This month Martin Cooper pays tribute to Rick Parfitt, Status Quo’s recently departed rhythm guitar ace and king of British boogie.
One of the most easily identifiable guitar partnerships of all time, both visually and sonically, Rick and long-term band mate Francis Rossi were the lynchpins of Status Quo from the mid ‘60s onwards. Their pile-driving guitar rhythms and melodic rock and roll songwriting will be sadly missed, but Rick left behind a plethora of classic songs and memories for millions of fans.
The band began to find fame, particularly in the UK, with their third album and first for major label Vertigo, 1972’s Piledriver. This album served as a blueprint to the thumping rhythms and catchy melodies they provided with each successive album, while they built a following as one of the greatest live acts the UK has ever seen. One of Quo’s best-known songs was actually written by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty. Rockin’ All Over The World has become a classic since Quo recorded it in 1977, especially with their unforgettable intro performance to 1985’s Live Aid. It was this gig that convinced Quo to continue, having decided that they were probably going to call it a day.
Though they never fully broke in America, they continue to have a massive fanbase in the UK and Europe, and it is with great sadness that fans will continue to listen to the band, knowing there will be no more new music or touring from Rick Parfitt. He had actually announced his retirement from live gigs with the band shortly before his death.
The track this month is in the key of G (G-A-B-C-D-E-F#) but has mostly F Natural notes and F Major chords (without many F#s) which means G Mixolydian (G-A-B-C-D-E-F); and then into C Major (C-D-E-F-G-A-B). There’s also one passing chord of D with F# in the bass. The chart is written using simple chord symbols, but listen out for the low E bass note that gives a C/E sound, and also the Csus4 sounding chords in the last two bars of the intro. The main chords use root and 5th, moving the 5th to the 6th in true Quo style.
The solo is a melodic piece that begins with some Hawaiian style 6th intervals, then moves between the C Major Pentatonic (C-D-E-G-A) and C Major scale. It’s not technically difficult, but even this short track will test your stamina - Parfitt and Rossi played spot-on guitar rhythms for two hours a night for nearly 50 years!
RICK PARFITT LEFT BEHIND A PLETHORA Of CLASSIC SONGS AND MEMORIES FOR MILLIONS Of FANS AROUND THE WORLD
NEXT MONTH Martin looks at early ‘80s onwards Genesis, and guitarist Mike Rutherford