Andy Fraser dies at 62; bassist for Free co-wrote hit ‘All Right Now’
Andy Fraser, the bassist for British blues-rock band Free who co-wrote its mammoth 1970 anthem “All Right Now,” died Monday in Temecula, where he lived. He was 62.
The Riverside County coroner’s office announced his death on its website, saying the cause has not been determined. In recent years, after coming out as gay, Fraser talked freely about having AIDS and the HIV-related cancer Kaposi’s sarcoma.
Fraser was a teenager playing bass in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers when he helped form Free in 1968 with vocalist Paul Rodgers, guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke. Fraser and Rodgers collaborated on writing songs for the band.
“All Right Now,” released on the band’s third album, featured Rodgers’ rough vocals on suggestive lyrics, a distinctive bass solo by Fraser and driving power chords. The song streaked to No. 4 on the U.S. charts in 1970 and turned into a classic rock staple. It has since been adopted by the Stanford University and USC marching bands and is played during sporting events.
Free toured with such rock heavyweights as Blind Faith, the Who and the Small Faces and also performed at England’s Isle of Wight festival. But friction between Fraser and Rodgers led to the band’s breakup in 1971. The group briefly reunited before disbanding for good in 1973.
Fraser was born in London in 1952. According to a biographical sketch in Contemporary Musicians, his father, the son of a black slave and a white plantation owner in British Guiana, left the family when Fraser was a child. Andy Fraser learned to play piano and guitar and by age 13 was playing in London music clubs.
After Free dissolved, Fraser continued to play music and released a solo CD, “Naked and Finally Free,” in 2005.
In 2013, during a musical tour of the United Kingdom, Fraser talked openly about his sexuality and his health issues.
“I’ve been one T-cell away from being gone,” he told the Western Morning News. “I am very fortunate. I feel like I have been given a second chance.”
Fraser had two daughters, Hannah and Jasmine.
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