There will never be a better Quo greatest hits album than the one released in 1980: 12 Gold Bars. Featuring only the best singles from the band’s best years – the 1970s – it was genuinely faultless.
Presented on the new three-CD collection Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits & More – and the accompanying DVD set – is the bigger picture of a career in which there have been more than 100 singles, 60 of them hits in the UK. This means a lot more music, but little of it to compare with the stuff that was previously on 12 Gold Bars.
In a neat touch, this collection begins and ends with the same song, Pictures Of Matchstick Men: the original, a brilliant psychedelic pop song that was Quo’s first hit in 1968; the remake from the band’s 2015 ‘unplugged’ album Aquostic.
In between, there is the glory of early Quo, in the groove of In My Chair and the pop genius of Living On An Island. There are the horrors of later years, such as 1988 stinker Burning Bridges (On And Off And On Again). And near the end, the reunion of the definitive ‘Frantic Four’ line-up in 2013-14, sounding as great as they always did.