Simon Kirke was born in Lambeth, South London, England on July 28, 1949 and spent his first seventeen years living with his parents and two brothers in a primitive cottage, in the very small village of Clun in Shropshire, England, which had no electricity or running water. As a child, Simon sang the solo lead in his church’s Christmas performance of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ each year, which gave him an introduction to music, and fostered his interest in playing the drums.
For his 13th birthday Simon got his 1st small kit and his first full drum kit at the age of 15. He began performing in local clubs and pubs around the area in a homespun disco playing to the records of current and past rock and roll hits, and soon joined a band called The Maniacs. The band played throughout the area, won a talent contest, and experienced their first taste of publicity. He eventually left The Maniacs and formed a trio called Heatwave where he sang and played drums – long before Phil Collins, as he loves to say!
Determined to be a full-time drummer, Simon left school at the age of 17 and moved to London. He held down a several menial jobs and in early 1968, Simon Kirke joined Paul Kossoff of the blues band Black Cat Bones as their drummer. Simon and Paul Kossoff left the band a few months later, and soon formed the group Free with Paul Rodgers and [Invalid Artist].
In the four years Free were together they had an enormous influence on many bands on both sides of the Atlantic. Their biggest hit, "All Right Now", was a number one in more than 20 territories and was acknowledged by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) in 1990 as having received more than 1,000,000 radio plays in the US by late 1989. In 2000 an award was given to Paul Rodgers by the British music industry when "All Right Now" passed 2,000,000 radio plays in the UK. Free eventually disbanded in 1973.
Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers soon joined the group Bad Company (3) with ex-King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell and ex-Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs. Bad Company was also one of the first groups signed to Led Zeppelin’s record label, Swan Song. Bad Company enjoyed far more commercial success than Free and five of the six albums Bad Company released with Paul Rodgers are multi-platinum or gold.
Over the years, Simon Kirke has appeared on countless recordings by other artists, including albums by Wildlife, [Invalid Artist], Mick Jones (2), Mick Ralphs, Ringo Starr, John Wetton, Wilson Pickett and Ron Wood. Simon also sang and played drums on three tours with Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band.
Although mainly known for his drumming, Simon is a songwriter and he is also singing, plays guitar, piano and saxophone and has recorded three solo albums.
Father of actress Jemima Kirke and actresses and singers Domino Kirke and Lola Kirke.