Monday, February 15, 2010

Status Quo Rock Buck House With OBEs From the Queen

By Milton Johanides

Forget global warming, financial recession, Medicare, and non-stop rain and snow forecasts, all's well with the world if Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, popularly known as Status Quo, can get an invitation to Buckingham Palace to collect OBEs.

With so much in the news that is disagreeable or depressing or provocative or irritating, it is so nice to have one thing that we can all feel warm and cosy about. I mean this is the band all us oldies played air guitar to back in the 70s and who made sure denim never went out of fashion. It was also the band you never mentioned in the company of purist rockers who went on about how "all the tracks sound the same." Rubbish!

I've got every album they ever made and no two tracks sound the same, and a lot of the time they even managed to use more than three chords. But that´s beside the point. It´s a bit like saying Picasso was rubbish because he only ever used blue red and yellow. It's the end result which matters, and in the case of Quo the result is an unmatched discography of high quality blues and rock, ballads as well as high powered R&B that jump as much today as they ever did.

Not only do they have a record breaking 64 British hit singles to their name, but at least a couple of dozen of those can be regarded as rock anthems. Who has never gone mental to "Rockin All over The World" or "Down Down". Played end to end these songs have the ability to relieve even the dowdiest bad day!

But it's not just about catchy tunes and melodies that stick in the mind, Quo also evoke an era of fast romance, the perfect soundtrack to the dawn of a new age of permissiveness and the rise of girl power. Status Quo lyrics are usually a mournful tirade against lost or difficult love, of young boys trying to cope with mature girls. For example:

She looked to me like a good girl
I played along like a fool
I paid a lot just to find out
She's no exception to the rule.

Even without the music these chorus lines of "Like A Good Girl", written by Rossi and Young, echo the frustration of generations of males since the sixties coming to terms with "New Woman".

Quo were there as a welcome alternative to disco and Motown and could fill the floor just as fast as Lionel Richie or The Jacksons, in a way that no other rock band could - at least not until Queen in their heyday. Like Queen, they managed to bridge the gap between stonking rock sounds, pure dance rhythm, and gut wrenching heartbreak.

Well, today, another Queen, the real Her Maj, at last pays the denim clad rockers the honour they deserve.

Milton Johanides is a retired businessman, church elder, writer and artist. He has been featured on BBC TVs Songs of Praise, owned numerous art galleries and once ran an award winning picture framing business in Scotland. The views expressed in these articles are his own. email:

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