Boz Burrell R.I.P.

  • A very sad thing to hear.
    My wishes to family and friends...Boz will be missed.

    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

  • Most people remember Boz from his tenure in the Original Bad Company but he had a long history going back to the mid 60's with The Boz People where he was a stand up singer; the bass was a few years up the road. He cut a cover of Bob Dylan's I Shall Be Released that featured a young guitarist named Ritchie Blackmore and he was tipped to be the new singer for The Who in late 1965 after Roger Daltrey was sacked briefly for enforcing his will with his fists. Boz allegedly remarked in the NME that; "The Who are children playing with electronic toys.." We all know how that story turned out; Roger resolved to be Peaceful Perce from then on, they cut a record called My Generation and the rest was history.

    Early 1971 found our singer in a new lineup of King Crimson along with drummer Ian Wallace and sax/flautist Mel Collins . Robert Fripp found great difficulty in filling the bassist's chair and after future Steeleye Span bassist Rick Kemp quit after a week of grueling rehearsals, Boz picked up the bass and "had a thrash". He had an affinity for the instrument from the start and Fripp coached him through the material. Fripp had wanted John Wetton to play bass and Boz would sing but Wetton passed on the wasn't quite the right time...yet! ;)

    This lineup that would record the Islands LP toured constantly and Boz learned his trade under fire. Recent issues of live tapes through Digital Global Mobile and the KC Collectors Club clearly show the power of this combo despite the fact that Wallace, Collins and Burrell could be first class looners quite unlike their guitartist leader. And Boz shines as a singer on the classic Crimso tune Ladies Of The Road, he is John Lennon in the verses and Paul McCartney in the choruses. Although overshadowed by the Fripp/Bruford/Wetton/Cross/Muir lineup that followed in mid 1972, this hard touring group certainly made their mark.

    Boz Burrell walked into the audition with what would become Bad Company the last man on the list and two strikes against him; he hadn't been playing very long and was an alumni of a band that was detested by Messrs. Rogers, Ralphs and Kirke. A gaggle of bassists had failed to make the cut already, among them John Weider and Alan Spenner and the three musicians probably expected little from from the erstwhile Crimson bassist. But Boz looked the part and won the others over with his attitude; he didn't ask for charts but said "Just play the songs and I'll find my way.." He did just that, his keen intuition key to landing the job.

    Boz was also an early fan of the fretless bass; he had picked it up in an attempt to emulate the style of session bassist Gordon Edwards. He played an Ampeg fretless bass made famous by Rick Danko of The Band along with a Fender Precison fretless . A good ten years before Tony Franklin and Pino Palladino showed that a fretless bass could drive a rock band, Boz was playing fretless on a Number One record....Can't Get Enough. Years later, Boz would admit that he was somewhat out of tune on that song and would learn that his mentor wasn't playing a fretless after all! Simon Kirke tells a story about Paul Rodgers, whose first instrument was the bass, picking up the Ampeg and getting nowhere fast, finally setting the bass down in total frustration. Always a jazzer at heart, he came in for some ribbing from his bandmates. He would talk about practicing and working on his chops and Mick Ralphs would joke; "Chops?? You mean pork chops??" He came up with the odd rhythm on Burning Sky which initally drove Simon Kirke mad until he nailed it!

    Boz would rejoin the MarkII version of Bad Company in 1986 but the radio ready commercial sound wasn't to his liking and he left to pursue his true love; jazz. He played with Tam White for many years and it is a great loss that he has left us....

    Thanks for all the great music Boz.....RIP

    Yours In The Funk
    Bill "Capt. Midnite" Redford


    "Cause if you fake the FUNK..your nose got to grow!" Bootsy Collins

  • I have to get this off to the LA Times as they have not printed it yet. (and they will, if you baked a pie in Wigan and got a prize theyll put you in the main obits) Thanks for the info Chutsler, once again this site (for me) has breaking news that scoops anywhere else although it's sad.


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