From the first fuzztone wail of 'The Quo''s debut hit, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, it must have been obvious that here was a band that cared little for subtlety. Sneered at by journos the world over, from day one Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and all their fellow travellers have had to put up with a lot of flak. Now, 40 years on, we can all sit back and marvel at what can be created if, frankly, you don't give a damn about so-called critical opinion. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to get your heads down one more time...
Through the years where, gradually, they went from clodhopping psychedelic fakers to genuine bar room blue jean boogie merchants, and thence to world domination (of a sort). Pictures has it all. As a child of the 70s, this particular reviewer can't help but feel nostalgic for the days when, armed only with a couple of Telecasters (and in the classic format with Alan Lancaster on bass and John Coghlan on drums), they steadfastedly stuck to their three-chord guns and piled out hit after headbanging hit: Down The Dustpipe via Roll Over, Lay Down to Paper Plane, Caroline and the self-explanatory Down Down. These were heady, blue denim days.
The end of the decade brought the monster hit in the shape of John Fogerty's Rockin' All Over The World and the spell was broken. From here it was chartdom that demanded that they suddenly revealed themselves to be crafty songsmiths indeed. In The Army Now, Living On An Island, Marguerita Time: these were classics, but a far cry from what gave them their place in the rock pantheon.
But who could bemoan tyheir days in the platinum sun? In a nation's hearts they remain 'The Quo'. Forever destined to adopt the stance, and bring guitar-driven cheer to millions. Here's to the next 40 years... --Chris Jones
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