Status Quo (founded 1967)
Status Quo is an English rock group
Status Quo: Formation
Status Quo started out as the band The Spectres, who were a rock and roll freakbeat outfit. Frances Rossi and Alan Lancaster were pupils together at Sedgehill Comprehensive School in Catford, where they were both members of the orchestra.
Rossi and Lancaster formed a band, originally named The Scorpions, then changed to The Spectres, with drummer John Coughlan. They met Rick Parfitt, who was in a cabaret band called The Highlights. The Spectres signed a deal with Piccadilly Records, but none of their singles impacted on the charts. They later changed their name to Traffic, but updated it to Traffic Jam, to avoid confusion with Steve Winwood's band.
Status Quo: 1967 onwards
In 1967, the band changed their name to The Status Quo. In January 1968 they released 'Pictures of Matchstick Men'. They invited Parfitt to join the band just as the song hit the UK singles chart at number 7. Their third single was a departure from this psychedelic sound, with 'Ice in the Sun, written by Marty Wilde.
They hired Bob Young as a roadie and tour manager and Young soon became an important songwriting partner for Status Quo. Their second album, Spare Parts, failed to bother the charts. In 1976, they were joined by Andy Bown on keyboards.
Status Quo's breakthrough came when they signed with Vertigo. Their first album on their new label was Piledriver, released in 1972, showcasing a heavier sound, which they continued until 1976's Blue For You. It was around this time that Status Quo became one of the UK's biggest rock bands and gained a dedicated following of fans and would tour relentlessly.
Some of their most popular songs of this era include 'Rockin' All Over the World' (written by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival), 'Whatever You Want' and 'Down Down'. The latter song remains their only UK number one. In 1976, Status Quo signed a sponsorship deal with Levis and have long been associated with denim fashions.
In 1981, John Coghlan left the band and was replaced by Pete Kircher, formerly of the 1960s pop band Honeybus. Their final appearance with Kircher was opening the Live Aid event at Wembley in 1985. The event also featured The Style Council, The Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Elton John and Queen.
In July 1986, Status Quo played at Queen's Live At Wembley, supporting the release of In The Army Now. The following album, Ain't Complaining fared less well than its predecessor. In the 1990s. the band's live following continued, though album sales were relatively poor, with albums such as Don't Stop and Famous in the Last Century consisting largely of cover versions of bands such as The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Roy Orbison and Robert Johnson. In 1993, Status Quo played to over 25,000 when they switched on the Blackpool illuminations. In 2000, Andrew Bown took a year off, following the death of his wife. He was temporarily replaced by Paul Hirsh, formerly of Voyager.
2005 saw Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt make a cameo appearance in Coronation Street. Two years later, they released another studio album, entitled In Search of the Fourth Chord. The following year, they joined forces with Scooter the German techno group, to record a modern version of their 1979 single 'Whatever You Want'. The new version was entitled 'Jump That Rock (Whatever You Want)'. They also released their first ever Christmas single, 'It's Christmas Time'. It reached number 40 in the charts.
In June 2009, Status Quo played at the Glastonbury Festival, which was headlined by Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Blur. They also played Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, with Jools Holland and Imelda May.
In 2009, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt were named as OBEs in the Queen's New Year Honours list, for their long-standing work for charities including the Prince's Trust and the Heart Foundation.