Rick Parfitt

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Rick Parfitt
Performing with Status Quo in Örebro, Sweden in July 2007
Background information
Birth nameRichard John Parfitt
Born(1948-10-12)12 October 1948
Woking, Surrey, England
Died24 December 2016(2016-12-24) (aged 68)
Marbella, Spain
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1964–2016
Associated acts Status Quo, Band Aid
Website www.statusquo.co.uk

Richard John Parfitt, OBE (12 October 1948 24 December 2016) was an English musician, best known as a singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist with rock band Status Quo.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Rhythm guitar guitar technique; part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section

In music performances, rhythm guitar is a technique and role that performs a combination of two functions: to provide all or part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section ; and to provide all or part of the harmony, i.e. the chords from a song's chord progression, where a chord is a group of notes played together. Therefore, the basic technique of rhythm guitar is to hold down a series of chords with the fretting hand while strumming or fingerpicking rhythmically with the other hand. More developed rhythm techniques include arpeggios, damping, riffs, chord solos, and complex strums.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.


Parfitt began his career in the early 1960s, playing in pubs and holiday camps. He joined Status Quo in 1967 when they were looking for an additional singer. He wrote songs for the band and remained with them for 49 years. He occasionally guested with other bands, and recorded an unreleased solo album in 1985. In 2016, Parfitt temporarily retired from touring with the band due to ill health, and died in December of that year. His only solo album, Over and Out , was released posthumously in 2018.

Pub drinking establishment

A pub, or public house, is an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic drinks, which traditionally include beer and cider. It is a social drinking establishment and a prominent part of British, Irish, Breton, New Zealand, Canadian, South African and Australian cultures. In many places, especially in villages, a pub is the focal point of the community. In his 17th-century diary Samuel Pepys described the pub as "the heart of England".

Holiday camp

A holiday camp is a type of holiday accommodation that encourages holidaymakers to stay within the site boundary and provides entertainment for them between meals. Today, the term has fallen out of favour with terms such as resort or holiday centre replacing it.

<i>Over and Out</i> (Rick Parfitt album) 2018 studio album by Rick Parfitt

Over and Out is a 2018 album by Status Quo guitarist and vocalist Rick Parfitt. Parfitt died on 24 December 2016, and the album, his first and only solo album, was completed and released posthumously. The album includes contributions from a number of guest musicians, including current and former Status Quo bassists John "Rhino" Edwards and Alan Lancaster respectively; former Status Quo drummer Jeff Rich; Queen's Brian May; Chris Wolstenholme of Muse; and Parfitt's son, Rick Parfitt, Jnr.

Early life

Parfitt was born in Woking, Surrey on 12 October 1948. His father was an insurance salesman "who was a drinker and a gambler", [1] and his mother worked in cake shops. He described his upbringing as "wonderful", and described his childhood self as a "typical naughty boy". Parfitt first started to learn to play the guitar at the age of 11. [1]

Woking large town in Surrey, England

Woking is a large town in northwest Surrey, England. It is at the southwestern edge of the Greater London Urban Area and is a part of the London commuter belt, with frequent trains and a journey time of approximately 24 minutes to Waterloo station. Woking is 23 miles (37 km) southwest of Charing Cross in central London. Woking town itself, excluding its narrowly contiguous built-up area which extends from West End to West Byfleet, has a population of 62,796, and the UK Government has recorded its Built Up Area as 5% more populous than its Borough with 105,367 residents in 2011, the highest in the county.

Insurance equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss


Early career

In 1963 Parfitt was playing guitar and singing in The Prince of Wales Feathers, a pub on Warren Street in Camden, London, when his father was approached by an agent from Sunshine Holiday Camp on Hayling Island, who gave Parfitt a performing job. At the camp Parfitt joined Jean and Gloria Harrison – performing as the double act The Harrison Twins – to form a cabaret trio called The Highlights. Following the season, the Harrison Twins' manager Joe Cohen — who had been one of the Keystone Cops — arranged for The Highlights to perform at Butlins in Minehead. Here, Parfitt met future Status Quo partner Francis Rossi, who was playing with Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan in a band called The Spectres (soon to be renamed Traffic Jam) — a forerunner to Status Quo. "I remember wandering over there one afternoon for the first time and watching them rehearse," Parfitt recalled. "I may still have been in my silver lamé suit, which I used to wear all the time. They were playing [Chuck Berry's] 'Bye Bye Johnny' and it sounded absolutely fantastic." [2]

London Borough of Camden Borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Camden is a borough in north London, and forms part of Inner London. Historically in Middlesex, some southern areas of the borough, such as Holborn, are sometimes described as part of the West End of London.

Hayling Island island off the south coast of England

Hayling Island is an island off the south coast of England, in the borough of Havant in the county of Hampshire, east of Portsmouth. It is the third largest island in England by area, other than the Mainland, and the fifth largest by population.

