Andy Fraser

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Andy Fraser
Steve Winwood and the members of Free in Amsterdam, 1970. From left to right: Winwood, Fraser, Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke & Paul Kossoff
Background information
Birth nameAndrew McLan Fraser
Born(1952-07-03)3 July 1952
Paddington, London, England
Died16 March 2015(2015-03-16) (aged 62)
Temecula, California, United States
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock, funk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
  • Bass guitar
Years active1968–2015
Associated acts Free, Alexis Korner, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Toby, Sharks
External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Oral History, Andy Fraser reflects on his greatest musical influences. Interview date 3 November 2014, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library

Andrew McLan Fraser (3 July 1952 – 16 March 2015) was an English songwriter and bass guitarist whose career lasted over forty years, and includes two spells as a member of the rock band Free, which he helped found in 1968, aged 15.

Free (band) English rock band formed in London in 1968

Free were an English rock band formed in London in 1968, best known for their 1970 signature song "All Right Now". They disbanded in 1973 and lead singer Paul Rodgers went on to become a frontman of the band Bad Company along with Simon Kirke on drums. Lead guitarist Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler in 1975, but died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 25 in 1976. Bassist Andy Fraser formed Sharks.


Peak years (1960s and 1970s)

Fraser was born in the Paddington area of Central London and started playing the piano at the age of five. He was trained classically until twelve, when he switched to guitar. By thirteen he was playing in East End, West Indian clubs and after being expelled from school in 1968 at the age of 15, enrolled at Hammersmith College of Further Education. There, another student, Sappho Korner, introduced him to her father, pioneering blues musician and radio broadcaster Alexis Korner, [1] who became a father figure to him. Shortly thereafter, upon receiving a telephone call from John Mayall who was looking for a bass player, Korner suggested Fraser; still only 15, he was now in a professional band and earning £50 a week, although it ultimately turned out to be a brief tenure.

Paddington area within the City of Westminster, in central London

Paddington is an area within the City of Westminster, in central London, located in the West End of London. First a medieval parish then a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965. Three important landmarks of the district are Paddington station, designed by the celebrated engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1847; St Mary's Hospital; and Paddington Green Police Station.

Central London Innermost part of London, England

Central London is the innermost part of London, in the United Kingdom, spanning several boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. Its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally, nationally and internationally significant organisations and facilities.

Hammersmith district in west London, England

Hammersmith is a district of west London, England, located 4.3 miles (6.9 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross. It is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, and identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

Korner was also instrumental in Fraser's next move, to the influential band Free, which consisted of Paul Rodgers (vocals), Paul Kossoff (guitar) and Simon Kirke (drums). Fraser produced and co-wrote the song "All Right Now" with Rodgers, a No. 1 hit in over 20 territories and recognised by ASCAP in 1990 for garnering over 1,000,000 radio plays in the United States by late 1989. In October 2006, a BMI London Million-Air Award was given to Rodgers and Fraser to mark over 3 million radio and television plays of "All Right Now". [2] Simon Kirke later recalled: "'All Right Now' was created after a bad gig in Durham. We finished our show and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. It was obvious that we needed a rocker to close our shows. All of a sudden the inspiration struck Fraser and he started bopping around singing 'All Right Now'. He sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn’t have taken more than ten minutes." [3]

Paul Rodgers English-Canadian singer-songwriter

Paul Rodgers is an English singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was vocalist of Free and Bad Company. After stints in two lesser-known bands in the 1980s and early 1990s, The Firm and The Law, he became a solo artist. He has more recently toured and recorded with Queen. A poll in Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 55 on its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". In 2011 Rodgers received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

Paul Kossoff English musician

Paul Francis Kossoff was an English blues rock guitarist. He was most notably a member of the band Free.

Simon Kirke British musician

Simon Frederick St George Kirke is an English rock drummer best known as a member of Free and Bad Company, the latter of which he has been the only continuous member since their inception.

