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Music / Status Quo

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The "Frantic Four"note .
"Come on, sweet Caroline
Take my hand, together we can rock & roll.
— "Caroline"

One of Britain's most consistently popular rock groups, Status Quo was formed in 1962 by school friends Francis Rossi (lead guitar, vocals) and Alan Lancaster (bass guitar, vocals). The classic Quo line-up, which lasted until 1981, was completed with the addition of John Coghlan (drums, percussion) and Rick Parfitt (rhythm guitar, vocals).

After brief flirtations with Progressive Rock and Psychedelic Rock yielded little success (aside from the still popular hit "Pictures of Matchstick Men"), Quo hit on the formula that's defined their sound to this day with the 1970 album Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon, the first to feature their straightforward, no frills, blues-based boogie rock style powered by Rossi and Parfitt's dual Telecasters.

Notably, they were the band that opened Live Aid at Wembley Stadium with the song that is probably their Signature Song, "Rockin' All Over the World". When they were unavailable to play Live 8 twenty years later, Coldplay paid tribute with a performance of the song when they opened that show.

So far, in a career spanning more than 50 years, Quo have recorded 64 hit singles, with 22 of them making it into the Top Ten. They passed the 100 singles mark in 2013 with "Bula Bula Quo". They have spent more 415 weeks in the British Singles Chart, made 106 appearances on Top of the Pops (more than any other band), had 33 albums in the British Albums Chart (second only to The Rolling Stones in terms of quantity), and King Charles is known to be a fan - not many bands can say that now, can they?

Unfortunately Rick Parfitt suffered a serious heart attack in the summer of 2016 and had to permanently retire from live performances in October 2016 leaving the long time future of the band in some doubt. Irish guitarist Richie Malone deputised for Rick for the remaining 2016 tour dates. At the time the band said that no final decision on their future would be made until 2017 at the earliest, then on 24 December 2016, Rick Parfitt passed away. The band elected to continue with Malone officially joining the band as Parfitt's replacement and the band are currently on the road as of 2017.

The current lineup is:

  • Francis Rossi - lead guitar, vocals
  • John 'Rhino' Edwards - bass guitar, vocals
  • Andrew Bown - keyboards, guitar, harmonica
  • Leon Cave - drums
  • Richie Malone - rhythm guitar

Studio Discography:

  • Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo (1968)
  • Spare Parts (1969)
  • Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon (1970)
  • Dog Of Two Head (1971)
  • Piledriver (1972)
  • Hello! (1973)
  • Quo (1974)
  • On The Level (1975)
  • Blue For You (1976)
  • Rockin' All Over The World (1977)
  • If You Can't Stand The Heat... (1978)
  • Whatever You Want (1979)
  • Just Supposin' (1980)
  • Never Too Late (1981)
  • 1+9+8+2 (1982)
  • Back To Back (1983)
  • In The Army Now (1986)
  • Ain't Complaining (1988)
  • Perfect Remedy (1989)
  • Rock 'Til You Drop (1991)
  • Thirsty Work (1994)
  • Don't Stop (1996)
  • Under The Influence (1999)
  • Famous In The Last Century (2000)
  • Heavy Traffic (2002)
  • Riffs (2003)
  • The Party Ain't Over Yet (2005)
  • In Search Of The Fourth Chord (2007)
  • Quid Pro Quo (2011)
  • Bula Quo! (2013)
  • Aquostic (Stripped Bare) (2014)
  • Aquostic II - That's A Fact! (2016)
  • Backbone (2019)

Francis Rossi's Solo Discography:

  • King Of The Doghouse (1996)
  • One Step At A Time (2010)
  • We Talk Too Much (with Hannah Rickard, 2019)

Rick Parfitt's Solo Discography:

  • Over And Out (2018, released posthumously)


