Andy Fraser, bassist and founding member of the ’60s rock band Free, has passed away at 62. Although a cause of death has not been released, Fraser had recently been battling AIDS and cancer.
Fraser was born in London in 1952 and began music studies on piano at the tender age of five. He switched to guitar when he was twelve and was taken under the wing of blues guitarist Alexis Korner, who landed Fraser his first big gig with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers when he was just fifteen.
His time with Mayall was brief, but Korner encouraged the fledgling bassist to form Free with vocalist Paul Rodgers, guitarist Paul Kossoff, and drummer Simon Kirke in 1968. The band landed a huge hit with “All Right Now,” which Fraser co-wrote. The song became a number one hit and solidified the band’s place in rock history.
Free split in 1971 only to reform and split again by 1973. After Free, Fraser helped co-write Robert Palmer’s hit “Every Kind of People” and continued to write music for artists including Rod Stewart, Chaka Khan, Paul Young, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrack, Wilson Pickett, Three Dog Night, and many more. He also continued to perform with several projects such as the Andy Fraser Band, which released two albums in 1975.
Fraser was also an outspoken human rights activist. “His endless passion for music has been an inspiration to the world for over half a decade,” Fraser’s daughter Hannah wrote in a press release. “Using his creative talents to bring positive change to the world with a fearless commitment to honesty and justice has been a pivotal example for my life. He worked tirelessly on humanitarian projects such as Rock Against Trafficking, Gay Rights Issues, The Occupy Movement, Eco-activism, and he was producing a documentary on Ocean Conservation with me. Andy was a survivor who overcame some of the most challenging health issues in his life, and yet he left this earth healthy, happy and full of plans to make this world a better place for us all.”
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Andy Fraser.