The Top 50 Status Quo songs (pt.6): No.1 revealed at last!
Our countdown of the Top 50 Status Quo songs concludes as we reveal the long-awaited No.1…
1. Forty-Five Hundred Times 1973
Big trees grow from small acorns. But Status Quo had little idea of what they were about to unleash with the closing track of 1973’s Hello! album.
In its original recorded form Forty-Five Hundred Times was 10 seconds short of the 10-minute mark, but had only been planned to last half that time. But as guitarists Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, bassist Alan Lancaster and drummer John Coghlan jammed the tune in the studio, it took on a life of its own.
“I always remember recording it,” Parfitt commented in a BBC interview several years later, explaining that while recording the track in the studio all the band had been sitting “in a tight circle, with all the amplification around us. We were at stage volume, and it was a nightmare to mix. But we got off on one another, and the last seven minutes on the record are more or less ad-libbed. Nobody quite knew what we were doing, but we were getting off on it so it just went on.”
Written jointly by Rick and Francis, it begins gently, relating the story of somebody forced to endure too much of their own company (‘It gets lonely on a table for two/Laughing on your own can be no fun’), though who remains hopeful of locating a partner (‘Maybe I can find a hand for my hand/If I can find a well for my wishing’).
The track gathers pace, its subject finding the person they’ve been looking for (‘Sure wanna stay here/It sure feels fine/Feel I could be here/A long, long time’), and the band launch into their now celebrated spell of improvisation. In concert, Quo would string out the song implausible lengths, as heard on 1977’s double album Live!
When Quo regrouped in the mid-80s and the song was dropped, fans were gutted. It was re-recorded for the CD and cassette editions of 1991’s Rock ’Til You Drop album, complete with an extra verse. And of course it’s now been restated into the current show – hoorah!
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