Status Quo are a British rock group who are best known in home country for their heads-down twelve-bar boogie rock which they have played since the 1970s. They enjoyed 22 Top 10 hits in the UK between 1968 and 1990, including one chart-topper in 1974's "Down Down
." Their biggest American hit was the psychedelic "Pictures Of Matchstick Men
," which reached #12 in 1968.
The origins of Status Quo lie in a group called The Scorpions, who were formed in 1962 by vocalist Francis Rossi
and bassist Alan Lancaster at Sedgehill Comprehensive School, Catford, SE London, along with classmates drummer Alan Key and keyboardist Jess Jaworski. The Scorpions' first gig was at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich, London in 1963. The band's whole set at that time consisted entirely of cover versions.
The band changed name to The Spectres in 1963 and began writing their own songs. It was Lancaster who originally started writing his own material - His first composition was a ditty called "You are My Girl." The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records in July 1966 and released three singles, which all failed to make an impact on the charts
In 1967 the group discovered psychedelia and changed their name to Traffic Jam, but were forced to switch monikers again to avoid confusion with Steve Winwood's Traffic. In late 1967, the band became The Status Quo and Rossi's close friend, guitarist Rick Parfitt joined the singer, Alan Lancaster, John Coghlan and Roy Lynes to form the first lineup of the band.
Status Quo opened the Live Aid charity event at Wembley in July 1985. The first song they played was their John Fogerty-penned hit tune, "Rockin' All Over The World
Rossi and Parfitt made a couple of cameo appearances in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street in 2005. They initially got involved in a brawl at the Rovers Return with notorious layabout Les Battersby, then performed live at his wedding as compensation.
Status Quo fronted a "Prices are down" advertising campaign for Australian supermarket, Coles, in which they tweaked the lyrics to "Down Down
." It was the most Googled Australian ad of 2012, despite being widely reviled.
Several of Quo's hits, including "Caroline
", "Paper Plane
" and "Down Down," were written by vocalist Francis Rossi with the band's tour manager and harmonica player Bob Young. Guitarist Rick Parfitt generally teams up with keyboardist Andy Bown (they wrote the hit single "Whatever You Want
" together) or bassist John Edwards. Francis Rossi told us
that "Rick's very tricky to write with." He added: "He will get an idea and if you say, 'That's good,' he goes, 'No, I can get better,' and he moves and he loses it. So when he and John write together, they've got four or five different tape machines running to keep an eye on what's going on."
Status Quo released their first feature length film, Bula Quo! in 2013, which was prefaced by a double-disc release of the same name. Rossi admitted to us the band didn't set out to make an album round the movie: "I went and did the movie, and they said to us, 'There'll be a soundtrack.' And I immediately thought, 'Soundtrack? That's probably to do with a band.'"
Status Quo entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1991 after playing four venues in one day (Sheffield International Centre, Glasgow Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Birmingham National Exhibition Centre and Wembley Arena) as part of a Rock Till You Drop tour to commemorate their 25th anniversary.
In his later life, Rick Parfitt faced several health issues, including a quadruple heart bypass in 1997, a throat cancer scare in 2005, and three heart attacks in 2011, 2014 and June 2016. The last one forced him to retire from the band.
The classic Status Quo lineup comprised Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan. Lancaster and Coghlan both left in the 1980s, but returned for a pair of tours in 2013 and 2014. The last date the quartet played together was released in 2014 as The Frantic Four's Final Fling: Live at the Dublin 02 Arena.
Parfitt died in a Marbella, Spain hospital on December 24, 2016 from an infection. He passed away one day after being admitted to address complications from a shoulder injury he sustained in a fall.