Page last updated at 00:14 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Profile: Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi

Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi

Rock legends Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi are celebrating their OBEs in the same week that Status Quo was named Britain's hardest-working band.

Status Quo have built up a dedicated fanbase in a career spanning five decades that has seen its share of internal unrest and health problems.

But with hits like Caroline, Down Down and Whatever You Want, Status Quo have enjoyed huge commercial success, and their popularity endures.

Denim rock

In total, Status Quo have spent 415 weeks in the UK singles chart and sold more than 118 million records.

Status Quo

Guitarist Parfitt, 61, and frontman Rossi, 60 - the only original members in the current line up - have been made OBEs for their services to music and charity.

Status Quo's origins go back to 1962 when Rossi, from Forest Hill, south London, formed a school band with Alan Lancaster (who played in Status Quo until 1985).

Rossi met Parfitt, from Woking, Surrey, while they were playing summer seasons at Butlin's in Minehead in 1965.

Parfitt joined Status Quo in 1967 in time for the release of the psychedelic Pictures Of Matchstick Men - which became Quo's first hit, reaching number seven in January 1968.

In the early 1970s, Status Quo ditched the frilly shirts for denims and developed a hard rock sound.

And as the riffs got heavier, the hair got longer.

In 1972, the band sign a major recording deal with Phonogram's Vertigo label and over next few years there were many hits including Paper Plane and Roll Over Lay Down.

Soap cameo

Status Quo on Top of the Pops in 1980
Status Quo have made a record 106 appearances on Top of the Pops

Status Quo have recorded 64 British hit singles - 22 of which hit the top 10. There have been 32 hit albums, more than any other band apart from the Rolling Stones.

Status Quo launched the first Prince's Trust concert in 1982 and in 1985 opened Live Aid at Wembley with the song Rockin' All Over the World.

Status Quo started the 1990s on a high by entering the Guinness Book Of Records after completing four charity concerts in four UK cities in the space of 12 hours in October 1991.

Health problems hit in 1997 when Parfitt's old lifestyle of drink and drugs began to take its toll and he underwent a quadruple heart bypass.

But he went on to make a full recovery, admitting he was still fond of the "odd pint".

In 2001 the band cancelled three concerts after Parfitt was diagnosed with repetitive strain injury (RSI) and could not play the guitar.

Quo stars on Coronation Street with young actor Sam Aston
Soap stars: Parfitt and Rossi appeared in three episodes of ITV1's Coronation Street

In 2005, Parfitt and Rossi appeared as themselves in Coronation Street in a plotline that saw Status Quo play at the wedding reception of Les Battersby and Cilla Brown.

In one slapstick scene, Parfitt and Rossi (both in neck braces) look on amused as Les Battersby trashes what he thinks is Status Quo's dressing room, and throws a TV out of the window. He then discovers that he has just destroyed his own wedding presents.

Later in 2005, Status Quo cancelled their UK tour after Parfitt was found to have growths in his larynx. A biopsy confirmed the growths were benign, and Parfitt admitted he had been "terrified" at the prospect of a cancer diagnosis.

Tiring tours

Status Quo were named as Britain's hardest working band in 2009 after notching up more major concerts than any other group, playing to more than 250,000 fans at 27 arenas.

The gigs included their first Glastonbury appearance.

Rossi said he still thrived on live shows: "I do enjoy it because the physicality is very tiring, but over the last 10 or 15 years I've tried to make sure I am in the right physical condition to tour."

Parfitt said: "We've always got along since we first met at Butlins in 1965. There have been fall-outs with some of the other band members - Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan - but Francis and I have stayed strong.

"We've got all sorts of different things to do next year which will be enjoyable - even more so now that we've been recognised for what we do. It's fantastic - it really is the icing on the cake."



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SEE ALSO
Status Quo 'hardest-working band'
28 Dec 09 |  Entertainment
Rolf and Quo plan Christmas song
17 Nov 09 |  Entertainment
Status Quo to headline festival
18 Dec 09 |  Highlands and Islands
Talking Shop: Status Quo
24 Jun 09 |  Entertainment

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