Down Down

Album: On The Level (1974)
Charted: 1
  • This was written by the band's lead singer Francis Rossi with their road manager and sometime harmonica player Bob Young. Once they had the music for the song, the first lyric Rossi wrote was the verse: "I want all the world to see, to see you laughing, and you're laughing at me." When we spoke with Rossi in 2013, he explained: "In my mind I was speaking to my ex-wife and the British press at the time."
  • Coming up with a title and developing the chorus were the big challenges in writing this song. Francis Rossi tells us that he kept thinking about the 1968 Tyrannosaurus Rex song "Debora," and wanted to get that D sound in the words. Bob Young came up with the idea for "Down Down," which sounded good, but didn't make any sense. Rossi thought it was a great fit: "To me, the lyric has to sound right. When you're singing, there's a tone that comes out, and you have to go with that tone," he told us.

    Bob Young said: "I think 'Down Down' is a really good song and the title rolled off my tongue."
  • Francis Rossi started writing this song when the group was in Los Angeles on an American tour. The rest of the band was out "exercising their pencils" (as Francis puts it), but he was content staying put in their budget accommodations, enjoying a meal at the Copper Penny next door. "I was sitting with this D tuning with a B capo and I was strumming away and I got the idea for the intro to 'Down, Down' and the whole melody," he said. "Bob Young was out with some sweet thing and came back and I said, 'Look, I quite like the way we do this.'"
  • The band plagiarized themselves a bit on this song: the verse rhythm is similar to the intro of their first hit, "Pictures Of Matchstick Men." I was already stealing my own songs before I made any success," Rossi told us.
  • Status Quo were a UK rock group who enjoyed 22 Top 10 hits in the UK between 1968 and 1990, although this was their only #1. In 2005 they recorded their biggest hit for 15 years when "The Party Ain't Over Yet" reached #11. Their biggest American hit was the psychedelic "Pictures Of Matchstick Men," which reached #12 in 1968.
  • In 2010, the Australian supermarket chain Coles began using this song - with the chorus changed to "Down down, prices are down" - as the centerpiece to their new advertising campaign. In 2012, the band was enlisted to appear in a commercial where they performed the song. The spot got a lot of attention - both good and bad - and became the most-Googled Australian ad of 2012.

    Coles expanded the campaign, and throughout 2013 the Status Quo appeared in several other commercials for the supermarket.
  • The line "down down, deeper and down" is often misheard. For over 30 years, the guitarist Würzel (Michael Burston), who was in Motörhead from 1984-1995, thought it was "down down, leader of down." When he formed a band in 2008, he named it Leader Of Down after his malapropism.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 1

  • Sam from Hipsville, CaA good old fashioned Rocker!
see more comments

Jeff TrottSongwriter Interviews

Sheryl Crow's longtime songwriting partner/guitarist Jeff Trott reveals the stories behind many of the singer's hits, and what its like to be a producer for Leighton Meester and Max Gomez.

Tom Keifer of CinderellaSongwriter Interviews

Tom talks about the evolution of Cinderella's songs through their first three albums, and how he writes as a solo artist.

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)Songwriter Interviews

Richie talks about producing the first two Kiss albums, recording "Brother Louie," and the newfound appreciation of his rock band, Dust.