1968 Status Quo – Pictures Of Matchstick Men
While still in school, Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster founded a group called the Scorpions in 1962. After a few lineup changes and a name change to the Spectres, the band began playing at a London sports club and picked up a manager. They released a cover of Ben E. King’s I (Who Have Nothing) in 1966. Neither that song nor their next two releases found their way onto the charts.
In 1967, the group began playing psychedelic music and changed their name yet again, this time becoming Traffic. When Steve Winwood claimed to have registered that name first, they became Traffic Jam. Only one single came out with that group name before they changed their name one last time and became The Status Quo.
The group released Pictures Of Matchstick Men in January 1968. The instantly recognizable single not only reached the UK top ten, but it got as high as #12 on the US Hot 100. The group released Ice In The Sun later that year and again reached the UK top ten, but the single peaked at only #70 in the US.
After some drooping sales for their first few albums, the group signed with Vertigo Records. The group changed direction and began playing hard rock instead of psychedelic music. Beginning in 1972, they charted with at twenty top ten records in the UK and countless top forty singles.
The group has released over 100 singles and is one of the most successful groups in the UK. Their only UK number one was the single Down Down in late 1974.
Meanwhile, in the US: crickets. No notice of the group at all.
In 1996, the group covered Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys. Not only did the original group provide some vocals on the song, they even showed up for the video (of course Mike showed up to sing, but even Brian was there!) Sadly, not even that could put them back on the charts in the US.
The band is still active, and they released their 33rd album in 2019.
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