Bad Company singer Brian Howe has died aged 66

Best known as the singer who replaced Paul Rodgers in the British rock supergroup, Howe died of a cardiac arrest on Wednesday May 6.

Bad Company founders Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke recruited Howe, who'd worked for years alongside Ted Nugent, to be their lead vocalist. Ralphs was a guitarist from Mott the Hoople and Kirke the drummer from Free, their pedigree as musicians from successful bands earning Bad Company the unofficial title of "supergroup."

Singing with the band for a decade, Howe appeard on albums including, ‘Fame And Fortune’, ‘Holy Water’, ‘Dangerous Age’, and ‘Here Comes Trouble’, his final album with Bad Company.

Howe was born in Portsmouth, England in 1953. He sang with a local band called Shy who had one minor hit single in the UK but he quickly quit, seeking a harder rock band.

Howe's first gig in the USA was with Ted Nugent in 1984. He had been sending songs to Atlantic Records in London to try to get a deal. Atlantic said that they did not hear a single but they liked his voice. One day, Ashley Howe (not related but producer of Ted Nugent's upcoming album) was walking down the corridor of Atlantic’s offices and heard his voice.

Ashley Howe had been looking for a singer for the next Ted Nugent album and thought that Howe would be a good fit. Howe was soon in New York City and signed a contract to become the lead singer for Ted Nugent and sang on the Penetrator album.

In 1986, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke decided to regroup for a new project. Their label, Atlantic Records, however, insisted they resume the Bad Company name, but Paul Rodgers was already engaged with a new supergroup called The Firm. With Rodgers gone, the remaining two members partnered with ex-Ted Nugent vocalist Brian Howe as the new lead singer. In addition, they hired Steve Price as the new bass player and Greg Dechert (ex-Uriah Heep) on keyboards.

Howe's vocal style brought more of a pop-rock sound to the band, which Atlantic Records, looking to bring the band back up to arena status, was looking for after declining turnouts to previous live performances and the dismal sales of Rough Diamonds. The band hired Foreigner producer Keith Olsen to produce the new line-up's initial album, 1986's Fame and Fortune.

"I feel we are all put in this world for a reason" Howe's son Michael said in a statement. "The passion for music was my father's, and I am so happy that his legacy will live on."

Howe is also survived by his daughters Victoria and Ella.

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