Early Free and late Free – a span of only four years.
Of all the hard rock or blues rock bands that emerged in the 1960s – and there were a lot – Free are my favorite in terms of sound and feel. They broke up in 1973 thanks to the usual drug and personality issues, but in a way that saved them from becoming stale. A fate that most definitely befell the son-of-Free successor, Bad Company, that sold a lot more records, but recorded much of little merit.
Free never became a Led Zeppelin. They could have done with better management, luck and maturity. Zeppelin played it right and reaped the reward. The arena hard rock style that Free helped create dominated the 1970s, but, again, most of it left me cold. Free were left behind, well-known through the massive hit "All Right Now", but not for much else. Most of their music is only available on import in the U.S. these days. Such is the way of things.