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Album Review

Though Status Quo is best known for fast and undistinguished boogie rock, they were quite capable of subtlety when it suited them. Despite the name, most of the music on Piledriver is varied and subtle enough to be interesting. The power boogie is indeed here, as represented by crowd-pleasers like "Don't Waste My Time" and "Paper Plane," but so also are quieter, softer pieces with acoustic textures and progressive structures. The melancholy "A Year" is a standout track, a stark, melancholy song about carrying on after a loved one has died. The soft rock intro gradually shifts to a more powerful guitar piece in a way that is reminiscent of early Fleetwood Mac and has that band's delicate sense of dynamics. Elsewhere on Piledriver the band turns in a very credible slow blues piece and a folk-inflected duet for 12-string guitars. Still, most of the Status Quo fans wanted power rock, and the band obliged with one of their best pieces, the tempo-shifting "Big Fat Mama," which actually managed some U.S. airplay, though no actual chart position. The only major misstep is a version of "Roadhouse Blues" that only serves to remind the listener what a good vocalist Jim Morrison was. On the whole, Piledriver is still an enjoyable listen, one that has aged much better than later albums by the same band or much other hard rock from this period. [This version of the album includes bonus material.]

Customer Reviews


Piledriver is Quo at their very best in 1972. 9 killer tracks featuring some 12 bar boogie (Oh Baby) and a bit of blues to savour (Unspoken Words). For the past 25 years their output has been variable at best with some real stinkers along the way. Piledriver is a great showcase for what could have been. The opener, Don’t Waste My Time, is an excellent 12 bar romp. ‘Oh Baby’ is more of the same. Simple, straight-forward but devastating. ‘A Year’ is different, poetic and a fine example of a varied, different style which hasn’t really been developed further along the way. ‘Unspoken Words’ is my favourite – while my guitar gently wails – blues to die for. Why didn’t you give us more? ‘Big Fat Mama’ is a driving 12 bar classic which shifts through some clever riffs and changes to a chant finish – all together now – SAY YOU NEED ME. ‘Paper Plane’ is signature Quo – full on 12 bars start to finish. ‘All the Reasons’ is a gentle, poetic love song with a lyrical sting. ‘Roadhouse Blues’ is a blues-boogie stomp which became a 20 minute epic closer on their live set. A great sing-a-long track which gives a big nod to their blues heritage. Overall, Piledriver is one of the few good Quo albums around. Rossi’s voice can sometimes only be OK at best and the 12 bar ‘thing’ has been overdone. Their career total album sales is hard to believe. However, if it’s no-nonsense 12 bar blues rock you want with some decent arrangements and skilful playing thrown in, Piledriver is the one for you.

Not a Quo fan

I'm not a Quo fan per se but this seminal album has to be them at their raw rock n' roll best . Sadly, they were never able to produce another album of the same great quality but this is good enough to earn them their place in the Hall of Rock Fame. As for the idiot who suggests this is computer generated music, he ought to know it's for sitting on not for talking out of!!!

Boogie till you puke

This is the last of the truly great Quo albums. Prior to Piledriver the previous two albums Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon & Dog of Two Heads set the tone for this magnificent Quo era. Piledriver is just a bag of raw energy in a boogie blues vain that Quo have become synonymous with. The energy just oozes from this offering from 1972 more like a blistering live set than a polished over produced piece of nonsense. From the onset of don’t waste my time right through to the cover of the Doors roadhouse blues this must have Quo essential delivers it all. One of the best rock albums of all time.


Formed: 1967 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Status Quo are one of Britain's longest-lived bands, staying together for over 40 years. During much of that time, the band was only successful in the U.K., where it racked up a string of Top Ten singles across the decades. In America, the Quo were ignored after they abandoned psychedelia for heavy boogie rock in the early '70s. Before that, the band managed to reach number 12 in the U.S. with the psychedelic classic "Pictures of Matchstick Men" (a Top Ten hit in the U.K.). Following that single,...
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Piledriver, Status Quo
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