Status Quo tunes

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The Fathers of Dad Rock!

Formed in 1962 as The Paladins, Status Quo had several name and band member changes before they settled in and released their debut album, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo (1968).

Before the debut, the band had released a few non-charting singles so this was the real starting point with the singles Pictures Of Matchstick Men reaching #7 and Ice in the Sun #8.

The album itself didn’t chart and neither did their next three efforts, with few singles having any real impact.

It would take until Piledriver (1972) before one of Status Quo’s albums had success. Suitably, this is also the first time they had a song played in their signature shuffle honky-tonk, heard on the opening track Don’t Waste My Time.

The album was recorded for a new label, produced by the band, and for the first time, recorded at full volume using their touring equipment. One cover stands out on Piledriver, Roadhouse Blues by The Doors.

The next album, Hello! (1973) reached #1 in the U.K. charts, here we find another shuffle boogie in Caroline. With lyrics like “If the night time is the right time” and “together we can rock and roll”, this is classic white rockers playing blues.

Their next release, Quo (1974) takes one step further into what must be considered the band’s heaviest record, Drifting Away doesn’t sound like Status Quo anymore, although Break The Rules, which was released as a single still clearly does.

The band’s next release, On The Level (1975) had their first and only #1 single in Down Down. Again, this is heavier than most of us imagine Status Quo, bordering on ‘70s Heavy Metal. Only the vocals keep it from being all the way there. Down Down also went to #1 in Belgium and the Netherlands.

As an album, On The Level claimed the top spot in the U.K., France, and Holland.

Another notable tune on this release is a live version of Roll Over Lay Down, which is a Quo classic but wasn’t released as a single. That tune was first heard as the opening track of their, previously mentioned, 1973 album Hello!

Their next album, Blue for You (1976) was another U.K. #1, it also made the top 5 in a further five countries. Singles Rain and Mystery Song didn’t do as well as the album. Blue for You was the last album the band would self-produce.

It is now 1977 and Status Quo has released 9 albums and been together for 15 years, they are mainly an album band with a steady following in the U.K., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

The band has a signature sound (the boogie shuffle honky-tonk) and clear direction, but no signature song, this is just about to change.

With a producer on board, Status Quo got a cleaner sound which divided the band members’ opinions but clearly, the success it brought kept them together and on this new path.

The album and title track was a cover of John Fogerty‘s Rockin’ All Over The World.

The album didn’t chart that well and the single for Rockin’ All Over The World wasn’t as big of a success as we may like to believe, looking back at the history of the band, imagining them sipping Champagne on private Jets.

What made Rockin’ All Over The World so huge was its legacy. Played at numerous sports events, being the opening track of 1984’s Live Aid, played by millions of Weekend Warrior bands, it is forever etched into the public consciousness not through chart success but longevity.

On the 2005 reissue of the album a Beatles cover is also included in Getting Better.

Next up, we get If You Can’t Stand the Heat…, the band kept the same producer (Pip Williams), and sales were reasonable as the album charted at #3. Single Again and Again did OK.

We are now coming to the end of Status Quo’s ’70s era and the band would have one more big tune to add to their catalogue. Whatever You Want (1979) was the name of both the album and the lead single.

Status Quo in the ’80s

As we enter the ’80s, Status Quo moves on from their producer Pip and goes back to self-producing, albeit with a new guy helping them out in John Eden.

The first album of the new decade is Just Supposin’, it didn’t have any big hits but sales were reasonable as it charted at #4 in the U.K. The tune What You’re Proposing has had some decent legacy.

The 1981 release, Never Too Late was much the same in the charts, with no real hit tunes and they stuck with producer John.

An important feature of these albums is how the band seems to all sing lead at the same time, fattening up the sound, rather than taking turns.

For their next release 1+9+8+2 (1982) they were back to completely self-producing and to be fair to the guys, it sounds pretty much the same!

Looking at the charts, they must have thought this really worked as 1+9+8+2 reached #1 in the U.K. without any real singles.

Their next studio album came in 1984 after more touring and a live album in 1983. This one was called Back to Back and didn’t feature The Wanderer (Dion cover) it only appeared as a single around the same time.

After a few years off, Status Quo is back in 1986 with their old producer Pip, and the sound is much more ’80s. I’m guessing they argued about this but perhaps the success of the title track, In The Army, provided some relief.

In The Army was (again) a cover, this time from unknown South African/Dutch brothers Bolland & Bolland.

This would mark the end of the successful era of Status Quo who would go on to release a further sixteen albums without any hits.

The acoustic albums Aquostic (Stripped Bare) and Aquostic II – That’s A Fact! stand out for being different.

Their latest release, Backbone came in 2019, making it more than 30 albums released over half a century from the Fathers of Dad Rock (I made that nickname up, let’s see if it sticks!).

Status Quo Tunes | Related Pages

Rockin’ All Over The World

Rockin' All Over The World chords

You can learn how to play Rockin’ All Over The World using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.

C5 (C6) | C5 (C6) |
Oh here we are and here we are and here we go…

Status Quo on the web

Listen to Status Quo on Spotify.


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About me

About Me Dan Lundholm T

This article about Status Quo tunes was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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