13 January 1975

Top status for Quo

British rock group Status Quo topped the UK singles chart on this day in 1975 with the career-defining anthem ‘Down Down’. It was their first number one, and came after more than a decade in the music business.

Starting out in South-East London as The Spectres, they morphed into Traffic Jam before finally settling upon Quo. Soon afterwards they scored a top ten hit with the mock-psychedelic bubblegum song ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men’, written ‘in the khazi’ by singer Francis Rossi. Before long, however, their music was out of fashion and opportunities were dwindling. By 1969 they were miming to their old hit on the children’s TV show Crackerjack, surrounded by cubs and brownies dressed as matchboxes.

A fundamental transformation was in order. Out went the bouffants, frilly shirts and brightly coloured trousers. In came blue jeans, denim waistcoats, long lank hair, and the remorseless rock for which they are famous. Quo concerts of this era were characterised by their extraordinary loudness and a stage routine that would later be satirised as ‘heads down no-nonsense mindless boogie’.

This unpretentious meat-and-potatoes style was not to the critics’ taste, but it proved immensely popular nonetheless. This letter to the music paper Sounds shows the esteem in which they were held by their loyal army of male fans…

Status Quo: no nonsense

LETTER OF THE WEEK

From Sounds, January 1975

My verdict on Status Quo’s appearance on Nationwide can be summed up in one word: ABSOLUTELY MIND BLOWING.

It blew my mind, and it nearly blew the speaker on our telly as well.

You hardly ever see real rock bands like Quo on TV so it was brilliant to see a report on their tour. It was great to hear how the boys appreciate us fans who spend our wages following them up and down the country.

I was in heaven when they got they heads down and got stuck into “Caroline”. What a change from all the teenybopper rubbish you usually get.

But straight afterwards Sue Lawley turned to Bob Wellings and said, “Well Bob, what do you think of Status Quo?”

His reply was amazing. “I’m a big fan, Sue. A big fan.” Then he started talking about a street in Northampton with more gnomes than anywhere else in Britain.

I couldn’t believe my ears.

So Bob Wellings reckons he’s a big Quo fan does he?

Do me a favour!

I bet he’s never even seen them live, let alone been to EVERY SINGLE CONCERT on this tour like I have.

I’ve never seen Bob Wellings at a Quo concert, my mate has never seen him at a Quo concert, and I bet no other Quo fan has ever seen him at a Quo concert.

Why?

BECAUSE BOB WELLINGS HAS NEVER BEEN TO A QUO CONCERT.

I challenge Bob Wellings to prove that he is a “big fan”.

If he can prove that he has seen Quo live, even if he has only ever been to one concert, then I will apologise.

But if he isn’t really a Quo fan, then HE should apologise. Not for my sake but for Quo’s sake.

True Quo Fan, Catford

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