Brian Howe, who was Bad Company’s lead singer for eight years and sang on a mid-’80s Ted Nugent’s album, died Wednesday of a heart attack while en route to a hospital near his home in Lake Placid, FL. He was 66.
England native Howe took over for original Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers in 1986 and remained with the band for eight years. Recruited by Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke on a recommendation by Foreigner’s Mick Jones, Howe sang on and toured behind four of the band’s studio albums — three of which went gold — and its 1993 live disc. During his tenure, the group racked up eight top 10 singles on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart, including the No. 1 hits “Holy Water” (1990) and “How About That” (1992) — the latter topping that chart for six weeks.
Before joining the British hard rock band, Howe sang lead on Nugent’s 1984 album Penetrator. He landed the gig after the album’s producer heard him singing at the Atlantic Records office in London. The disc spawned a minor hit with “Tied Up in Love,” and Howe fronted Nugent’s band on the guitarist’s subsequent tour but exited soon afterward.
Howe released his solo debut, Tangled in Blue, in 1997 and followed it with Circus Bar in 2010. In 2003 his first album was re-released as Touch, with one track added. He most recently toured Europe in 2017 as a solo act.
Howe is survived by a sister, son, two daughters and three grandchildren.