Vocalist Paul Rodgers began writing the song when he was touring with Free in 1968 in San Francisco. He recalled to Uncut:
"The inspiration was somebody I had met at the time. Life experiences. I traveled, hitchhiking, up to Rio Nido and camped out in the woods with some people I had met. I was gone for days. It was a wonderful experience to be young and free in America in the '60s."
Several years after Rodgers wrote the song, he played it to Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs, who came up with some big chords for the chorus. Ralphs recalled:
"I came up with the riff, and I suggested we put the two together to create a song. I think that's the feel of the song, the verses are very appealing to the ladies, probably more than the men; and then the riff comes in which is all bloody macho. It's a big chorus and it worked out really well."