Status Quo

“Pictures Of Matchstick Men”, released at the height of the Vietnamese War, in 1968, is apparently an anti-war number. I had no idea what it was about then, all I knew is that I really enjoyed its introduction, and still do.

When Status Quo failed to follow up its initial international success with a second single people began to write off this British group as yet another one-hit wonder. Little did those who had know , that the group would still be around decades later, having churned out hit after hit.

The groups origins date back to 1962, when schoolboys, Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster, formed The Spectres. In 1963 drummer, John Coghlan, was enlisted and, in 1964, Rick Parfitt.

By 1967, the band had discovered psychedelia and changed its name to Traffic Jam and thence The Status Quo, towards the end of that year. Within a couple of years, the latter name had been shortened to Status Quo.

It was Status Quo that opened the ‘Live Aid’ concert, in 1985, at Wembley Stadium, with “Rockin’ All Over The World”.

Status Quo has raised millions of pounds for charity and has received a number of awards recognising its achievements. The band entered the ‘Guinness Book of Records’ for having performed four shows in far-flung locations in Great Britain, within a period of eleven hours. It has sold well in excess of one hundred million records and, on the British charts alone, has registered more than sixty hits; more than any other rock band.

While the band’s initial success in America — “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” peaked at No.12 there — could not be maintained, Status Quo’s popularity in Europe has. This is particularly the case in The Netherlands.

Various members of Status Quo wrote many of the group’s hits, however, occasionally, it did resort to reviving the hits of others. The most unlikely example of this would surely have to be the taking of Hank Thompson’s No.1 country hit, “The Wild Side Of Life” — which, in 1952, had stayed atop its respective American chart for fifteen weeks — and releasing it, in 1976, as a rock track.

In 1981, it was the turn of “Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like”, which had been on the charts for Tom Jones, in 1974. Dion’s classic, “The Wanderer”, from 1961, was covered by Status Quo, in 1984. The Searchers’ “When You Walk In The Room” (1964) and Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop”, from 1977, were both released by the band, in 1996.

As one would expect within a group possessing such longevity, there have been changes to its personnel. In fact, six members have come and gone, however, close mates Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt remain. The other members are Andy Brown, John Edwards and Matt Letley.

You can find the names of my favourite tracks by Status Quo in my list of pet recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list from time to time.

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