40 years ago I was in bed listening to John Peel’s show on Radio 1 when news came in that Paul Kossoff had passed away at just 25. I was stunned and wanted to sleep so I could wake up and find I’d only dreamed it. I was 17, he was my music hero, and I had seen him play a few months before, but I simply couldn’t contemplate that it would be the only time; 40 years on I still can’t. His playing on this song, Dying Fire, has at certain moments in my life left me stunned, bereft, in silence at the end, and no matter how many times I’ve heard it, it always makes the hairs on my neck stand up. It’s true of so much of his playing with Free, Back Street Crawler, solo, or on various collaborations, an incredible legacy for one who died so young, a unique gift of expressing emotion through the electric guitar which has informed my listening ever since and provided a benchmark no other has been able to live up to, no matter how hard they try. It’s like any form of art though, not everyone will agree, not everyone will be receptive to it, I am forever grateful that I am with every fibre of my being.
Paul Kossoff (KKTR) plays Dying Fire