"ALL RIGHT NOW": BONHAMS OFFER GUITAR OF LEGENDARY FREE ROCKER, PAUL KOSSOFF

"There she stood in the street, smilin' from her head to her feet," the famous opening lyrics to one of the most well-known tracks of the 1970s, 'All Right Now'. Penned by Free, the song launched the band straight into the rock and roll legend hall of fame.

Paul Kossoff was their guitarist, his axe a 1959 Gibson Les Paul. Thirty years on, Kossoff's personal guitar is now offered at auction for the first time as part Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia sale, taking place 10 December at Bonhams Knightsbridge.

Kossoff owned the Gibson Les Paul from 1970-1976. This was the height of the band's success, with their classic rock anthem, All Right Now, soaring to number one in music charts across 20 territories.

Hampstead-born Kossoff was an immensely skilled musician. His signature talent was the ability to unleash an incredible vibrato on his guitar, a skill that so impressed fellow musician, Eric Clapton, that it prompted him to ask Kossoff, "How do you do that?".

Kossoff performed with vigour, so much so that during one performance he threw his Gibson Les Paul guitar in the air, snapping the neck. Arthur Ramm, guitarist of support group, Beckett, lent his instrument to Kossoff after he broke his guitar. Later offering a trade, Kossoff declined to barter the guitar he held dear, despite it being broken.

In 1973 Free disbanded, sending Kossoff in a downward spiral. In 1975 he formed the band Back Street Crawler, but in March 1976, at the age of 25, he died from what's believed to have been a drug-related heart-attack whilst on board a flight from Los Angeles to New York.

Several years after Kossoff's tragic death, Ramm acquired the guitar from the late-musician's family. Some thirty years on, the guitar will now feature at auction for the first time.

Natalie Downing, Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Specialist, said: "Kossoff is one of the generation of rock stars who lost their life to the excesses of the industry. His incredible musical talent continues to be recognised, heralded by Rolling Stone magazine in their top 100 list of the greatest guitarists of all time.

"Musical instruments with celebrity provenance can often reach a higher premium at auction, bolstered by fans and musicians keen to take home instruments that bore witness to some of rock and roll's greatest moments. Bonhams has conducted several highly successful auctions throughout the year, including the sale of Eric Clapton and Chris Martin's guitars at our June sale."

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