land”. (Customers of the Best Buy chain may have noticed a CD called The Hits, which does include both “Burnin’ Sky” and “Electric Land”, but only six other tracks.)
Some time ago we proposed an update of the original 10 From 6 album by adding six songs—“Good Lovin’ Gone Bad”, “Deal With The Preacher”, “Silver, Blue & Gold”, “Young Blood”, “Burnin’ Sky” and “Oh, Atlanta”—to the original sequence and calling it 16 From 6. Simple, right? We merely hoped to be thanked in the liner notes. However, just in time for its 30th anniversary, a completely different sequence was chosen for Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy, 19 tracks that purported to be the “very best” of Bad Company. The original ten songs were presented chronologically, deferring to “single edits” in some cases, alongside seven further album tracks and previously unreleased versions of two rare tracks, both good, but among the very best? In complete defiance of this blog, only “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” and “Burnin’ Sky” were selected from our additions. We weren’t thanked, either.

Bad Company 10 From 6 (1985)—4
Bad Company The ‘Original’ Bad Co. Anthology (1999)—
Bad Company Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy: The Very Best Of Bad Company (2015)—4

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