Paul Rodgers will be saluting his early days fronting Free with the new CD/DVD and LP, Free Spirit, which drops digitally today (June 22nd), on disc on June 29th, and on vinyl on July 6th. The set features Rodgers' Royal Albert Hall gig from May 28th, 2017 and includes 16 timeless Free classics including such staples as “Fire & Water,” “The Stealer,” “Wishing Well,” and the band's signature song, “All Right Now.” Formed in 1968, Free featured guitarist Paul Kossoff, bassist Andy Fraser, drummer Simon Kirke, and Paul Rodgers on lead vocals. Upon their split in 1973, Rodgers and Kirke went on to form Bad Company.

Although Rodgers later went on to front Queen following the death of Freddie Mercury — he revealed to Billboard, that he found out after the fact that yet another major rock band was seeking him out back in the day to fill in for its own fallen singer: “I didn’t know it at the time, but I did a show with a reformed version of the Doors. They came up to me, and said ‘You might not know this, but when Jim Morrison died, we flew over to England, and were looking for you to join us. But, we couldn’t find you.’ I was gobsmacked. I told them that I was in the country hiding away writing with Mick Ralphs writing songs for Bad Company. That was really amazing. What a compliment.”

Rodgers, who'll will be on tour this summer with Jeff Beck and Heart's Ann Wilson on the “Stars Align Tour,” spoke about some of his career highlights, recalling, “When I played with Jimmy Page (in the Firm), he would take a solo, and lift the roof off of the building. You would just pinch yourself that you were witnessing it. There were moments with Queen where I would be surrounded by 60,000 people, and people would be singing along, and you’d think ‘Wow. Am I really here?’ Then, doing the (new, Free Spirit) album at Albert Hall, I stood about 10 feet back from the mic because the dynamics of the band were so focused. They could play — and you could hear a pin drop. They had the attention of the audience. I was standing back, and singing 'Be My Friend,' and it was also a pinch me moment. You would wonder 'Am I in the past or in the future?’ At the same time, it doesn’t matter. You’re here now. There are those moments all the time.”

Paul Rodgers says that during his tenure fronting Queen, he felt a similar kinship with Brian May's guitar playing that in some ways reminded him of Free's late guitarist Paul Kossoff: “Brian has said to me that he was, they were big fans of Free in their very early days, and they even wrote some songs that were based upon our style. And he plays kind of the backward-high chord things, just like Koss. And I mentioned that to him, and he said, 'Yeah, it was, it was very much like Koss.'”