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Status Quo

Status Quo are one of Britain's longest-lived bands, staying together for over 40 years. During much of that time, the band was only successful in the U.K., where it racked up a string of Top Ten singles across the decades. In America, the Quo were ignored after they abandoned psychedelia for heavy boogie rock in the early '70s. Before that, the band managed to reach number 12 in the U.S. with the psychedelic classic "Pictures of Matchstick Men" (a Top Ten hit in the U.K.). Following that single, the band suffered a lean period for the next few years, before the bandmembers decided to refashion themselves as a hard rock boogie band in 1970 with their Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon album. The Quo have basically recycled the same simple boogie on each successive album and single, yet their popularity has never waned in Britain. If anything, their very predictability has ensured the group a large following.

The origins of Status Quo lie in a London-based beat group called the Spectres. Francis Rossi (vocals, guitar) and Alan Lancaster (bass) were the core members of the Spectres from their inception; within a few years, the band had added drummer John Coughlan and organist Roy Lynes. The Spectres released three unsuccessful singles before changing their style to psychedelia and adopting the name Traffic Jam and releasing the unsuccessful single "Almost But Not Quite There." After it flopped, the group added Rick Parfitt (guitar, vocals), formerly of the cabaret band the Highlights. When Parfitt joined the band in August 1967, the group again changed its name, this time to Status Quo.

At first, Status Quo backed British solo artists, including Tommy Quickly, while working on their own material. "Pictures of Matchstick Men," the group's debut single, was released at the beginning of 1968 and quickly shot to number seven on the U.K. charts; within a few months, it was a number 12 in the U.S. as well. The immediate follow-up single, "Black Veils of Melancholy," was a flop, but "Ice in the Sun," written by former British pop star Marty Wilde, became Status Quo's second Top Ten hit in the fall of 1968. Over in America, the single barely registered, squeaking to number 70; it was the last time the group would ever chart in the U.S.

For the next year, Status Quo tried to replicate the success of their first two singles with similar psychedelic material, but they had little luck. Finally, they revamped their sound -- and jettisoned organist Lynes -- in the summer of 1970, debuting their new heavy, bluesy boogie rock with the single "Down the Dustpipe." The single reached number 12, yet the full-fledged hard rock album Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon didn't gain much attention. Status Quo began playing concerts regularly across England, slowly building up a strong following in England. Following well-received sets at 1972's Reading and Great Western festivals, the band became a hot property. The Quo signed with Vertigo Records and their first single for the label, "Paper Plane," cracked the Top Ten in early 1973, while their first album for Vertigo, Piledriver, reached number five. Later that year, Hello entered the charts at number one, while its accompanying single, "Caroline," reached number five. Also in 1973, keyboardist Andy Bown, formerly of the Herd and Judas Jump, became the band's unofficial keyboardist.

Throughout the '70s, each album Status Quo released went into the Top Five, while their singles -- including the number one "Down Down" (1974), "Roll Over Lay Down" (1975), "Rain" (1976), "Wild Side of Life" (1976), and a cover of John Fogerty's "Rockin' All Over the World" (1977) -- consistently hit the Top Ten and frequently went gold. Since they were experiencing a great deal of success, they didn't change their sound at all, they just kept churning out the same heavy boogie. America basically ignored Status Quo, yet their eponymous album managed to chart at 148 in 1976. Nevertheless, they were an English phenomenon, and England continued to support them even when pop music was undergoing drastic changes in the late '70s.

Following the release of 1980's Just Supposin', drummer John Coughlan left the band in 1981 to form his own group, Diesel. Former Original Mirrors drummer Pete Kircher replaced him; his first appearance with the group was 1982's Never Too Late. During the early '80s, tensions escalated between bassist Lancaster and guitarists Rossi and Parfitt, who were the group's main songwriters. Lancaster left the Quo after performing with them for a final time at Live Aid. He subsequently took Rossi and Parfitt to court to prevent them from using the name "Status Quo." Lancaster lost his battle, and the name became the property of the guitarists.

Once the lawsuit was settled, Rossi and Parfitt assembled a new band, hiring bassist John Edwards, drummer Jeff Rich, and keyboardist Andy Bown, who officially became a member of the group. The new lineup continued Status Quo's remarkable success, as they racked up a number of new Top Ten singles and hit albums, as well as consistently selling out concerts across England and Europe. In 1994, the group had its second number one hit of its career, with the football anthem "Come on You Reds"; the single was recorded with the football champions, Manchester United. By the mid-'90s, Status Quo had scored 50 British hit singles, which was a greater number than any other band in rock & roll history.

