Status Quo

Pictures: 40 Years of Hits [Box Set]

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Talk about rockers rollin'! This fantastic four-CD set from the veteran British rockers includes all 75 of their A-sides (many of them being radio edits not available on the original albums) plus Jump That Rock (Whatever You Want), their 2008 collaboration with the German techno act Scooter. Love 'em or hate 'em, Status Quo have been rockin' the charts for four decades. While they remain living legends and rock icons in the U.K., Europe, South America, and elsewhere, they can't even get arrested in the States! The "hip" U.K. press love to take as many potshots at them as possible, which is all the more reason to love Quo. But we all know that, deep down (deeper and down), those critics probably have a soft spot for quite a few of Quo's hits but will never admit to it in public. At any rate, the band has always managed to maintain a certain quality level that may not always touch the stars, but, at the least, will always rock the house! From their psychedelic beginnings with hits like "Pictures of Matchstick Men" (later turned into a college radio hit when covered by Camper Van Beethoven) and "Ice in the Sun" to their boogie-fueled rock & roll hits like "Caroline," "Down Down," and "Paper Plane," Status Quo were, and still are, the ultimate party band. When T. Rex were prancing about on-stage with feather boas and glitter, Quo were wearing blue jeans and t-shirts and playing head-down, floor-shaking Rock & Roll. When the Rolling Stones were jetsetting all around the world with beautiful models, Quo were treading the boards, playing sweaty blues-based rock, and perfecting the ultimate three-chord symphony. For some reason, Foghat's brand of boogie rock clicked in the States (albeit briefly) while Quo were only able to build a cult following. Sadly, even the casual American fans who bought their classic 1973 album Hello! probably have no clue that, 35 years later, Quo are still going as strong as ever.

Pictures: 40 Years of Hits may not redress the situation in the U.S. (since it's not released here), but hopefully, this fantastic collection will make its way into the hands of the curious, the casual fan, and the hardcore Quo nutter. When Quo released their holiday single, "It's Christmas Time," in December of 2008, it became their 75th single, and this four-disc box set celebrates the band's history by presenting each and every A-side in chronological order. Starting things off with "Pictures of Matchstick Men," their psychedelic debut single, the listener is taken on an amazingly fruitful journey that has peaks that touch the heavens and the occasional dip that might make the stomach feel a bit queasy, but those moments are few and far between. While the psychedelic period is presented by the band's six early singles, things don't really start picking up until the band completely changed direction with the bluesy boogie of "Down the Dustpipe." From there, songs don't really deviate too much from the Quo blueprint, although it's nice when they break things up by releasing untypical singles like "Living on an Island" and "Marguerita Time." Though the band has been derided for its '80s and '90s output, it was still putting out some great tunes based around that great Quo formula. OK, the two Anniversary Waltz singles were kind of silly, but look beyond those and you'll find some real gems here, folks. With plenty of absolutely killer tracks, this four-disc set is the best Quo collection for fans, although most folks wanting to investigate the band should stick with the two-CD version.

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