Drum heroes week: Simon Kirke on Free's Wishing Well

The secrets behind the hit

Free s Wishing Well
(Image: © Sayre Berman/Corbis)

Simon Kirke tasted rock stardom when he was only just out of his teens. With Free he found a worldwide audience thanks to mega smash single All Right Now as the band burned brightly across six albums in just four years. Today Kirke talks to us about an absolute cracker from the last of those six records, as he talks us through the writing and recording of Wishing Well.

Where was the track recorded?

"That was recorded at Island Records in Basing Street, W11."

What were your impressions on hearing the track for the first time?

"It was wonderful, it really was. Paul (Rodgers) played it on his guitar, because he mainly wrote all of it, although we all got a credit because we'd done such a great job. When I heard it for the first time, the first playback in the recording studio, I thought, 'Wow, that's incredible!' So we went out and took it again with that in mind. We didn't chop and change in those days, we didn't take a verse from one bit and a chorus from another, we took the whole take, and if I remember it was the second take of the four that we did."

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLSAGnHNqGc&feature=kp

What made you play the part you did?

"It's in two parts really. It's a four to the bar, quarter note on the hi-hat sort of thing, a little bit like 'All Right Now' really in terms of drumming style, but it was more intense than 'All Right Now', more driven. I never really set out to do anything. I just played the song and we ran it a few times and then we took it. There's a quiet harmonic piece towards the end, 'I know what you're looking for, love in a peaceful world...' that prepares you for the onslaught of the final third of the song."

What set-up were you using?

"I had a Ludwig kit in those days, a Ludwig Super Classic, the Beatles kit. Always a four-piece. In Bad Company I used a second floor tom, but really it was just to keep my cigarettes and towel on. I flirted with a double rack tom in Free on the Hayman kit, but I never really used it. Nine times out of 10 I used a four-peice. Paul's got the original Free kit, a Hayman kit with the bass drum with Free on the front. He keeps promising to give it back to me but he still hasn't, the bugger!"