thefirmThe Firm – Radioactive (Rodgers) b/w Together (Page/Rodgers) 1985

One of the true supergroups of the 1980s this Paul Rodgers/Jimmy Page collaboration looked great on paper and sounded even better on stage. But for all the hype, all the quality and all the original songs with soaring vocals and striking riffs, The Firm proved to be a bit of a commercial dead duck.

This was the band’s highest charting single – reaching 28 in the US – and it’s a fantastic slice of 80s pop rock with a pounding rhythm section and some typically punchy Page fret work. But maybe it’s rock-lite sound (think Roachford on a good day) just didn’t work for died in the wool fans of Free, Bad Company or Led Zep. Rodgers sounds as smooth as ever but there’s no doubt Page’s talents are too¬†often hidden in an overly-produced mix of¬†layered guitars and technical wizardry. Far removed from the rootsy feel of the aformentioned Free or Led Zep this was a record made for a specific era at a time when experimentation ruled.

Lifted from the album The Firm, there’s much to commend this brave attempt at a modern sound but history will probably decree that the band of the same name didn’t do either Rodgers or Page any favours with their most loyal fans.