“The studio was next door to the Chinese Embassy. We received their Morse code signals through our amps!”: how Status Quo accidentally picked up secret messages from China in the 1970s

Status Quo against a red background in 1974
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Cover of Classic Rock 320

(Image credit: Future)

The brand new issue of Classic Rock is an epic 50th anniversary celebration of boogie-rock legends Status Quo’s mighty 1973 album Hello!.

In it, current and former members of the band look back on the record that sealed Quo’s status as one of the greatest British rock bands of the era.

The Frantic Four began recording at London’s ITB Studios in Spring 1973. Late guitarist Rick Parfitt recalls back how their ‘recreational’ activities didn’t get in the way of their creativity.

“At IBC Studios we were pretty wonga-d – there was some smoking going on – but they were such creative times,” Parfitt said, speaking to Classic Rock’s Dave Ling. “All four of us were seeing things the same way. Life was fantastic back then. Our writing was prolific and everything was opening up for us.

“We would arrive at, say, one o’clock in the afternoon and leave the following morning, unaware if there was daylight or darkness outside. You just buried yourself in the place and got creative… Who gave a fuck about the clock? We were still young; time didn’t matter.”

Hilariously, the studio’s proximity to the Chinese Embassy in London also meant that Quo received some unexpected – and potentially top secret – messages meant for diplomats. Luckily, for the Chinese government, the band were unable to decipher them.

“An overriding memory of mine is that IBC studios was next door to the Chinese Embassy,” recalls drummer John Coghlan, “and at times we received their Morse code signals through our amplifiers. It’s funny now, but we’d have to stop recording, so that was pretty frustrating.”

Released in September 1973, Hello! became Status Quo’s first UK Number One album, and produced the hit single Caroline. “At that moment, Quo would have taken a bullet for each other,” says singer/guitarist Francis Rossi.

To read the full interview, pick up the brand new issue of Classic Rock, out now. Order it online and have it delivered straight to your door.

Status Quo in Classic Rock magazine

(Image credit: Future)

The cover of Classic Rock 320

(Image credit: Future)
Classic Rock

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