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On the Level

Status Quo

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Album Review

If any single song sums up Status Quo in the hearts and the minds of millions, it's "Down Down." Other songs may have been bigger, others may have more resonance, and some ("Rocking All Over the World " comes to mind) may be so permanently ingrained that it's hard to remember that Status Quo cut anything else. But, if you want to nail the very essence of Status Quo, only "Down Down" will do. It was their first British number one and their first all-time classic. And it was also their first grinning, winking, acknowledgement that not only was there a formula to the records they made, but they were not afraid to list its ingredients. "Down Down" is the perfect Status Quo single, and the fact that it doesn't arrive until six songs into the band's eighth album just proves how much fun they had coming up with it. On the Level is Quo at its single-minded best. It doesn't matter whether it's driving the boogie through your skull with the relentless precision of "Little Lady" and "Over and Done," lurching loosely around the ghosts of blues and ballads ("Most of the Time," and a positively maniacal finale of "Bye Bye Johnny"), or even glancing back to their days as one of British psych's finest pop bands ("What to Do"). Still, all roads lead back to "Down Down," a dynamic riff, a perplexing lyric, and a mood that's so compulsive that you'll still be shaking your head in time long after all your hair's fallen out. And, just to make it even better, the album version's almost two minutes longer than the familiar hit, littered with false starts, fake endings, and one of the cruelest fade-outs in recorded history. It comes just as you're really getting into the groove. [This version of the album includes bonus material.]

Biography

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,...
Full bio
On the Level, Status Quo
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