The Official Companion Website
Notable additions since publication
ALL RIGHT NOW
‘All Right Now’, released in May 1970, hit No 2 in the UK Singles Chart and No 4 in the US Billboard Hot 100, and was a No 1 hit in over 20 ‘territories’ (Wikipedia 2014). Exceeding a massive two million radio plays in the UK in 2000 (Planet Rock 2010) and receiving a BMI London award for three million airplays in the United States in 2006 (Wikipedia 2014), it is thought that ‘All Right Now’ is being played on radio somewhere in the world every 45 seconds on average, and that it has sold well in excess of five million copies (Hughes 2012). “‘All Right Now’ is reputed to be played somewhere in the world on radio every minute of the day and has been entered into ASCAP’s ‘One Million’ airplay singles club (Product Description 2016).”
‘All Right Now’ has been recorded or covered live by numerous bands and artists, including: Wilson Pickett, The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, The Runaways, The Sweet with Ritchie Blackmore, Mike Oldfield, Witch Queen, The Who, Rick Santers, Rod Stewart, Pepsi & Shirlie, Tone-Loc, Bon Jovi, [Paul Rodgers,] Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band with Simon Kirke, [Freeway,] Christina Aguilera, Bad Company, Lemonescent, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Sawyer Brown, David Cook, Paige Miles, Ali Campbell, Chad Brownlee, Garth Brooks [and Andy Fraser with Tobi, Manfred Mann, Spike’s Free House with Simon Kirke, and Kossoff… The Band Plays On] (Wikipedia 2014). The song is also said to be a staple of US sports stadiums: The Stanford University and University of Southern California marching bands each play it at virtually every game (Associated Press 2015).
In film and on television, Free’s ‘All Right Now’ has been used in a UK advertisement for Wrigley’s chewing gum in the late 1980s and early 1990s; as a live performance in the film Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival;on the film soundtracks of American Beauty [and Now And Then]; [as a character’s headphones music in the TVcrime dramaCSIepisode ‘Chasing The Bus’;]during the final scene and closing credits of the TV comedy drama Entourageepisode ‘My Maserati Does 185’;in the TV series Supernaturalas the closing music for the episode ‘Skin’; in the TV drama The Sopranosepisode ‘The Ride’ as bikers rob a liquor store; in the TV superhero saga Heroesepisode ‘Landslide’[; during the Paris car chase in the comedy film The Love Punch];in a 2016 TV advertisementfor Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants(Wikipedia 2014 & 2017); and the song featured at the Live Knockouts for ‘The Voice in Ireland’ on RTÉ in 2016, and in blind auditions for ‘The Voice UK’ on ITV in 2018.
‘All Right Now’ features too in Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades (November 2008), the music video game for the Nintendo DS portable game console, based on the multi-track master recording of the song.
‘All Right Now’ was voted No 1 in UK radio station Planet Rock’s online poll ‘The Greatest Rock Singles Top 40’ in 2010 (Planet Rock 2010); No 54 in Ultimate Classic Rock’s ‘Top 100 Classic Rock Songs’ in 2012 (Wardlaw 2012); and No 21 in BBC Radio 2’s ‘Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs’ in 2014 (BBC Radio 2 2014).
The Guitars: Just For The Box
SELMER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Paul Kossoff began working at the go-to shop for guitarists of the day, Selmer Musical Instruments Ltd in Charing Cross Road, London, as a shop boy just before his 16th birthday, in September 1966, having already been a customer there, according to his father, the actor and author David Kossoff (Kossoff 1992a).
It is widely recorded that Paul took classical guitar lessons as a child. “I had seven years of training from a professor of classical guitar music [Blanche Monroe] from the age of nine,” he told Melody Makeryears later (Kossoff 1973a). Less well known, however, is that working at Selmer’s Musical Instrumentsgave Paul opportunity to widen his musical development with further guitar instruction.
