The Status Quo… No, this post is not going to be a social or political commentary as one might expect from the title. The Status Quo is a British rock band that has been with us now for well over forty years. Many commentators, especially in the United States, often refer to them as a “one hit wonder,” which is quite incorrect. They have remained steadily active since 1967, both in the studio and touring. This past May (2011) saw the release of their 29th studio album, Quid Pro Quo, and they have managed to put a song or album on the charts most years of their long existence. I don’t see how “one hit wonder” can be used to describe the Status Quo. The misconception stems from the fact that they had one great commercial success in the States, Pictures of Matchstick Men, which peaked at #12 in the charts in the USA in 1968. There was a second song, Ice in the Sun, which also charted later that same year and peaked at #70. They would never have commercial success in the United States again.
The band was first founded in 1962 as the Spectres in London. The Spectres had a few singles, but none of them succeeded in charting. In 1967 they changed their name a few times, first to Traffic, then Traffic Jam (to avoid confusion with Steve Winwood’s band), and finally to the Status Quo. Quite fittingly, that last name has stuck to this day with just the “The” at the beginning being dropped in the early 70s.
Their first album, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo (pictured at the top), did well and charted both in the USA and Europe. However, Pictures of Matchstick Men remains their only Top 40 hit in the United States. Their albums have continually been released in the USA, but they have failed to sell. In their native UK, Scandinavia and other places, they have remained a consistent Rock ‘n’ Roll powerhouse to this day.
During today’s show, I plan to do a mini set of the Status Quo. Here are a few of my favorites I plan on sharing:
- Down Down (1975)
- Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ You (2011)
- Mister Mind Detector (1969)
- Gerdundula (1971)
- Pictures of Matchstick Men (1968)