This group has spanned my musical memory though all of the 1960s and 1970s. They were having huge hits in the 80s and still had hits in the 90s and even now in the 2000s. The group unfairly has the reputation of a one chord group, but if that was true we would not still be talking about them after half a century. They have had sixty chart hits in the UK.
The group formed out of another group called The Specters and it was not until 1967 that Francis Rossi called the group The Status Quo before in 1969 it became Status Quo. Along with Rick Parfitt and Alan Lancaster with a few members coming and going over the years, during which the group became a 1970s institution.
It was March of 1970 when Quo broke into the 1970s with the hit Down The Dustpipe which was written by Australian Carl Groszman, but Radio One DJ Tony Blackburn did not like it and called it “Down the dustbin for this one”. But despite Tony not liking it still did well in the top twenty.
The follow up In My Chair got to No. 31, but it was not until 1972 they came back into the top ten with Paper Plane. There is no way when watching Top Of The Pops that the whole family could not tap their feet to this single which was written by Francis as much of Quo’s music was throughout the decades.
Two fantastic hits were had in 1973 with Mean Girl but this was dwarfed by the next single called Caroline which defined Quo for years to come. The song was written on the back of a napkin by Francis and co-writer Bob Young and was originally called Margret.
1974 gave us a No. 8 hit called Break The Rules which I do not even remember, but the next single got to the top of the charts in that same year and was called Down Down which to me was very much Caroline. It was a fantastic song to head bang to at the school discos. Originally it was called Get Down but because Gilbert O’Sullivan had a song of the same name it had to be changed.
1975 and only one hit for the Quo with Roll Over Lay Down from the album Quo Live.
The group scored three big hits in the summer of 1976 with Rain, Mystery Song which was about fun with a prostitute. The last single of the year was The Wild Side Of Life which was actually a cover of the 1952 country hit by Hank Thompson. Whoever he was?
Only one top ten hit in 1977 but it was the classic Rockin’ All Over The World which eight years later would be the song that started Live Aid from Wembley. The song was yet another cover, but this time from John Fogerty who use to be a member of Creedence Clearwater Revival.
As the 70s ended the Quo just kept going, they were never really out of our minds were they? The only top twenty hit that year was Again And Again which was released to coincide with their appearance at the Reading Festival that year. 1979 saw two big hits with Living On An Island and Whatever You Want the latter being their last head banging song of the 1970s.
Music, drugs and alcohol and a lifestyle that would have killeded most of us off made the Quo part of our lives and at their concerts now they have a huge young following. It just goes to show that even if they were banned by Radio One for a while they are still part of the heritage of British Music.
For more info about Status Quo see their official site here