Colin Falconer was one of several guitarists who during the 1960s successfully combined working by day at Selmer’s with gigs and sessions by night. Falconer recalls the shop being “a great hang-out for all the session musicians … John McLaughlin, Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan, Albert Lee, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Steve Howe. You name them, they were there. It really was the ‘in’ shop for guitarists (Falconer undated).”
As for the young Paul Kossoff: “When he first came to Selmer’she hardly played guitar. Only that classical piece that you basically play on the first string of the guitar [the opening melody to Romanza, the well-known Spanish folksong made famous by Segovia]. His dad, David Kossoff, paid me to give him guitar lessons for nearly a year; but, I must admit, his style is purely his own – he could finger tremelo just about any guitar in the shop, even if it was a dud (Falconer undated).”
Falconer describes day-to-day work at Selmer’s for Paul: “Paul’s job was ‘The Lad’. In other words, he cleaned the instruments, helped out with moving gear about, went on some deliveries and generally helped about the place. He later started serving customers as well … I believe he was still working at Selmer’s late in 1968 … most of the London musos held down daytime jobs.[Free formed in April 1968.]
“[Paul] already played a couple of beginner’s classical guitar pieces taught to him before he came to Selmer’s … He simply wanted to learn to play more commercial music, nothing in particular, just pop music as it was then. He asked me if I could give him lessons and I taught him chord patterns and lead guitar lines. Tried, though I don’t know if I succeeded, in getting him to use his lazy little finger more! (He was basically a three-finger guitarist at the time.)
“He wasn’t interested in learning to read music and would just copy whatever I showed him. Later, Paul bought a B.B. King record [Live At The Regal] and taught himself to do B.B. King-style finger bends/vibratos from the record. At that time, only a few blues guitarists were doing this. I recall him forever picking up guitars in the shop and bending strings (Falconer 2015).”
* Thanks for this guitar chapter update to Colin Falconer, guitarist, tutor, and former employee of Selmer Musical Instruments, London; to Robin Daley, fan of Paul Kossoff’s style of playing who diligently researched and presented this material; and to David Clayton, Free historian, author and founder of the Free Appreciation Society. Robin Daley’s article ‘Mystery Guitar Teacher to Paul Kossoff’ appears in FAS, April 2018 Issue 142: 30–35.
Daley R. (2018): Mystery Guitar Teacher to Paul Kossoff, FAS, April 2018 Issue 142: 30–35
Falconer C. (2015): Letter to Robin Daley inDaley R. (2018): Mystery Guitar Teacher to Paul Kossoff, FAS, April 2018 Issue 142: 32, 33
Falconer C. (undated): Memories Of The Lew Davies Shop, Vintage Hofner (undated): http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/hofnerfs/stories/falk.html
Falconer C. (undated): Colin Falconer(undated): http://colinfalconer.com/
Kossoff D. (1992a): Late Great Paul,CTVC Video, 1992. As cited in Hudson J. (1996b): Life And Death Of A Hero, Guitarist, March 1996: 30–36. Reproduced in FAS, September 2003 Issue 102: 32–36; Paul Kossoff, The Guitarist Book Of Blues, Future Publishing, 2003, pp. 144–146; Paul Kossoff, Guitarist Presents Rock Guitar Heroes, Future Publishing, 2011, pp. 120–122;Guitarist Presents 100 Guitar Heroes, Future Publishing, 2013, pp. 116–118
Kossoff P. (1973a): Cited inAny Questions,Melody Maker, November 10 1973. Reproduced in FAS,April 1993 Issue 56: 45
5. Gibson Les Paul Custom (1955), black, two pickups, s/n 5 6323
In December 2018, Matthieu Lucas, proprietor of Matt’s Guitar Shop, Paris, acquired the 1955 two-pickup black Gibson Les Paul Custom. “I’m a huge Paul Kossoff fan,” he says. “I am very happy to own it (Lucas 2019).”
A photograph of the guitar in Guitar Magazine, February 2019, shows the bridge has been rotated 180 degrees.
