b. 14 September 1950, Hampstead, London, England, d. 19 March 1976. The son of English actor David Kossoff, Paul was an inventive, impassioned guitar player who was initially a member of Black Cat Bones, a late 60s blues band that included drummer Simon Kirke. In 1968, both musicians became founder members of Free and later worked together in Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu And Rabbit, a spin-off project that completed a lone album in 1971 during a hiatus in the parent group’s career. Free was reactivated in 1972, but Kossoff’s tenure during this second phase was blighted by recurring drug and health problems. Absent on portions of several tours, Kossoff finally left the group to pursue a solo career. Back Street Crawler contained several excellent performances, notably ‘Molten Gold’, but it was two years before the guitarist was well enough to resume live work. He accompanied John Martyn on a 1975 tour before assembling a new group, also entitled Back Street Crawler. The quintet completed one album but projected concerts were cancelled when Kossoff suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Specialists forbade an immediate return, but plans were hatched for a series of concerts the following year. However, in March 1976, Paul Kossoff died in his sleep during a flight from Los Angeles to New York. On Jim Capaldi’s 1975 solo album, Short Cut Draw Blood, two songs were reputedly written in tribute to Kossoff: ‘Seagull’ and ‘Boy With A Problem’; Kossoff had played lead guitar on the latter.
From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.