Paul Rodgers recalled the night Free played signature track “All Right Now” for the first time, and it went down so well they had to play it again.

The song was co-written in 1970 with bassist Andy Fraser and went on to reach No. 4 in the U.S. and No. 2 in the U.K. and it’s been played more than three million times on American radio stations.

“‘All Right Now’ was a product, really, of the kind of audiences we were playing to at that time,” frontman Rodgers told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show. “We were playing in blues clubs but we were moving out into different areas, getting bigger. We had a song called ‘The Hunter,’ which is an Albert King blues song; and really we couldn’t get off stage without playing that song. It was very difficult to follow it, you know? It went down so well.

“I was looking for a song; I said, ‘We need something that the audience can actually sing. Something real simple, I don’t know, like, “All right now, baby…” We worked the chorus out, and then Andy took that home and he came back the following day with some chords. I remember thinking, ‘Hmm, that’s gonna need quite a few lyrics to fill that, because it stays on the same thing. I’m gonna need a story here… and I need to get it to “All right now.” So what’s the story about?’”

Rodgers came up with the notion of a woman who he thought might want to be kissed. “It just flowed from there,” he recalled. “I wrote out the whole thing and I took it along to the next show and we sound-checked it. We thought, ‘Hey, this is pretty good – we’ll play it tonight.’” Free started the show with their new composition, but “towards the end of the evening I said to the crowd, ‘Anybody wanna hear anything? Any requests?’ And all of them started saying, ‘Play that first song you played!’ I thought, ‘Wow, that’s like an hour and a half later they’ve remembered this song. That’s pretty good.’”

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Free – ‘All Right Now’