  • Album Title Drop: Just Supposin' comes from a line in the first song, "What You're Proposing".
  • Alliterative Title: "Long Legged Linda".
    • The Frantic Four's last 2014 concert is known as The Frantic Four's Final Fling.
  • Ascended Extra: Andy Bown, who played on the Hello! album as a session musician, went on to become an official member of the band in 1977.
  • Audience Participation Song: "Bye Bye Johnny" closes every concert, with the audience saying goodbye as well as the band.
  • Author Appeal: Rossi’s love of country music means that the band will record a country-flavoured track every now and then (such as “Marguerita Time”, “Invitation” or “Blessed are the Meek”) — or, in the case of “Wild Side of Life”, cover one.
  • Ax-Crazy: Alan Lancaster was noted for his very bad temper and arrogance. At the band's arrival at the airport in Vienna for the 1976 tour, since they were going to be involved in a perquisition, Lancaster picked up a fight with a police officer by slapping him, and the band got arrested for one night because of the fight.
  • Big Damn Movie: Bula Quo!, a comedy crime caper in which Rossi and Parfitt (as themselves) find themselves on the run from black market organ traffickers in Fiji. Quo fans and film critics generally consider it to be either So Bad, It's Good or just bad.
  • Car Song: "Don't Drive My Car" is about a man wanting his woman to stay away from his beloved car.
  • Cover Album: They have made three: Don't Stop, Famous In The Last Century and Riffs.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The cover of Quo, which features the band's heads growing on a tree.
    • There's also Never Too Late, which shows a giant disembodied hand coming out of space to stop a rocket from reaching Earth.
  • Epic Rocking: Each album from 1970 to 1976 (with the exception of On The Level) includes at least one, usually as the album closer.
    • Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon has "Is It Really Me?/Gotta Go Home" (9:30).
    • Dog Of Two Head has "Umleitung" (7:11) and "Someone's Learning" (7:08).
    • Piledriver ends with an epic cover of "Roadhouse Blues" (7:31).
    • Hello ends with "Forty-Five Hundred Times" (9:58). Live versions of this song go on for even longer, sometimes lasting for around twenty minutes.
    • Quo ends with "Slow Train" (7:56).
    • Blue For You includes the full version of "Mystery Song" (6.33).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The band's first hits in The '60s were examples of Psychedelic Rock verging on Progressive Rock, with tracks such as Pictures of Matchstick Men. This aspect of the band was parodied in This is Spın̈al Tap with "archive film" of the Tap's 1960's breakthrough hit, featuring flowing hippy music and those frilly shirts and distinctive period haircuts.
  • Face on the Cover: A few of their album covers, including Quo, On The Level and Blue For You.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The original Frantic Four line-up:
    • Sanguine: Francis Rossi, who is cheerful and charismatic, yet also a reserved family man and finally lives a healthy life.
    • Choleric: Alan Lancaster, who was notoriously ill-tempered and self-righeous.
    • Melancholic: Rick Parfitt, The Perfectionist who had several issues with drug addiction and alcohol, even more than the others.
    • Phlegmatic: John Coghlan, quiet and humble, and never wrote songs, just supporting with drums.
  • Grief Song: "A Year".
  • I Am the Band: Status Quo was Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. After Parfitt's retirement and death, Rossi is pretty much Quo as far as most people are concerned.
  • Instrumentals: "Good Thinking" and "AB Blues".
  • Ironic Name: "Rock 'n' Roll" is a slow Surprisingly Gentle Song.
  • Live Album: Quite a few. The most notable is Live!, which was released in 1977 and is considered one of the best live albums ever made. There's also Tokyo Quo (which was also released in 1977 and, until 2014, only available in Japan) and Live Alive Quo (1992). For the Frantic Four Reunion in 2013, three live albums were produced, each one featuring recordings from a different show, followed by another featuring the final 2014 show.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: They've had three of the second type described on the trope page. The first was Rossi, Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan, with keyboardist Andy Bown becoming increasingly integrated into the group, but remaining credited as a guest musician for a while for contractual reasons. The second was Rossi, Parfitt and Bown with new bassist and drummer Rhino Edwards and Jeff Rich. This one lasted for fourteen years until Rich left and was replaced by Matt Letley, who was with them until 2013. Leon Cave then took his place as drummer. This lineup lasted till 2016 when Parfitt had to leave the band for health reasons (and would pass away shortly afterwards) and was replaced by Richie Malone.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Good Sign" from Rock 'Til You Drop, as well as "Tongue Tied" from In Search Of The Fourth Chord.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover of Hello! consists of a silhouette of the band against a dark grey background. With older editions, the background is darker, which makes the silhouette only barely visible.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The cover of the first Aquostic album.
  • New Sound Album: Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon showed a move away from psychedelic pop and those frilly shirts towards a no-nonsense hard rock sound. Rockin' All Over The World was the album on which the band began experimenting with synthesisers, and In The Army Now took this a step further with an unprecedented synth-rock sound. Much later, Under The Influence saw them move back to hard rock, resulting in the sound of today's Quo.
  • One-Woman Song: "Caroline" (as well as its B-side "Joanne") is an archetypal example. Others examples include "Long Legged Linda" and "Queenie".
  • One-Word Title: Many, including "Daughter", "Backwater", "Rain" and "Lies".
  • The Pete Best: keyboards player Jess Jaworski, part of the band for early hits like Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but who was replaced by Roy Lynes and then Andy Bown in the better-known "classic" lineups. It could be argued that a keyboards player in this band is pretty much invisible and redundant anyway...
  • The Power of Rock: They have a song by that very name.
  • Questioning Title?: "Is It Really Me?", "Who Asked You".
  • Rearrange the Song: The Aquostic albums.
  • Self-Deprecation: Francis sometimes refers to himself as an "insecure show-off".
    • Taken further in relation to Bula Quo!. The film was critically panned, and at one of the concerts that year, Francis joked that "you either thought it was shit, or you thought it was really shit."
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: By his own admission, Rick Parfitt has stated that his unhealthy hard drinking, smoking and rocking lifestyle finally caught up to him when he suffered a serious heart attack in the summer of 2016 leading to his forced retirement from the band and death within six months.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Backwater" and "Just Take Me" from Quo are this, as are "Come Rock With Me" and "Rockin' On" from Whatever You Want.
  • Something Blues: "Spinning Wheel Blues" and the instrumental "AB Blues".
  • The Something Song: "Mystery Song".
  • Status Quo Is God: Potential bad puns aside, they've essentially been playing the same style for more than forty years, and any deviations from it don't last very long.
  • Studio Chatter: Can be heard on "What To Do", "Bye Bye Johnny", and the re-recorded version of "Forty-Five Hundred Times".
  • Take That!: Word of God has confirmed that "Down Down" is one of these against the band's critics and detractors. Many people didn't realise this and thought that the lyrics were full of sexual innuendo (Francis has speculated that people thought "Down Down" referred to down there). But when you actually listen to the words, it's clear that this isn't the case.
    I want all the world to see
    To see you're laughing
    And you're laughing at me
    I can take it all from you
    Again again again again again again again
  • Textless Album Cover: Blue For You.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Famous for it, so much so that one of their more recent albums was given the name In Search Of The Fourth Chord.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Some of their later songs, such as "Everytime I Think of You", "Not At All" and "Running Inside My Head".
  • Unplugged Version: Aquostic (Stripped Bare) features unplugged versions of classic Quo songs.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. Originally, Alan Lancaster sang lead a few times as well.