Fraser also co-wrote two other hit singles for Free, "My Brother Jake" and "The Stealer". [4] Free initially split in 1971, and Fraser formed a trio, Toby, with guitarist Adrian Fisher (later with Sparks), and drummer Stan Speake. [5] Material was recorded but not released, and Fraser re-joined Free in December 1971. He left for the second time in June 1972.

My Brother Jake 1971 song performed by Free

"My Brother Jake" is a song and single by British band, Free. Written by lead singer Paul Rodgers and bass guitarist Andy Fraser, it was first released in the UK in 1971.

Adrian Fisher was a British guitarist and member of the band Toby, Sparks and Boxer. Fisher played on Sparks' first two Island albums Kimono My House and Propaganda.

Sparks (band) American rock and pop band

Sparks is an American pop and rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1972 by brothers Ron (keyboards) and Russell Mael (vocals). The duo formed in 1968 under the name Halfnelson. Known for their quirky approach to songwriting, Sparks' music is often accompanied by intelligent, sophisticated, and acerbic lyrics, and an idiosyncratic, theatrical stage presence, typified in the contrast between Russell's animated, hyperactive frontman antics and Ron's deadpan scowling. They are also noted for Russell Mael's distinctive wide-ranging voice and Ron Mael's intricate and rhythmic keyboard playing style.

After leaving Free, Fraser formed Sharks with vocalist Snips (later Baker Gurvitz Army), guitarist Chris Spedding and drummer Marty Simon. Despite being well received by the critics, especially for Spedding's tasteful guitar work (Crawdaddy Lead Review, Bruce Malamut Vol. 27, 1973), Fraser left after their debut album, First Water (1973).

Sharks (band formed 1972) British rock band, formed in September 1972

Sharks are a British rock band, formed in September 1972, by the ex-Free bass player, Andy Fraser, upon his departure from Free. They were signed to Island Records and were rated by critics, especially for Chris Spedding's tasteful guitar work. The initial line-up consisted of Fraser, Snips (vocals), Spedding (guitar) and an American, Marty Simon (drums).

Baker Gurvitz Army were an English rock group. Their self-titled debut album featured a blend of hard rock laced with Ginger Baker's jazz- and Afrobeat-influenced drumming. The lengthy "Mad Jack" was that album's outstanding track, and the album hit the US Billboard 200 chart, and peaked at number 22 in the UK Albums Chart. The two following albums contained similar material, although neither charted in the UK nor the US.

Chris Spedding English rock and roll and jazz guitarist

Christopher John Spedding is an English musician, singer, guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and record producer. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Spedding is best known for his studio session work. By the early 1970s, he had become one of the most sought-after session guitarists in England. Spedding has played on and produced many albums and singles. He has also been a member of eleven rock bands: the Battered Ornaments, Frank Ricotti Quartet, King Mob, Mike Batt and Friends, Necessaries, Nucleus, Ricky Norton, Sharks, Trigger, and The Wombles.

He then formed the Andy Fraser Band, a trio with Kim Turner on drums and Nick Judd on keyboards. They released two albums, Andy Fraser Band and In Your Eyes, both in 1975, before that also folded. Attempts to form a band with Frankie Miller came to nothing, and Fraser relocated to California to concentrate on songwriting. He crafted hits for Robert Palmer, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart and Paul Young.

Francis John Miller is a Scottish rock singer-songwriter.

Robert Palmer (singer) English singer-songwriter and musician

Robert Allen Palmer was an English singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. He was known for combining soul, jazz, rock, pop, reggae, and blues.

Joe Cocker English rock and blues singer

John Robert Cocker, better known as Joe Cocker, was an English singer. He was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and distinctive versions of popular songs of varying genres.

Fraser's most famous compositions remain "All Right Now" and "Every Kinda People", which Robert Palmer recorded in 1978 for his Double Fun album.

