Francis Rossi OBE (Status Quo)
Best known for being a co-founder of the English rock band Status Quo , British singer and Guitarist Francis Rossi, OBE was born 29th May 1949. Status Quo were orignially called The Spectres & were founded by schoolboys Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster in 1962. After a number of lineup changes, the band became “The Status Quo” in late 1967, finally settling on the name “Status Quo” in 1969. They have recorded over 60 chart hits in the UK, more than any other rock group. 22 of these have reached the UK Top Ten. The origins of Status Quo were in the rock and roll freakbeat band “The Spectres” formed in 1962.Rossi and Lancaster played their first gig at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich, London. In 1963 they added drummer John Coghlan.
They began writing their own material and after a year met Rick Parfitt who was playing with a cabaret band called The Highlights. By the end of 1965 Rossi and Parfitt, who had become close friends, made a commitment to continue working together. On 18 July 1966 The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records, releasing two singles that year, “I (Who Have Nothing)” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (written by Alan Lancaster), and one the next year called “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”. By 1967, the group had discovered psychedelia At this time the line-up also included organist Roy Lynes. They released another single “Almost But Not Quite There” which was also a flop. In late 1967 the band became The Status Quo, and in January 1968 they released the psychedelic-flavoured “Pictures of Matchstick Men”. Rick Parfitt was invited to join the band just as the song hit the UK Singles Chart, reaching Number 7. “Matchstick Men” also became their only Top 40 hit single in the United States. Though the follow-up was the unsuccessful single, “Black Veils of Melancholy”, they had a hit again the same year with the poppy, Marty Wilde penned “Ice in the Sun”, which climbed to Number 8.After their second album Spare Parts failed to impact commercially, the band, disillusioned with their musical direction, abandoned pop psychedelia and Carnaby Street fashions in favour of a hard rock/boogie sound, faded denims and T-shirts, an image which was to become their trademark throughout the 1970s.
After two well-received but relatively poor selling albums in 1970 and 1971, their major breakthrough came when they signed with the heavy rock and progressive label Vertigo. Their first album for Vertigo, Piledriver was released in 1972, and heralded an even heavier, self-produced sound. This album was essentially the stylistic template for each album they released up until Blue for You in 1976. During this period, and throughout the rest of the 1970s, they became one of the UK’s leading rock bands, gaining a faithful following due to their relentless touring and energetic live gigs. Quo’s more popular songs from this era include “Paper Plane”, “Caroline”, “Down Down”, “Rain”, “Rockin’ All Over the World” and “Whatever You Want”. “Down Down” topped the UK Singles Chart in January 1975, becoming their only UK number one single to date . In 1976, they signed a pioneering sponsorship deal with Levi’s. To date Quo have sold approximately 128 million records worldwide. They released their latest album Live on Stage O2 in 2013. Sadly though Rick Parfitt died on 23 December 2016.