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Monday, January 3, 2011

Pictures of Status Quo – 40 Years of Hits – DVD review

Pictures of Status Quo – 40 Years of Hits – DVD review
Released through: SRO Entertainment. Release Date: Available now.

OK, this for me was a real treat, as having been a (Status) Quo fan for years - Let’s face it, they are a British institution! – to learn that in the USA, a label of ‘any’ kind is behind putting out a current statement of Status Quo’s history, is one for the record books!

The band sadly have never broken in the States and who knows why … It’s not for want of trying as Francis Rossi told me in an interview late last year.
Interview link:

Through the early years, from the money the band made in the UK from successful albums, they ploughed the money back into touring the US, where they had achieved minor success with ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men,’ back in the late sixties. Suffice to say, America already had ZZ Top – The closest thing to Quo here, although dirtier! – why did they need another band that was famous for their twelve bar boogie blues!
I have to tell you, from my experience, you are missing out America!

More hit singles in the UK charts than both, The Beatles or the Rolling Stones, yes, Status Quo are a UK legendary band!

This opens with a view of the N.E.C. stage, in Birmingham, England for the back, with a packed house inside and a buzz coming from the stage … This is interspersed with a few early words from Bob Young, Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, before the opening – Familiar – chords of  'Caroline’ ring out.

Then it’s into the documentary proper with Rick Parfitt first discussing how he started out playing, then Francis Rossi and John Coghlan. It is great to hear them reminiscing some, Francis and John about the first band, The Spectres and then Rick about The Highlights. Then of course how Rick received the phone call out of the blue, asking him to join the band. Then it’s discussed how as a new band they changed their name to Traffic, which almost immediately they had to change again due to Stevie Winwood's band of the same name …, so they switched to Traffic Jam again briefly, before settling on Status Quo, which initially was ‘The Status Quo.’
Bob Young is then introduced, as he was asked initially to become the bands roadie, all of that changed down the line though.

The band then changed direction thinking they wanted a more rock ‘n’ roll sound, rather than the psychedelic material they had been playing. Cue ‘Down The Dustpipe,’ which I actually didn’t realize before but apparently it took 6 months to break the charts and then it became a hit single.

Next thing it becomes obvious that Francis Rossi and Bob Young could write well together as ‘Paper Plane’ became their first joint success and as Francis explains how it came together, it’s extremely amusing. He really is and always has been a very funny guy.

He then goes on to explain how ‘Caroline’ started as a shuffle, bluesy tune originally before Rick went over a few things and suggested doing it a similar way to the previous successful songs.

Before the band knew it, they were then finding themselves with number one albums and then ‘Down Down’ became the bands first number one single in the UK. Again a Rossi / Young composition …

The story behind John Fogerty’s, ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ getting the Quo treatment is discussed next, before Andy Bown then gets introduced to the band by Bob Young and tells his story – Which is also quite entertaining. – then before too long he’s writing away successfully with Rick Parfitt, with ‘Whatever You Want’ being their first successful collaboration.

Bob Young then explains how things started to get tense towards the end of the 70’s and John Coghlan decides to quit.
Once ‘Margarita Time’ reared its ugly head, Alan Lancaster said he’d had enough too, cue the ‘End of the Road’ gigs.
After Rick and Francis had done the ‘End of the Road’ gigs, they both decided, they couldn’t call it quits and decided to continue and Live Aid was their opportunity to resurrect the band.

Before too long they soon pulled in both John ‘Rhino’ Edwards and Jeff Rich on bass and drums respectively, who incidentally had both been long time members of female singer / songwriter, Judie Tzuke’s band.

Next a change of manager took place with David Walker coming onboard and he was there from 1989 – 2000 and the band explained how he had some great ideas, such as the ‘Rock ‘til You Drop’ gigs, where the band entered the Guinness Book of Records with four different gigs across the UK in 24 hours!
His not so great ideas perhaps could include the covers albums the band did when they hit a period of writers block and released, ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Famous in the Last Century.’
Although many die hard fans were not best pleased with these releases, they were still relatively successful releases.

In 2001 Simon Porter became manager and still is to this day and then a change of drummers once more with Matt Letley joining the band and this completed the band to date also.
His baptism in joining the band is quite amusing too, as you’ll find out.

‘Heavy Traffic’ had a huge launch with the band playing a gig on HMS Ark Royal, the Royal Navy’s huge aircraft carrier.

With this line up, the band seem to have grown yet more and feel like they’ve flourished quite a bit and then the song ‘Beginning of the End’ from the very good ‘In Search of the Fourth Chord,’ is discussed in depth.

‘Pictures of Status Quo’ celebrating forty years of Quo is released and that really wraps things up.
This really is a great behind the scenes documentary, in say a similar fashion to say VH1’s ‘Behind the Music’ series, which being American sadly means Status Quo would be unlikely to feature in.

Status Quo without doubt are truly one of Europe’s most consistently, successful rock bands and this DVD is an absolute winner to me and I’m sure would be to any die hard Quo fan, but also new fans would get a great kick out of checking this out.
Great stuff indeed!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Official band website:

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