In April 1997 Parfitt underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery but fully recovered and continued performing and recording with the Quo in the years to follow. Drummer Rich departed the band in 2000, replaced by Matt Letley, who has continued on with the band in the 21st century. The single “Jam Side Down” was a Top 20 hit in the U.K. during 2002, a year that also saw the release of the critically acclaimed Heavy Traffic album. The all-covers outing Don’t Stop arrived in 2004, followed by The Party Ain’t Over Yet in 2005 and In Search of the Fourth Chord in 2007. In 2010 the Quo returned with Quid Pro Quo. The album -- which featured 14 newly written songs -- peaked at number 10 on the U.K. album chart. Two years later, Parfitt and Rossi announced that they had filmed their first full-length feature film. Bula Quo -- hailed as a modern-day version of the Blues Brothers -- was released in the summer of 2013, with its soundtrack arriving just a few months earlier. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Picturesque Matchstickable Message From The Status Quo

Comments

Love this s**t
I saw them live many times while in the af stationed in Germany and was able to intro mny friends stateside
krudd3
Love this band, and was so pleased to hear Matchstick Men on the MIB3 soundtrack. It reintroduced them to an entirely new generation.
When I was stationed in Germany in the 70's and early 80's Status Quo was always playing on the German Radio Stations. Also at the German Disco's they always played Status Quo!!
Phase & Wa ....how can you go wrong? !
MY Theme Song forever !!!!! LOVE IT !
Long live quo..only band with 100 singles over 5 decades..nuf f said
lburris597
I get high just listening their music.
The best rock and roll band of world quo army
That song was originally made by the shadows of night. A 60s Chicago band.
Status Quo is great! One of my favorite bands!
Great hippie band
Ase unos años tocaron en mexico en nezayork saben donde queda jajaja
British indeed, love it!!! Bring me back to my youth.
Buena banda
CCR came on the scene about the time the Beatles broke up. They filled that gap for many of us. In my oipnion CCR is right up there in my top 10. I know I would have liked Status Quo had I heard any of their music but I don't rememebr hearing them on US radio after Pictures of Matchstick Men. I dont't think SQ's boogie had as much muscle as Foghat or Humble Pie but they sound good to me.
kvons1
Slightly different version than the US single
This bands biography reads like Spinal Tap's.
Mystery to me.. Good stuff.
I thought that when I got around to reading the posts here the conversation would basically revolve around the perplexity of why this band wasn't as popular as bands like Foghat and Creedence... or some such nonsense. Perlexity abounds! I don't think it is a mystery though and I think it is cool that the Brits, along with the rest of us, have SQ, "good, but-notmuch- h y p e " that we can more or less call our own. The British had already given so much to rock by the time SQ emerged...
milosdad
FOGHAT!
johnnyohania n
I like anything with a phase shifter in the music.
dbrowdie
This Is the only English 60's swinging Psychedelic group that is still together today & reinvented themselves in the 70's & 80's. They are still jamming to this day. Kudos to them!! :)
damnspacebar w h e r e a r e y o u
Live at Knebworth CD available NOW!!!1
http://www.n e w r e l e a s e s n o w . c o m / s o n g / 0 3 2 3 _ 2 0 1 0 / 1 0 / y e s / V a r i o u s + A r t i s t s / L i v e + A t + K n e b w o r t h
thevanman552
Got these guys as a kid of 12 with Pictures and saw them live in Germany in 1975 with Alice Cooper as headliner. This is a good band. It is sad America has such snobby tastes, but they are in with a bunch of great English as well as European bands that have a good sound. I liked them and still do.
@miadolph1
yeah covering slade was basically how Quiet Riot got their popularity. I know they covered mama were all crazy now, and c*m on feel the noize (which were both slade songs) and they may have covered more

anyways, status quo is a great band, and their 60's stuff is a prime example of good psychedelia
i like the trippy songs
At 1 point in the 60's Status Quo had more top ten hits than the beatles in the UK. Slade is another brit band that had many hits in UK but only 1 or 2 here. thier songs were remade by a few bands.
Status Quo did Green Tambourine. it was a hit in England. The Lemon Pipers Had a hit with it in the USA.
bromide01
They look like Journey or Styx but sound like Strawberry Alarm Clock covering Iron Maiden songs.
Green Tambourine was the Lemon Pipers.I saw Status Quo in the early 80's.The loudest band I ever heard.They were great
Can you imagine a place where George Thorogood , Chuck Berry, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Foghat,CCR, early Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, & others along w/Status Quo could have a massive jam session? Rock N Roll bliss. Bring on the brews! Hello is my all time fave. Simple but great rock n roll boogie.
darrylg57
Hummmmmmmmmm m , not sure this band had this hit? Am I wrong?

Green Tambourine?

D
I'D HAVE TO HEAR MORE TO REALLY KNOW, BUT I AGREE WITH BOB6662 NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED EITHER, NEVER HEARD THEM OR OF THEM BEFORE
wow never would have guessed
Most of Status Quo is a british variant of CCR.
I'm always amazed at the fantastic Brit bands who have never made it in the U.S.
What's wrong with the Yanks that they can't always recognize good music when it hits them in the face?

Take Status Quo for example.
WAIT!!
Don't take them as an example!
They're pure mediocre.
What's wrong with those Brits that they've listened to this band for thirty years?
Much better bands than this have had a quick death.
Perhaps the Brits and the Yanks both have weird taste in music.
the status quo are not fantastic lyricists or instrumental i s t s , but the way they connect... wow, you don't find it that much in music
rude
LAWL you cant Rtard
how do i move the previously played songs back up to play?

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