Paul Rodgers Reveals Series of Strokes That Left Him Unable to Speak

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Paul Rodgers, during his interview on CBS This Morning that aired on Sept. 27, 2023

One of classic rock’s most iconic vocalists, Paul Rodgers, has shared details of a significant health battle that prevented him from being able to speak. The beloved singer, in an interview that aired today (September 27, 2023) on CBS This Morning, revealed that he had suffered two major strokes and 11 minor strokes in the past seven years. He told the program’s Anthony Mason, “I couldn’t do anything to be honest. I couldn’t speak. That was the very strange thing. You know, I’d prepare something in my mind and I’d say it, but that isn’t what came out and I’d go, ‘What the heck did I just say?'” Rodgers’ first of two major strokes occurred in 2016. When the latter happened in 2019, it led to a risky surgical procedure known as an endarterectomy, which the network noted in its report is “a procedure to remove plaque clogging a carotid artery, which posed a considerable risk to Rodgers’ vocal cords.”

The legendary frontman for Bad Company and Free said to Mason, “They told me, they’re very clear, ‘You may not come out of this alive.’ And I said, ‘Oh, well, that’s a plus, isn’t it?'”

In the interview, Rodgers’ wife, Cynthia, said, “I was just praying,” she said. “All I wanted to be able to do was walk and talk with him again. That’s all I asked for.”

“And when I woke up, I opened my eyes, I thought, ‘Oh, I’m still here,'” said Rodgers. The singer released a new studio album. Midnight Rose, his first solo album of new music in decades, on September 22, via Sun Records. When he saw the physical album for the first time during the interview with CBS, he said, “Will you look at that! Here comes the sun!” The singer and songwriter first shared the news of the album on June 23, the same day he released its first single “Living It Up.” Listen to many of the songs below.

The founding member of English supergroup Bad Company along with guitarist Mick Ralphs, drummer Simon Kirke and bassist Boz Burrell, Rodgers has sold a reported 90 million records worldwide in his career. Rodgers formed and two other legendary English bands: Free with Kirke, Paul Kossoff, and Andy Fraser, and The Firm with Jimmy Page, Chris Slade and Tony Franklin. Yet despite his commercial acclaim and accolades from many of rock music’s biggest stars, Rodgers has consistently overlooked by one prominent organization. Neither he, nor any of his bands, have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Related: Rodgers’ Bad Company bandmate, Ralphs, also suffered a stroke in 2016

Midnight Rose was produced by Cynthia Rodgers and Bob Rock, and was recorded at Roper Recording and The Warehouse over the last 18 months with unique album artwork contributed by Paul and his wife, Cynthia.

The eight-song collection of all new, original music was entirely written by Rodgers, with the exception of “Living It Up,” co-written by Rodgers with his band’s bassist Todd Ronning and drummer Rick Fedyk. Rodgers describes it as “a tribute to and my way of thanking America for all the music and love through the years.”

A second track, “Take Love,” was released on July 28.

“My new album grew from sparks of ideas I had,” said Rodgers in the announcement. “The sparks developed into a raging fire when the band and everyone involved brought their absolute ‘A’ game.” He turned 73 on Dec. 17, 2022.

Midnight Rose Track Listing
1. “Coming Home”
2. “Photo Shooter”
3. “Midnight Rose”
4. “Living It Up”
5. “Dance in the Sun”
6. “Take Love”
7. “Highway Robber”
8. “Melting”

Related: In 2018, we asked Rodgers who he regretted never having recorded with

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11 Comments so far

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  1. JCB
    #1 JCB 24 June, 2023, 08:20

    How this legend is not in the R+R Hall of Fame is shameful. Wiki says he sold 125 million records, not 90 million. Regardless, he should have been in 25 years ago. He is amazing live. In my opinion the best front man in rock history.

    Reply this comment
    • Ross
      Ross 24 June, 2023, 12:27

      This song really sounds like something the Firm would have done!

      Reply this comment
    • vick59
      vick59 1 July, 2023, 02:10

      You are absolutely correct, sir. Who else could do those kind of vocals at 73? Truly amazing.

      Reply this comment
    • free
      free 28 September, 2023, 01:45

      Rodgers’ voice is pure perfection. Effortless perfection. Live or die his legacy is guaranteed. Thanks Paul.

      Reply this comment
  2. HeyLegg
    #2 HeyLegg 25 June, 2023, 11:53

    Nobody has the voice and moves of Paul Rodgers

    Reply this comment
  3. Chuck the Duck
    #3 Chuck the Duck 22 September, 2023, 14:40

    Rock and Roll Hall of bla, bla, bla; Hall of Shame is better name. Sorry can’t resist a chance to knock the pathetic, so called, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. No Guess Who, just to mention one, but a bunch of hip hop and the like, enough said.

    Fortunate to have seen Bad Company in New Orleans in the mid seventies. Also saw Paul Rodgers, solo, at a festival in New Orleans, a few years ago. Yes, what a great artist, singer, front man he is. Paul’s voice still sounds great and he surrounds himself with great musicians.

    Reply this comment
    • John
      John 24 September, 2023, 16:29

      You are so right, what a shame it’s called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I have no problem with awards but really make your own museum for Hip Hop or whatever. Putting these people in over true Rock and Roll is blasphemy. I also saw Bad Company back in the ’70s at Madison Square Garden and just a few years ago at Jones Beach Theatre. He was still terrific. I have my tickets to prove it. LOL

      Reply this comment
  4. Mike
    #4 Mike 28 September, 2023, 00:16

    For most of my 67 years Paul Rodgers is the greatest Rock Vocalist (whatever that means) and since his teens has also been one of the finest writers. Free was an amazing band, some of their best work is still not exposed to the level it has long deserved.

    Reply this comment
  5. Antonio
    #5 Antonio 28 September, 2023, 08:40

    Not long ago I went to see Queen with Paul Rodgers, great duo, great team. Apart from these legendary bands where he participated, Free, Bad Company and Queen, let’s not forget the other supergroup where Paul Rodgers was, I’m referring to The Firm with Jimmy Page and Chris Slade. The guy is a legend

    Reply this comment
  6. BMac
    #6 BMac 28 September, 2023, 12:37

    I had just read about his new solo album coming out, and now, a couple of days later, I read that…he’s had two major strokes? And several minor ones??? I freaked. This guy’s been a legend for decades. But it’s great to see that he’s not only survived, but is sounding and looking great in the aftermath of multiple health scares.

    Reply this comment

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