Mick Ralphs was the lead guitarist for not one, but two of album rock's most storied bands: underappreciated glam rock legends Mott the Hoople, and the far more commercially successful Bad Company. Born in Hereford, England (near Wales), Ralphs played with a blues-rock group called the Buddies (who released a single in 1964) in his teens, and then moved on to the mod-styled Doc Thomas Group, whose self-titled 1967 debut album was issued only in Italy. A name change to Silence followed in 1968, and the group evolved into Mott the Hoople by the following year. Several years of struggle followed before the group hit it big with David Bowie's "All the Young Dudes" in 1972. The more popular Mott became, the more they emphasized Ian Hunter's songwriting over the other members'; Hunter's increasing ambition was more and more at odds with Ralphs' taste for simple, riff-driven hard rock. In 1973, after the release of Mott, Ralphs left the band to form Bad Company with two ex-members of Free. His composition "Can't Get Enough," which Mott was unable to record because of the vocal register in which it was written, became an immediate hit and pushed the group's 1974 debut album to number one in the U.S. A string of hugely successful albums followed up to 1982, making Bad Company one of the top arena rock acts in the world. After the initial lineup disbanded, Ralphs recorded a solo album, Take This!, which was released on the small, poorly distributed Rock Machine label in 1984 (it was later reissued on CD). In 1986, the first of several Bad Company reunions took place, which have continued to the present day (Ralphs was present for all of them, and plays guitar on every one of the group's albums and singles). In 2001, Ralphs released his second solo album, the all-instrumental effort It's All Good, on the Angel Air label. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
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