Monday, 26 December 2016
My Top Ten Status Quo Songs
2016. Another one bites the dust. But before I'd even had chance to finish my Rick Parfitt tribute, the news came through about George Michael. What a terrible, terrible year for the heroes of our youth. I'll write more about George soon: I want to take my time on that particular Top Ten because it touches on some important moments in my young life. But I guess Quo do to. I wouldn't ever have put them in my list of all time favourites, but I loved a lot of what they did... particularly when I was a teenager. I imagine Jez over at A History of Dubious Taste will have much more to say on this matter (and I look forward to reading his tribute) but I never considered Quo a joke. They were a solid rock band who knew how to have fun. Which is all-important to me and makes me value their 5+ decades of rock far more than a lot of more serious artists who didn't last half as long.
Putting their songs in order led to a curious list that probably would be laughed at by more serious Quo fans, but this blog is personal to me and so is this list...
10. Rocking All Over The World
The song that opened Live Aid. What other songs could have done that? Only its sheer ubiquity places it at the bottom of this countdown. A John Fogerty cover - saying the Quo improved on the original is a great accolade as I'm a huge Creedence fan.
Well, it's not Neil Diamond, but it'll do. Quo's tribute (and not the only one) to the radio station that made them famous. I like the way they go quiet quiet LOUD towards the end, about 30 years before Nirvana.
8. Ain't Complaining
An intro you need stereo speakers for. It's weird what can turn you on to a song. It is a bit Chas 'n' Dave, this one, but the bridge "when the chips are down..." is great and there's a top guitar solo.
7. Pictures of Matchstick Men
The oldest song on this list, proper phasing psychedelia. Francis Rossi wrote it "on the bog". Can't decide whether this is the best Lowry song or if that honour goes to Brian & Michael. Still. Bloody brilliant.
6. Whatever You Want
Another one that loses a point for over-familiarity... but the first 60 seconds are genius. We used to play Beat The Intro on one of the radio shows I worked on in my youth and I can actually remember choosing this as one of the intros. I can't remember if the caller guessed the song before the vocal came in, but frankly, if he didn't, he was an idiot.
5. Down Down
Now listen to that intro! If that was Pete Townsend, everyone would be throwing garlands. The rest of the song is pretty standard Quo (nothing wrong with that), but the first 30-odd seconds are sublime.
4. Marguerita Time
Another great intro. Say what you like about the Quo, but you can't deny they gave great intro. I obviously have a thing about Marguerita songs: Jimmy Buffet's Margueritaville is another favourite. Confession: I have never even tasted a Marguerita, I don't even know what goes into one.
3. Rock 'n' Roll
A slower Quo-er, but proof that they didn't have to rock out to succeed. I guess it's a song about wanting to be rock stars, wondering if the dream will ever come true. Nice bit of whistling too.
2. Burning Bridges
This one at #2 will surely irk even the Quo purists!
Remember my shocking Jason Donovan confession of a few months back? Well, that same ultra-cool mate of mine who was into the Pet Shop Boys so much that he bled the lyrics to Paninaro, would also join me in a chorus of Burning Bridges from time to time. This is a great one to do the Status Quo dance to and really swing your imaginary guitar in time with the music. I'm not sure the rest of the school bus appreciated our rendition, but I was just happy to have been transferred from bus 6 where, for a couple of months, I'd been bullied to the point I seriously considered ending it. This song reminds me of the relief I felt at getting away from that awful situation. (Read the book in my side-bar if you want to know more about that.) Yes, it has an aggravating nursery rhyme hook. but so did a number of Beatles songs...
1. In The Army Now
You can probably tell by now that I'm an 80s Quo boy, and this is probably the pinnacle of that era. I had it on a double compilation album of 80s rock tunes - John Waite, Europe, all the usual suspects - I still remember the cover: it was red with a big pair of headphones on. No idea what it was called. This was one of the best tracks on there. I was shocked when Jez revealed a couple of months back that it was a cover of a Dutch band called Bolland-Bolland. Who knew?
The sergeant calls:
"Stand up and fight!"
As I say, my tribute to George will follow soon... meanwhile, 2016 can kiss all our arses.