And on YouTube, Southern-Carolina-born Marcus King plays the 1955 Gibson Les Paul Custom at Matt’s Guitar Shop, Paris, in 2019, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgAM6L6EkKM. While Facebook offers further shop promos of the guitar, from July and August 2020, at https://www.facebook.com/Matts-Guitar-Shop-864787173871238/videos/paul-kossoffs-original-1955-gibson-les-paul-custom-black-beauty/1382653571933474/ and https://www.facebook.com/Matts-Guitar-Shop-864787173871238/videos/1955-gibson-les-paul-custom-black-beauty-ex-paul-kossoff/284367369493219/?__so__=permalink&__rv__=related_videos.
6. Gibson Les Paul Custom (1957–61), black, three pickups, no pickguard
Paul must have upgraded to this three-pickup black Gibson Les Paul Custom sometime in 1966, most probably through connections with Selmer Musical Instruments Ltd, for reasons given earlier (see previous guitar no 5). A former employee of Selmer’s, guitarist and tutor Colin Falconer remembers “a three-pickup Les Paul he got from one of the Nordic countries, as I recall (Falconer 2015).”
Falconer C. (2015): Letter to Robin Daley inDaley R. (2018): Mystery Guitar Teacher to Paul Kossoff, FAS, April 2018 Issue 142: 34
10. Gibson Les Paul Standard (1959–60), natural wood finish, no s/n
Guitarist magazine issued an excellent and most worthy double commemorative edition in tribute to Paul, September 2020 Issue 463, marking 50 years since the release of Free’s historic third album Fire And Water(June 1970), alongside a tribute to the great Peter Green, who, sadly, died in July of that year.
Inside the magazine: a well-written account of Paul’s time with Free; spectacular, rarely-seen photographs from the second Isle of Wight Festival on August 30 1970; and a forensic examination of Paul’s 1959–60 Gibson Les Paul Standard with natural wood finish (guitar no 10), supported by beautiful detailed new photos of the guitar. And to close, a tutorial on key elements of Paul’s distinctive playing style.
All thoroughly excellent, but for curious claims that all the ‘hardware’ on the natural fronted Les Paul (the pickup covers, bridge and tailpiece, the top strap button and the tuners) was removed after Paul sold it, the original nickel-plated replaced with the current gold-plated, for Mike Gooch, who bought the guitar from Orange Music, Central London, in September 1974.
These claims are entirely mistaken. From its first appearance in Paul’s hands, with Free at Le Golf Drouot, Paris, in April 1969, to the present day, the natural Les Paul has carried gold-plated hardware, the metal Grover Rotomatic tuners likely fitted sometime after Paulwas photographed with the guitar at Free’s Royal Albert Hall concert in February 1972, when it still bore Kluson Deluxe ‘tulips’.
This is all accounted for in this guitar chapter of the book.
Irrefutable evidence for this is provided by a colour photograph of the natural Gibson Les Paul Standard, taken in 1973 and seen by this writer, showing clearly gold-plated pickup covers, bridge and tailpiece, warmly glowing golden in the natural sunlight.
As it happens, Guitarist’s September 2020 photos of the guitar show Paul’s replacement chrome bridge now refitted, the original taking well-earned retirement.
It is hoped this entry dispels potentialconfusion on this matter seeded in Guitarist, September 2020 Issue 463.
And online, a recently discovered outtake for German TV’s Beat Club, recorded August 24 1970 (‘Be My Friend’), at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOr1stg9lds;
Footage for German TV’s Hits A-Go-Go, December 1970 (‘The Stealer’), at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5luq-7PTKAU.
Both performances at http://freeappreciationsociety.blogspot.co.uk/.
12. Gibson Les Paul Standard (1958), three-tone dark sunburst, s/n 8 2453
On YouTube, a recently discovered outtake for German TV’s Beat Club, recorded in October 1969 (‘Free Me’), at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q5ea_ggGtc; less than 20 seconds from Essen Pop & Blues Festival, Germany, October 14 1969 (‘The Hunter’), at: https://www1.wdr.de/fernsehen/rockpalast/sendung/from-the-archives-essener-pop-and-blues-festival-100.html (second of three RockPalast videos, from 00.00.47–00.01.06. Andy Fraser battling on with a broken A-string!); and a snippet of silent footage of Free in full flow at the first Isle of Wight Festival, August 30 1969, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGGj3c1bqUI.
