Tonight (March 16th) on the world famous Classic Album at Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing Status Quo’s Blue for You.
The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.
Founded as The Scorpions by schoolmates Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster in London in 1962, the band would evolve into The Status Quo in 1967 before settling on simply Status Quo in 1969.
Embracing the psychedelic era, the band had its first hit in 1967 with the trippy Pictures of Matchstick Men, which reached number seven in the UK and would be their only Top 40 hit in the US.
In the early ’70s, with psychedelia becoming passé, Status Quo changed their sound to a more hard rock, blues influenced style. Their first two ’70s albums – Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon and Dog of Two Head – fared poorly commercially, and so the band left their record label Pye and signed with the more recognised Vertigo Records, which was at the forefront of hard rock and prog rock during this era.
From their fifth album, 1972’s Piledriver, Status Quo began to self-produce their records, replicating the sound of their live shows. On Piledriver they developed a heavier sound that stopped just short of heavy metal. It began a sustained period of chart success that would continue into the 1980s.
By 1976 the band were something of a phenomenon in Europe, though Stateside success continued to elude Status Quo. A sign of their popularity is the sponsorship deal they signed with jeans manufacturer Levi’s in the mid-70s.
Quo’s ninth studio album, 1976’s Blue for You would be the last of their heavier albums. At this point the line-up consisted of Francis Rossi (guitar, vocals), Rick Parfitt (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Alan Lancaster (bass, guitar, vocals) and John Coghlan (drums). The quartet had developed the nickname of the “Frantic Four.” Joining them for the Blue for You sessions at London’s Phonogram Studios were pianist Andy Bown and harmonica player Bob Young.
Musically, Blue for You sees the band continue to develop their distinctive boogie shuffle sound. Their roots in the 1960s blues scene are called back to on the melancholic title track, a respite from the speedy rockers that make up the bulk of the album.
In its original release, Blue for You features nine tracks. On Side A are Is There a Better Way; Mad About the Boy; Ring of a Change; Blue for You; and Rain. On Side B are Rolling Home; That’s a Fact; Ease Your Mind; and Mystery Song.
Released in March 1976, Blue for You debuted at number one on the UK album chart, holding its position for three weeks. Released as a single, Rain peaked at number seven and was later followed by Mystery Song, which reached number 11. The album would sell over 100,000 copies in the UK, France and Spain, and over 150,000 in Australia.
Status Quo would soon enter their most commercially successful period with the release of Rockin’ All Over the World, but Blue for You sees the band at the peak of their hard rock era. You can hear it in full at midnight tonight on Radio Nova.