So, the hedonistic rock star lifestyle has claimed another victim, or at least it looks that way, even if Rick Parfitt’s demise at the age of 68 is hardly that of a spring chicken. As Francis Rossi, his band mate and long-time friend, said of his ill-health in a portending interview the day before Parfitt died, “It’s payback for being a wild-man and he admits that himself”.
Still, it’s yet another icon of one’s youth to disappear. Top of the Pops in the seventies wasn’t Top of the Pops without Status Quo power-strumming their way through another incarnation of extremely loud, three-chord boogie-woogie (head-banging optional).
Whenever their musicianship was criticised their answer was simple: “We’re not musicians – we’re players”. And very loud players too, so much so that I guess if a journalist had told them in those days that the future would see them explore the acoustic route they’d have thought the hack’s snout had been buried rather too deeply in their coke trough. But they did, even if they called it ‘unplugged’ rather than acoustic.
Here’s a valedictory limerick for Parfitt:
I once wrote a limerick obit
For a rock star who called himself Parfitt …
… not really, that was a non-starter – here’s the real one:
You rocked the world over with ‘Caroline’
And your twelve bar blues that came to define
The essence of Status Quo
(A boogie-rock, three-chord show)
But, sadly, you’ve now reached the end-of-line.
Postscript: You may know that in 1975 Steeleye Span had a chart hit with ‘All Around My Hat‘, an up-tempo version of a traditional folk song that rose to number 5 in the UK top ten. In the same year Status Quo released ‘Roll Over Lay Down‘ which charted at number 9. Maybe it was being out-charted by a folk group that led to the subsequent fusion of Steeleye’s Maddy Prior with Quo in the latter’s 1996 studio album of cover versions.
‘All Around My Hat‘ (with Prior dad-dancing on the video oblivious to the watching world) was one of the singles taken from the album, peaking at number 47 during its mega two-week run in the charts!