This song's lyrics were based on a poem written by a close friend of the band, Robert Young. He and the band's frontman Francis Rossi are the credited writers.
The track is often transposed down a semitone to A major from its original key of Bb major to suit vocal duties in live performances, although this makes the song much trickier to play.
Suggestion credit: Greg - Barking, England, for above 2
Prior to the release of this record, Status Quo were best known for their pop psychedelia 45s such as "Pictures Of Matchstick Men." This was the band's first single for the progressive label Vertigo and its 12 bar boogie set the template for Quo's sound for years to come.
Speaking with Classic Rock magazine, Francis Rossi recalled writing the song with with Bob Young at his house. "To me the best bit was always the line: 'Wasn't really up there with me. We all make mistakes, forgive me.'" That was a case of, "Yes!" he said, mock-punching the air. "From there the song just fell into place."
The "three-grand Deutsche car" in the third verse was in fact a Mercedes that the band had bought to ferry themselves around in.
This song got a ringing endorsement from the exalted British DJ John Peel, who said, "'Paper Plane' - now this boys and girls, is a real gem. If it's not a #1 single then you all deserve to be horsewhipped."