All three songs also at http://freeappreciationsociety.blogspot.co.uk/.
15. Gibson Les Paul Standard (1958–60), cherry sunburst, ‘speed’ knobs, no s/n
The guitar finally sold in spring 2017 to an appreciative American collector, who subsequently, as ‘Fried okra’, posted an account of the sale with photos on the Les Paul Forum website, at: https://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?206347-My-New-New-Burst-Day-Story and additional photos at: https://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?206514-Kossoff-Up-Close.
16. Fender Stratocaster (1957/62/63–65), white, maple neck, tremolo unit, s/n 72102
After years in retirement, Dave Murray’s black Fender Stratocaster resurfaces online in May 2017 in the hands of respected roadie and guitar tech Colin Price, who traces a long association with Iron Maiden. Posting a photograph on his Twitter feed, Ship In A Bottle guitar wiz Price says proudly: “At last – waited nine years for this”.
Price is obviously pleased at the opportunity to connect with this historic instrument. Whether or not he was due to work on the guitar, perhaps getting it back into playing order, at the time of his Tweet is unclear.
The present specification and appearance of the white-now-black maple-necked Fender Stratocaster is given in guitar chapter 16.
Photo of Colin Price with Dave Murray’s ex-Paul Kossoff now black Fender Stratocaster, at: https://twitter.com/BMEBRoadie/status/868492815482925056.
17. Gibson Les Paul Standard (1968), Goldtop conversion, honeyburst, s/n 516079
KOSSOFF… THE BAND PLAYS ON
Band website: https://www.kossoffthebandplayson.com
20. Gibson L-5S (1974), cherry sunburst
WHERE IS IT NOW?
After Paul died, the 1974 cherry sunburst Gibson L-5S was purchased by legendary Finnish guitarist Pekka ‘Albert’ Järvinen of Kalevala, Hurriganes, Royals and others, according to Antti Koponen of the Free Appreciation Society. Järvinen bought the instrument in London and used it extensively between 1976 and 1979.
Järvinen died, sadly, in 1991, and the guitar now belongs to a Finnish collector.
* Thanks to FAS member Antti Koponen, originally from Finland, for his assistance with this guitar chapter update.
Photos of the cherry sunburst Gibson L-5S in the hands of Pekka Järvinen can be found online.
25. Guild F-48, natural wood finish, s/n 91652
‘It’s really beautiful. It’s the best acoustic I’ve had’ (Kossoff 1976)
* Thanks to Simon Kossoff for his assistance with this guitar chapter update.
31. Unidentified acoustic, sunburst
Mystery solved! After almost 50 years, the huge acoustic guitar Paul is seen wielding in photographs taken on the occasion of Free’s arrival at Tokyo Haneda airport on April 26 1971, prior to their Japanese/Australian tour, is identified categorically as a B&M Mammoth super jumbo (model 2198), made by Hoshino Gakki, Japan, between 1970 and 1971.
An Ebay listing from August 2020, for a similar example of this guitar, said to be a more affordable alternative to a Gibson Hummingbird, includes a new shot of Paul with acoustic, on April 26 1971, at https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/143678676023.
33.Gibson Les Paul TV (1957), beige/limed/yellow (Hard Rock Cafe)
John 5 of David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie demonstrates the guitar for Hard Rock Cafe, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EedGF36YcGI.
34. Fender Stratocaster (1963), Sonic Blue, rosewood neck, s/n L13263 (Michael Casswell)
* Remember Michael Casswell (18 June 1963 - 30 September 2016).
38. Gibson Les Paul Standard (1959), cherry sunburst (Danny Kustow)
Danny Kustow of The Tom Robinson Band made contact soon after publication of the book in October 2017: “I just bought and am reading your amazing book. Koss was my main inspiration along with Hendrix, but Koss’s vibrato was so primeval and erotic – so throbbingly erotic and sexy. He was and still is with me.”
