Paul Kossoff

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Kossoff was one of Britain’s best ever Blues Rock guitarists. My guess is that many in the GMC community won’t recognise the name depite Kossof being named as the 51st best guitarist in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time! Clearly Kossoff was and is without doubt one of the greats. Everyone will have heard the song All Right Now by Free and thus have heard him play without knowing who it is playing.

He was born in London in September 1950. He was a founding member of Free and his blues based guitar played on his trademark Les Paul defined their sound, at times mellow but at others pure blues riff based heavy but melodic rock.


Paul Kossoff.
Paul Kossoff.

Born in 1950 the son of David Kossoff a famous British actor he began on classical guitar. He never really took to classical guitar and soon gave up playing. However in the 60's he saw a gig featuring John Mayhalls Bluesbreakers featuring a certain Eric Clapton on guitar. This led to Kossoff buying an electric guitar (a vintage Gibson Les Paul) and joining local bands. Most notably he played in a band called Black Cat Bones. At This time Kossoff was heavily influenced by guitarist Peter Green later of Fleetwood Mac.

Kossoff became good friends with drummer,Simon Kirke with whom in 1968 he formed Free. Kossoff and Kirke were joined by vocalist Paul Rodgers (later to form Bad Company and more recently Queen.) and bassist Andy Fraser.

Free were quickly signed by Island Records and released two albums in the late 60s that were not commercially successful. They toured constantly and were becoming increasingly disillusioned with their lack of record sales. However big time success came in 1970 with the release of their third album Fire and Water containing the massive hit All Right Now.

This success led to them being invided to play at the Isle Of WightFestival in 1970 alongside other acts such as Jimi Hendrix and The Who.

Their third album was a live recording and in my opinion one of the best live albums ever. Anyone wanting to learn classic blues rock should give it close scrutiny.

The band toured extensively but their next album was not so successful and the band split up in 1971. They reformed in 1973 and released two further albums but the split again, this time finally. Part of the reason for the split was tensions within the band caused by Kossoffs increasing drug problem.

In 1973 Kossoff released a solo album Back Street Crawler which led to the formation of band of the same name.

Kossoffs drugs problem had an increasingly detrimental effect on his health, and he narrowly escaped death on a number of occaisions. Sadly the drugs got the better of him and whilst travelling on a plane in America on March 19, 1976, he died from a drug-induced heart attack.


Back street crawler.
Back street crawler.


• Tons Of Sobs (1968)
• Free (1969)
Fire And Water (1970)
• Highway (1970)
• Free Live!(1971)
• Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit (1971)
• Free At Last (1972)
• Heartbreaker (1973)

The following albums were issued after the band ceased recording:
• The Free Story (1974)
• The Best of Free (1975)

The following albums were issued after Kossoffs early death:
• Free and Easy, Rough and Ready (1976)
• Completely Free (1982)
• All Right Now: The Best of Free (1991)
• Molten Gold: The Anthology (1994)
• Free: All Right Now (1999)
• Songs of Yesterday (2000)
• Chronicles (2005)

=== Solo ===

• Back Street Crawler (1973)
• Koss (1977)

=== Back Street Crawler ===

• The Band Plays On (1975)
• Second Street (1976)

Classic Tracks

Related GMC Lessons.

Rock Blues Lesson by Pablo Vazquez

Rock Blues Licks Lesson by Gabriel Leopardi