Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Rick Parfitt

The year was 1977, the location was the Apollo in Glasgow and the reason was the recording of a certain rock group's first live album. A young (-ish!) impressionable fan was there that night, just one of a huge, energetic and enthusiastic crowd. Apparently the huge amphitheatre had the best acoustics and attracted the best audience  for a live gig at that time.

In those days, the Apollo with its near 4000 seat capacity was the biggest indoor venue in the UK. The noise that night was tremendous. An uplifting, deafening, pulsating, cacophany of musical mayhem matched only by the raucous choral din from the galleries. Memorable, magic a mazing. 

The news that Rick Parfitt passed away on Christmas eve therefore struck a chord (one of three?) in Castle Bunnet. The music industry has lost many big stars this past year and paid glowing tributes to the likes of Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, but in one fan's humble opinion, failed to adequately recognise Parfitt’s contribution. He was part of a visceral wave of energy that formed the perfect soundtrack to an equally intoxicating motorsporting era which resounded to the more basic beat and mechanical melodies of BDAs and V8s.

Status Quo's 'record' is pretty much unmatched. They sold over 118 million records and had 43 hit albums spending in excess of 500 weeks in the UK album charts over the past 50 years. Quo reckon they have played over 6000 live shows to a total audience in excess of 25 million people. 

They once famously said we’re not musicians we’re players. That’s something the current crop of studio manufactured, plasticised ‘pop artistes’ may like to ponder.

Parfitt played hard and partied harder. Perhaps not the ideal role model, but there were no complaints. He never looked back and never regretted those youthful excesses. He lived life flat out and to the full, always looking ahead towards tomorrow. And we can all learn a lesson from that.

Note: The road to Peebles from Carnwath is 20 miles. Most folks reckoned it was a 40 minute drive in  the 1970s, while a good time in those days with available automotive machinery was 30 minutes. With Status on the 8 track, it could be done in 20. Don't just take my word for it, ask John Cleland.


  1. I rember a gig at knockhill i think thy only played as they could "play" around the track the day before

  2. I missed that one Lorne. The BTCC weekend used to clash with a rally, and I could have had a ringside seat too. In those days I ran the Media Centre at Knockhill for the big events. Most recently I saw them a few times at the SECC on their annual tour. They were a great 'live' band, with Francis Rossi telling the crowd that he was learning 'Scottish' and used to repeat his 'new' word throughout the performance. I think he had just discovered TV's Taggart one year because his chosen word was 'murrrder' and his accent was atrocious!