Asked whether he had owned one of Paul’s guitars back in the day, Kustow replied: “I had a beautiful Les Paul Standard 1959 faded cherry sunburst. I had to get that guitar because Koss had one!”
Kustow’s statement lays to rest any rumour that his guitar had belonged to Paul.
To set the record straight then, Danny Kustow’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard was not one of Paul’s. So either the recollections of ‘danura’, the TRB fan posting online on that subject and given in guitar chapter 38, are mistaken, or the magazine article of the period he/she claims to have seen was plain wrong.
Kustow went on to recall meeting and jamming with Koss a few times in 1974/75, adding warmly: “He was so nice to me!”
It is to be hoped Danny Kustow’s recollections of the times he spent with Paul grace a future edition of the FAS.
* Thanks to Danny Kustow for his assistance with this guitar chapter update.
2. Effects and accessories
Recently, one of Paul’s plectrums, given to rock journalist and author Steven Rosen following what proved to be his final interview in January/February 1976 and prized by Rosen ever since, sold at auction for $363.44 in November 2017.
Full details and a photo of the white Fender heavy-gauge plectrum can be seen on the Backstage Auctions website, at: https://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1920-free-paul-kossoff-1975-owned-used-vintage-guitar-pick/ai/0/27687/.
The Fender plectrum featured in Rosen’s article ‘The Picks Of Rock And Roll’ in Guitar Player, July 1975, which was itself referenced in Brian Bouchard’s book Guitar Picks of Rock & Roll and Will Hoover’s Picks! The Colorful Sage of Vintage Celluloid Guitar Plectrums (dates unknown).
In 2019, Paul’s striking beaded leather and suede guitar strap with a long suede fringe, seen at the Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle, March 19 1970, was offered for saleby a UK seller asking £6,654.42 + shipping, at https://reverb.com/item/19973214-paul-kossoff-of-free-owned-and-stage-used-original-guitar-strap-used-on-his-59-gibson-les-paul-burst.
PAUL KOSSOFF SIGNATURE EFFECTS PEDAL
Another specialist guitar effects pedal that endeavours to capture Paul’s signature sound in a box is the Kossoff Drive, created in 2018.
Built to order in the UK by Hello Sailor Effects, boutique pedal builder Joseph Halliday explains in 2019: “The Kossoff Drive was designed to get … as close to Paul’s tone [in Free’s performance for Granada TV’sDoing Their Thing, recorded in June 1970] as possible. This, in my opinion, is the greatest recorded guitar of all time (Halliday 2019).”
Halliday J. (2019): Hello Sailor Effects Kossoff Drive, EffectsDatabase, March 6 2019: http://www.effectsdatabase.com/model/hellosailor/kossoffdrive#pictures
PAUL KOSSOFF SIGNATURE PICKUPS
In 2019, precision electronics company Wizz Pickups in Southern Europe stepped up and developed a pair of pickups emulating those on Paul’s favourite cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard (guitar no 15).
Wizz’s Premium Clone PAF Signature Series offered the All Right Now (Paul Kossoff) set, proclaiming: “If you are a Kossoff fan (and few blues rock guitarists are not), and have already mastered his amazing vibrato technique, and gotten yourself a Marshall Super PA, then you are ready for the next piece of the puzzle. ‘All Right Now’ tone is now within reach: grab a set while our Signature Sets are available (Wizz Pickups 2019)”.
Then in 2020, Throbak Electronics, USA, created Koss-301 MXV PAFs, replicas of the pickups on Paul’s cherry sunburst Standard (guitar no 15). Again engineered and marketed as a pair, these were created in conjunction with the current owner of the guitar, with reference to repair work carried out for Paul by top-class luthier Sam Li, then of Gerrard Street, London W1, sometime between late1972 and early 1973.
(Further details at https://www.throbak.com/throbak-paul-kossoff-paf-pickups.html.)
Wizz Pickups (2019): https://www.wizz-pickups.net/product-page/all-right-now-paul-kossoff-set