Status Quo - Biography

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<p>Artist Biography byStephen Thomas Erlewine</p> <p>Status Quoare 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 Quowere 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 periodfor thenext few years, before the bandmembers decided to refashion themselves as a hard rock boogie band in 1970 with theirMa Kelly's Greasy Spoonalbum.the Quohave 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 ofStatus Quolie in a London-based beat group calledthe Spectres.Francis Rossi(vocals, guitar) andAlan Lancaster(bass) were the core members ofthe Spectresfrom their inception; within a few years, the band had added drummerJohn Coughlanand organistRoy Lynes.the Spectresreleased three unsuccessful singles before changing their style to psychedelia and adopting the nameTraffic Jamand releasing the unsuccessful single "Almost But Not Quite There." After it flopped, the group addedRick Parfitt(guitar, vocals), formerlyof thecabaret bandthe Highlights. WhenParfittjoined the band in August 1967, the group again changed its name, this time toStatus Quo.At first,Status Quobacked British solo artists, includingTommy 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 starMarty Wilde, becameStatus 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.</p> <p>For the next year,Status Quotried 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 organistLynes-- 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-fledgedhard rockalbumMa Kelly's Greasy Spoondidn't gain much attention.Status Quobegan 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 Quosigned 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,Helloentered the charts at number one, while its accompanying single, "Caroline," reached number five. Also in 1973, keyboardistAndy Bown, formerly ofthe HerdandJudas Jump, became the band's unofficial keyboardist.Throughout the '70s, each albumStatus Quoreleased went into the Top Five, while their singles -- including the number one "Down Down" (1974), "Roll Over Lay Down" (1975), "Rain" (1976), "WildSide of Life" (1976), and a cover ofJohn Fogerty's"Rockin' All Overthe 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 ignoredStatus 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.</p> <p>Following the release of 1980'sJust Supposin', drummerJohn Coughlanleft the band in 1981 to form his own group,Diesel. FormerOriginal MirrorsdrummerPete Kircherreplaced him; his first appearance with the group was 1982'sNever Too Late. During the early '80s, tensions escalated between bassistLancasterand guitaristsRossiandParfitt, who were the group's main songwriters.Lancasterleftthe Quoafter performing with them for a final time at Live Aid. He subsequently tookRossiandParfittto court to prevent them from using the name "Status Quo."Lancasterlost his battle,and thename became the property of the guitarists.Once the lawsuit was settled,RossiandParfittassembled a new band, hiring bassistJohn Edwards, drummerJeff Rich, and keyboardistAndy Bown, who officially became a member of the group. The new lineup continuedStatus 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 thefootball anthem"Come on You Reds"; the single was recorded with the football champions, Manchester United.By themid-'90s,Status Quohad scored 50 British hit singles, which was a greater number than any other band in rock &amp; roll history.</p> <p>In April 1997Parfittunderwent quadrupleheart bypass surgerybut fully recovered and continued performing and recording withthe Quoin the years to follow. DrummerRichdeparted the band in 2000, replaced byMatt 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 acclaimedHeavy Trafficalbum. The all-covers outingDont Stoparrived in 2004, followed byThe Party Aint Over Yetin 2005 andIn Search of the Fourth Chordin 2007. In 2010 theQuoreturned withQuid Pro Quo. The album -- which featured 14 newly written songs -- peaked at number 10 on the U.K. album chart. Two years later,ParfittandRossiannounced that they had filmed their first full-length feature film.Bula Quo-- hailed as a modern-day version of theBlues Brothers-- was released in the summer of 2013, with its soundtrack arriving just a few months earlier.</p>