Christmas Eve brings the sad news, at the end of a year in which we’ve lost so many greats in the world of music, that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away today, at the age of 68. He died in hospital in Marbella, Spain as a result of a severe infection.
Parfitt, singer, writer and rhythm guitarist with Status Quo for nearly 50 years, had been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening (22) as a result of complications with a shoulder injury, incurred by a heavy fall. It had been announced in September that he had been ordered to rest at least until the end of the year after a heart attack and associated complications, following a Quo performance in Turkey in June.
Rick had been looking forward to launching a solo career and publishing his autobiography in 2017. He is survived by his wife Lyndsay, their twins Tommy and Lily and Rick’s adult children Rick Jnr and Harry. A statement from the family and Quo manager Simon Porter said: “He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, fellow band members, management, crew and his dedicated legion of fans from throughout the world, gained through 50 years of monumental success with Status Quo.
“No further comment will be made at this time and Rick’s family, and the band, ask for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time.” Rick Parfitt Jnr wrote on Twitter: “I cannot describe the sadness I feel right now. To many he was a rockstar, to me he was simply ‘Dad’, and I loved him hugely. RIP Pappa Parf.” Midge Ure tweeted: “Dreadfully sad. Lovely man. Thoughts go out to his family and friends.” Brian May wrote: “Shocked and so sad to hear of the passing of Rick Parfitt. Hard to find words. You truly joyfully rocked our world. RIP dear buddy. Bri.”
Parfitt was an integral part of his beloved Status Quo from the era of their first hit ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ in early 1968, through their extraordinary track record of 57 top 40 UK hits, 66 top 75 appearances and 40 top 40 albums. Four of those brought them No. 1 success, with 1973’s Hello, 1975’s On The Level, the 1976 album Blue For You and 1982’s album named for that year.
Born in Woking, Surrey on 12 October, 1948, Richard John Parfitt performed at an earty age in holiday camps in England and was later invited to join the band Traffic Jam, featuring his soon-to-be fellow frontman Francis Rossi and fellow Quo founders Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan.
Both ‘Matchstick Men’ and ‘Ice In The Sun’ were UK top ten hits but their success was somewhat patchy until they hit their hard-rocking, denim-clad stride, typified by one of their three hits in 1973, ‘Caroline.’ Quo’s one chart-topping UK single was with the similarly hedonistic ‘Down Down’ in 1974. Parfitt and Rossi both appeared on Band Aid’s all-star ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ fundraiser in 1984 and, the following year, Quo memorably opened the similarly epoch-making Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium.
The band’s career album sales are estimated to be close to 130 million, and they have continued to delight longtime fans and reach new audiences in the 21st century, notably with their two Aquostic albums, featuring unplugged performances of their hits. Parfitt and Rossi were both awarded OBEs in 2010.
“This band hasn’t just gone zoom,” Parfitt told Melody Maker in 1976. “It wasn’t there overnight. It came up as a working band with a healthy reputation. That is why I think the Quo audience is like it is because a lot of these kids remember the days in the clubs and they’ve stayed with us. Because they’ve known us for long time, they have a respect for us.
“It’s a lovely warm feeling between Quo and the fans. They’re a great bunch. They’re getting renowned as a Quo audience. There’s nothing like it. The kids have noticed how we’ve stuck together, plus the fact that I think the band has something not one hundred per cent in its music but in the four members in the band.”
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