Ralphs in 1976
|Birth name||Michael Geoffrey Ralphs|
31 March 1944 |
Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire, England
|Genres||Hard rock, blues-rock, glam rock|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, keyboards|
|Labels||Angel Air, Griffin|
|Associated acts||Mott the Hoople, Bad Company, David Gilmour|
|Les Paul Junior|
Ralphs began his career as a teenager, playing with blues-rock band the Buddies. He released a single with that group in 1964 before joining the Mod Doc Thomas Group in 1966. After an eponymous Italian album debut, the band changed its name twice, first to Silence in 1968 and then, in 1969, to Mott the Hoople. Ralphs remained with Mott the Hoople until 1973.
In 1974, he founded Bad Company along with vocalist Paul Rodgers from Free. The band's debut album that year included the Ralphs'-penned hit "Can't Get Enough", for which Ralphs tuned his guitar in the open-C tuning C-C-G-C-E-C, stating, "It never really sounds right in standard tuning. It needs the open C to have that ring." The debut album reached number one in the United States. Ralphs continued to record and tour with Bad Company until the original band folded in 1982.
In 1984 he toured with Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour on Gilmour's About Face tour. In 1985, he released a solo album, Take This, which included Bad Company's drummer Simon Kirke. He teamed up with future Bad Company guitarist Dave Colwell for a limited four-run live support of the album, which also featured drummer Chris Slade of Uriah Heep and keyboard player Lindsay Bridgewater, who performed with Ozzy Osbourne. He did one performance with a band called Cold Turkey.
Bad Company reformed with different line-ups between 1986 and 1998. But after a reunion tour with the original foursome in 1999, Ralphs announced that he was giving up touring, something he was never comfortable with in either band, since he has a morbid fear of flying.
In 2004, he once again teamed up with former Mott colleague Ian Hunter, playing second lead guitar (along with Andy York) on Hunter's UK tour. Ralphs performed at Hunter's 2005 concert at the London Astoria, with Ralphs performing a guitar solo to "All the Way from Memphis".
On 2 July 2008, it was announced that the original line-up of Bad Company (minus Boz Burrell who died in September 2006) would do a one-off gig at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on 8 August 2008. According to Paul Rodgers, they did this gig to 'protect the legacy they have built and cement the rights to the trademark Bad Company for touring'. The now regular line-up of Bad Company includes Ralphs, along with Rodgers and Kirke.
Mott the Hoople, including Ralphs, reunited for two shows at the Blake Theatre in Monmouth close to Rockfield Studios where they rehearsed before playing five concerts at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, during September and October 2009. All five of the original members participated in the reunion with Martin Chambers assisting on drums.
In 2011, Ralphs formed The Mick Ralphs Blues Band with musicians he met while guesting at a jam session at the Nag's Head pub in High Wycombe: Stuart Son Maxwell, harmonica/vocals; Jim Maving, guitar; Sam Kelly, drums; Dickey Baldwin, bass. The band's website states that Ralphs is seeking to explore his blues and soul roots, playing covers of classic blues and R&B songs. The band made its debut as Mick Ralphs and Co at Jagz Club in Ascot, Berkshire in June 2011, changing the name to the Mick Ralphs Blues Band soon afterwards. More dates were announced for late 2011 and early 2012.
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- Mott the Hoople – Gibson Les Paul Junior, Gibson Firebird (Single Pick-Up), Gibson SG, Fender Telecaster
- Bad Company – Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul Standard, Fender Esquire, Gibson Flying V – "Feel Like Making Love" video
- Recently – Gibson 1957/1959 Custom Shop re-issue Gibson Les Paul Standard.
- Mick Ralphs also has a Fender Stratocaster fitted with a 2TEK bridge
Notable songwriting credits
- "Rock and Roll Queen"
- "Ready For Love"
- "Can't Get Enough"
- "Good Lovin' Gone Bad"
- "Movin' On"
- "One of the Boys" with Ian Hunter
- "Feel Like Makin' Love" with Paul Rodgers
- "Flying Hour" with George Harrison
- "Oh, Atlanta" (recorded originally by Bad Company on the album Desolation Angels; but covered more recently by Alison Krauss)
- "Biography by Steve Huey". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
- Sharken, Lisa (15 May 2001). "Mick Ralphs: The rock 'N' roll fantasy continues". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Allmusic.com – album overview
- Bad Company News
- Queen News
- "Alison Krauss Cover Songs". The Covers Project. 9 March 2005. Retrieved 18 June 2013.