Status Quo - Piledriver
When I look back on my early days, at school, and my fascination with music growing all the time, there is one band I still cannot fathom. Status Quo had begun life as a psychedelic pop outfit in the later sixties, contemporaneous with Pink Floyd among others. And yet by the early seventies they had morphed into a completely different outfit. The hair had grown longer, the guitars and been connected to various pedals designed to make the sound more dense, and they had developed the driving riffs and thundering rhythm section which was to become their hallmark. There was no doubt that the members of the band were musically competent - their songs were always tight and well-crafted, often with a good dose of some serious heavy duty headbanging riffs thrown in for good measure. I suppose in a world where some of your schoolmates held up Yes as the pinnacle of brilliance, Status Quo were a refreshing change.
And yet Status Quo were baffling to me. It all sounded the same. Single after single was issued and rose reasonably high into the UK charts. Each album released saw them soar up the album charts as well. And yet, as far as I could see, they had one song, one riff, one key, one tempo and lyrics which were as banal and repetitive, not to mention aimless, as any T. Rex single. I never did understand. And yet I felt the need to own a Quo album - just one for once you had one you had them all, as far as I could figure out.
Status Quo had a loyal following, devoted to whatever they did. Their albums sold millions as the loyal fans went out and bought each one as it came out. I knew a kid at school who was devoted to them and he seemed to take comfort in the sure and certain knowledge that he knew what to expect. And he always got exactly what he expected. How marvellous it must have been to never be disappointed with an album by your favourite band. Yes, it all sounded the same, but wasn't that the whole point? Status Quo had developed a sound on their albums which, if your tastes did not aspire to brilliance, but just to shaking your head and playing air guitar, would engender in you intense feelings of loyalty. That is a long-winded and polite way of saying repetitive!
Nevertheless, of all Quo albums, this one is the best. It was their first of this particular style of music, though the band themselves had been around since the late sixties, and so it set the standard as well as (at the time it came out at least) escaping the tag of repetitive which was later applied to them. Their cover of "Roadhouse Blues" had a fuller sound than the original and if it was ever intended as a driving song, the Quo version is probably better. "Paper Plane" was their best single up until "Mystery Song", but those two were the only real highlights on the album. The rest of it was as repetitive as Status Quo eventually became famous (or infamous for).
The trouble with Status Quo is that whenever I hear them nowadays I always think of a joke album which came out in the late 70's from a band who called themselves the Heebie Geebies. They mimicked and parodied a whole load of artists, making fun of the name and delivering a superb piss-take of their style. As Status Quid they did "The Boring Song" which has a classic Quo riff and a stop start, "we're going again" line. The song dragged on forever and could have been Quo were it not for the fact that the lyrics were so obviously humorous. I could never take Quo seriously after that. I was surprised that anybody else could either.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.