ADVERTISEMENT

‘Living On An Island’: Status Quo Come Ashore With An Acoustic Surprise

Rick Parfitt took lead vocals on a song that was inspired by his year of tax exile on the island of Jersey.

Published on

Status Quo 'Living On An Island' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Status Quo 'Living On An Island' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

Status Quo have explored their acoustic side extensively in later years, notably with the 2014 album featuring unplugged versions of many of their previously rocking hits, Aquostic (Stripped Bare). It was so well received that it led to a 2016 follow-up, Aquostic II: That’s A Fact.

Back in 1979, the British chart mainstays were usually loud and proud, and in September that year, delivered another of their good-time anthems in “Whatever You Want,” which cruised into the UK Top 5. The album of the same name followed a few weeks later. So it was something of a surprise when the second single from the set re-cast Quo in a strumming, reflective mood. That song, written by Rick Parfitt and Bob Young, was “Living On An Island,” which made its British chart debut on November 24 that year.

No man is an island

Parfitt himself took lead vocals on a song that was unusually autobiographical, inspired by his year of tax exile on the island of Jersey. The introspective lyric suggested that he was less than excited by his surroundings outside of the normal rock’n’roll environment (“I’m getting lonely in my empty room”). He anticipates the arrival of friends, “passing time away in blue skies.” Despite some overt drug references, the single was not banned by the BBC or other broadcasters.

“Living On An Island” hit the chart at a modest No.56 and although it couldn’t match the success of “Whatever You Want,” the track had no trouble becoming Status Quo’s 16th UK Top 20 hit, all but the first two achieved in less than seven years. It spent two weeks at No.16 at the end of 1979, giving Quo a Christmas hit and reaching the Top 30 in the Netherlands and Top 40 in Germany.

Listen to the best of Status Quo on Apple Music and Spotify.

The video for “Island,” featuring footage of Quo playing live and of penguins in the Antarctic (also seen on the single sleeve at the top of the story), was played on Top Of The Pops at the end of November. A further sales boost came on December 18 when the band performed the song on the show in person.

Even though it was already a stripped-down piece, “Island” featured in a new version on that second Aquostic album, which became Quo’s 24th set to make the UK Top 10.

Buy or stream “Living On An Island” on Whatever You Want.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Abba - Waterloo 50th Anniversary
Abba - Waterloo 50th Anniversary (Limited Edition 3 x 7" Box Set)
ORDER NOW
Bob Marley - Songs Of Freedom Limited Edition 6LP Box Set
Bob Marley - Songs Of Freedom Limited Edition 6LP Box Set
ORDER NOW
Garbage - Bleed Like Me Limited Edition White LP
Garbage - Bleed Like Me Limited Edition White LP
ORDER NOW
Stephen Marley - Old Soul Limited Edition Color 2LP
Stephen Marley
Old Soul Limited Edition Color 2LP
BUY NOW
Shania Twain - Greatest Hits 2LP
Shania Twain
Greatest Hits 2LP
BUY NOW
Nelly Furtado - Loose 2LP
Nelly Furtado
Loose 2LP
BUY NOW
uDiscover Music - Back To Top
uDiscover Music - Back To Top