Ten classic albums in the great Status Quo catalogue are coming back to vinyl on Friday (14), when ‘The Vinyl Collection 1972-1980’ box set is released by Universal Music Catalogue. You could win a crate of Status Quo Piledriver Classic English Ale if you pre-order the box of 180 gm releases from the uDiscover Deluxe Audio Store, at the link below.
While you savour that prospect, we’re taking the opportunity to reappraise three of the titles in the collection, which contains the records that established Quo’s reputation as the hard-rocking chart regulars we came to love. The sets starts with 1972’s ‘Piledriver’ and concludes with the 1980 set ‘Just Supposin.’’ Each disc has been remastered from the original tapes and features original covers and artwork, and an exclusive poster. Each LP is also available via a digital download code.
1973’s ‘Hello!’ was the album that became Quo’s first UK No. 1, in what turned out to be a landmark year for the British group. It started with success for ‘Paper Plane,’ from the preceding ‘Piledriver,’ a single that became Quo’s first top ten hit since the arrival of their harder-rocking sound.
As audiences “caught up” with their interim years since the initial popularity of ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ and ‘Ice In The Sun’ in 1968, they then went top 20 with ‘Mean Girl,’ a single released by Pye from 1971’s ‘Dog of Two Head’ album. Then at the end of August came the first serving from what would be the band’s sixth album.
‘Caroline’ had been written by Francis Rossi and Bob Young two years earlier (“we never had time to record it before, we have quite a backlog of material,” said Rossi). It was an irresistible slice of boogie-rock that gradually climbed into the UK top ten. By then, ‘Hello!’ had burst into the chart at that same position, but even bigger things were in store. In late October 1973, in the week that ‘Caroline’ peaked at No. 5, the parent album hit No. 1. It was still appearing on the charts well into 1974.
The whole group contributed songwriting to the self-produced album, and while ‘Caroline’ was its only single, it contained another absolute Quo anthem in ‘Roll Over Lay Down,’ which became a hit as the lead song on the ‘Live!’ EP in 1975. As Sounds wrote in ’73: “Their bulldozing brand of rock and roll is what the crowds come back for.”