Status Quo: Reissues

Vintage Quo in Deluxe Editions.

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In this latest instalment of an extensive Quo reissue campaign are three albums from the late 70s. One a stone cold classic, one great, one very hit-and-miss.

Across them are some of the best songs ever recorded by the ‘Frantic Four’, from the thundering Down Down to the beautiful, world-weary Living On An Island. But the material that fills out these Deluxe Editions is patchy. Live tracks and B-sides are good, not so a bunch of wobbly-sounding demos.

The classic, from 1975, is On The Level (810). Both the album and the single Down Down hit No.1 in the UK, and the quality runs deep. Little Lady has the four at their most frantic. A cover of Chuck Berry’s Bye Bye Johnny is blistering. But there’s subtlety, too, in Rick Parfitt’s trippy, melancholic Where I Am.

In 1978, Quo moved with the times. If You Can’t Stand The Heat (510) kicked off with Again And Again, a flat-out hard rock blaster, but disco-style synths on Accident Prone were typical of an album that was a little too slick and lightweight.

What followed, in 1979, was a return to core values on Whatever You Want (710). The title track and Living On An Island were the hits; Rockin’ On and Breaking Away the brilliant deep cuts. It was Quo’s last great album.

Paul Elliott

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”