Later period (1980s-)

In 1984, Fraser released another album of his own. Fine, Fine Line featured ex-Back Street Crawler drummer Tony Braunagel, Bob Marlette (keyboards), Michael Thompson (guitar) and David Faragher (bass), with Fraser contributing vocals. One of the songs on the album, "Do You Love Me" — a cover of the Berry Gordy Jr.-penned song — spent five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 82 in March 1984. [6]

Having been diagnosed with HIV, he was later diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma, a form of cancer that had been very rare until the onset of the AIDS epidemic. This time-line was called into question by Fraser's subsequent revelation that he was homosexual. [7] He played bass with former Free colleague Paul Rodgers at Woodstock '94, but otherwise kept a low profile until 2005, when a new release, Naked and Finally Free, appeared. At the time of the new album's release, Fraser was interviewed by Dmitry M. Epstein for the DME website and revealed: "To be quite honest, I never thought of myself as a bass-player. I actually only used the bass-guitar because the other kids in our school-band wanted to be the singer, or drummer, or guitarist. I have always thought of myself as doing whatever was necessary to make the whole thing work. I’m happy adding piano, or tambourine, or anything that helped". [7]

In early 2006, writing for Vintage Guitar magazine, Tom Guerra conducted a comprehensive interview with Fraser, covering his career, influences and instruments and, in April, Fraser responded to the revival of interest in his music by announcing two rare live shows at Southern California's Temecula Community Arts Theatre on 4 May. The shows, accompanied by an eight-piece band, were his first live performances since the 1994 Woodstock reunion.

In 2008, he wrote and sang the song "Obama (Yes We Can)", to support the campaign to elect Barack Obama as president of the United States. [8]

Founded by Fraser, Mctrax International was incorporated as Mctrax International Corporation in California in 2005. Headquartered in southern California, Mctrax International and its subsidiaries MctraxMedia, MctraxMotion and MctraxStudios were originally created as an outlet for his prolific songwriting.

In May 2010, Fraser was interviewed for BBC Two's documentary series titled Rock 'n' Roll. The project includes a five-part documentary, narrated by British music show anchor-man Mark Radcliffe plus online and radio content. "The documentary aims to explain the success of some of the greatest bands of the past 50 years, including the Who, the Police, the Doors, Bon Jovi and the Foo Fighters".

In mid-2013, Fraser played a supporting role as bassist in the band of protege Tobi Earnshaw for a short series of UK dates. Accompanying Tobi Earnshaw and Fraser was a veteran ally, guitarist Chris Spedding. Fraser produced and mentored Earnshaw on a number of album releases.


Fraser died on 16 March 2015 at his home in California of a heart attack caused by Atherosclerosis. [9] Fraser is survived by his daughters Hannah and Jasmine Fraser. [10]


1969 Free Tons of Sobs Studio
1969Free Free Studio
1970Free Fire and Water Studio
1970Free Highway Studio
1971Free Free Live! Live
1972Free Free at Last Studio
1973 Sharks First WaterStudio
1973SharksBroke A FeelingSingle
1973SharksOl' Jelly RollSingle
1975Andy Fraser BandAndy Fraser BandStudio
1975Andy Fraser...In Your EyesStudio
1984Andy FraserFine Fine LineStudio
2000FreeSongs of YesterdayBox-set
2005Andy FraserNaked... And Finally FreeStudio
2006Free Live at the BBC Live
2015Andy FraserOn AssignmentStudio

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  2. "2006 BMI London Awards | News". 3 October 2006. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  3. Allsworth, Steve (June 2011), "Free: All Right Now", Guitar Techniques, p. 14
  4. "Andy Fraser – Writing credits". Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  5. "Andy Fraser Forms New Band". Sounds . Spotlight Publications. 28 August 1971. p. 2.
  6. "Andy Fraser - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  7. 1 2 Epstein, Dmitry M. (May 2005). "Interview with Andy Fraser". DME. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  8. "Obama 08". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  9. "Cause of Death Determined for "All Right Now" Songwriter Andy Fraser". Jammerzine. 1 June 2015.
  10. "Free bassist Andy Fraser dies at 62". BBC News. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.