Rick Parfitt from Status QuoRichard John “Rick” Parfitt, OBE (12 October 1948 – 24 December 2016) was an English musician, best known for being a singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist in the rock band Status Quo.
In 1967, Traffic Jam changed their name to The Status Quo (they soon dropped the definite article and later still would often be known simply as ‘Quo’), beginning Parfitt’s almost 50-year career in the band. Early successes came with the Rossi-penned hit “Pictures of Matchstick Men”. The single became the group’s only Top 40 hit in the United States, peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100.Though the follow-up was the unsuccessful single, “Black Veils of Melancholy”, they had a hit again the same year with a Marty Wilde song, “Ice in the Sun”, which climbed to number eight. The band’s 1972 album Piledriver, which reached number 5 and spent a total of 37 weeks on the UK Albums Chart.
The band’s more popular songs during the early 70s include “Paper Plane” (no 42 in the German music chart) (1972), “Caroline” (no 36 in the German music chart) (1973), “Down Down” (no 14 in the Austrian music chart) (1975), “Rain” (no 27 in the German music chart) (1976), “Rockin’ All Over the World” (No 29 in the New Zealand music chart) (1977) and “Whatever You Want” (no 24 in the Australian Music Chart) (1979). “Down Down” topped the UK Singles Chart in January 1975, becoming their only UK number one single to date.In 1976, they signed a pioneering sponsorship deal with Levi’s.
The 1976 hit “Mystery Song”, co-written with Bob Young, was composed after Rossi had laced Parfitt’s tea with amphetamine sulphate during the sessions for the Blue for You album. Rossi later said: “He was playing the riff when we left the studio, and he was still playing it when we came back the next day!”
Quo were highly successful in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand throughout the 1980s and 90s, and were the opening act for 1985’s Live Aid, and they continue to be successful in the present day. By February 2015 they had sold over 118 million records worldwide. In 2013 and 2014, Parfitt and Rossi reunited temporarily with original Quo bandmates Lancaster and Coghlan for a series of reunion concerts on what would be called the “Frantic Four” tour.
At the time of his death, Parfitt and Rossi were the only remaining original members of the group, having remained in the band for its entire duration. He wrote some of their greatest hits, sometimes in collaboration with the group’s keyboard player Andy Bown, among them “Whatever You Want”, “Again and Again”, and “Rain”.
In 1984, the year before Quo would open Live Aid, Parfitt and Rossi appeared on the Band Aid charity single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. Bob Geldof asked Rossi and Parfitt to take part, knowing that although the group were from an entirely different musical era and background, their consistent chart success and fame would bring a certain amount of credibility to the project from the rock fraternity and ensure that the group’s loyal following of fans (the “Quo Army”) would buy the record in large numbers.
Parfitt recorded a solo album Recorded Delivery in 1985, but it was never released. Among the musicians on the record were bassist John “Rhino” Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich, formerly with the Climax Blues Band and Judie Tzuke.
In 2006 Parfitt released his invention, the “guitar facelift”, which has the backing of guitar manufacturer Fender.
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