A double act is a form of comedy originating in the British music hall tradition, and American vaudeville, in which two comedians perform together as a single act. Pairings are typically long-term, in some cases for the artists' entire careers. Double acts perform on the stage, television and film.

After Parfitt befriended the band, their manager Pat Barlow invited him to join, as they needed another singer. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Status Quo

Parfitt (centre), with Status Quo in 1978 Status Quo1978.jpg
Parfitt (centre), with Status Quo in 1978

In 1967, Traffic Jam changed their name to The Status Quo (they soon dropped the definite article and later still would often be known simply as 'Quo'), beginning Parfitt's almost 50-year career in the band. Early successes came with the Rossi-penned hit "Pictures of Matchstick Men". The single became the group's only Top 40 hit in the United States, peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. [7] Though the follow-up was the unsuccessful single, "Black Veils of Melancholy", they had a hit again the same year with a Marty Wilde and Ronnie Scott song, "Ice in the Sun", which climbed to number eight. [4] The band's 1972 album Piledriver , which reached number 5, spent a total of 37 weeks on the UK Albums Chart. [8]

Pictures of Matchstick Men single

"Pictures of Matchstick Men" is the first hit single by Status Quo, released on 5 January 1968.

In the music industry, the top 40 is the current, 40 most-popular songs in a particular genre. It is the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music. Record charts have traditionally consisted of a total of 40 songs. "Top 40" or "contemporary hit radio" is also a radio format. Frequent variants of the Top 40 are the Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 50, Top 75, Top 100 and Top 200.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

The band's more popular songs during the early 1970s include "Paper Plane" (no 42 in the German music chart) (1972), "Caroline" (no 36 in the German music chart) (1973), "Down Down" (no 14 in the Austrian music chart) (1975), "Rain" (no 27 in the German music chart) (1976), "Rockin' All Over the World" (No 29 in the New Zealand music chart) (1977) and "Whatever You Want" (no 24 in the Australian Music Chart) (1979). "Down Down" topped the UK Singles Chart in January 1975, becoming their only UK number one single to date. [9] In 1976, they signed a pioneering sponsorship deal with Levi's. [4]

The 1976 hit "Mystery Song", co-written with Bob Young, was composed after Rossi had laced Parfitt's tea with amphetamine sulphate during the sessions for the Blue for You album. Rossi later said: "He was playing the riff when we left the studio, and he was still playing it when we came back the next day!" [10]

Quo were highly successful in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand throughout the 1980s and 90s, and were the opening act for 1985's Live Aid, and they continued to be successful to the present day. By February 2015 they had sold over 118 million records worldwide. [11] In 2013 and 2014, Parfitt and Rossi reunited temporarily with original Quo bandmates Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan for a series of reunion concerts on what would be called the "Frantic Four" tour. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Parfitt and Rossi were appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours 2010. [12] [13]

At the time of Parfitt's death, he was the longest lasting member of Status Quo aside from Francis Rossi; who co-founded the band in 1962. He wrote some of their greatest hits, also in collaboration with the group's keyboard player Andy Bown, among them "Whatever You Want", "Again and Again", and "Rain". [14] [15] [16]

Solo endeavours and other projects

Parfitt and Francis Rossi in 2013, at the premiere of Bula Quo! Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, Bula Quo, London, 2013 (crop).jpg
Parfitt and Francis Rossi in 2013, at the premiere of Bula Quo!

In 1984, the year before Quo would open Live Aid, Parfitt and Rossi appeared on the Band Aid charity single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?". Bob Geldof asked Parfitt and Rossi to take part, knowing that although the group were from an entirely different musical era and background, their consistent chart success and fame would bring a certain amount of credibility to the project from the rock fraternity and ensure that the group's loyal following of fans (the "Quo Army") would support the cause and buy the record in large numbers. [17]

Parfitt played guitar on the song "It's an Illusion" recorded for the 1984 album Strange Frontier by Roger Taylor.[ citation needed ]

Parfitt wrote and recorded a solo album Recorded Delivery in 1985, but it was never released. [18] Among the musicians on the record were bassist John "Rhino" Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich, formerly with the Climax Blues Band and Judie Tzuke. [19] Edwards and Rich were subsequently invited by Parfitt to join Status Quo.

In 2006 Parfitt released his guitar refacing overlay invention, the "guitar facelift", which was licensed by guitar manufacturer Fender. [20]

In December 2009, Parfitt teamed up with Rolf Harris for the single "Christmas in the Sun", following on from the 2008 Status Quo hit "It's Christmas Time" which Parfitt wrote with current songwriting partner Wayne Morris.[ citation needed ]

In 2013, Parfitt and Rossi starred as themselves in Bula Quo! , a comedy film in which the duo find themselves becoming accidentally involved with mafia operations on Fiji. [21] The film was generally poorly-received by critics. [22] An album was released alongside the film.

In April 2015, in partnership with Julian Hall and his wife Lyndsay, Parfitt set up "Status Homes", a real estate company based in Marbella, Spain. [23]

On 1 December 2017, a press release from the earMusic record label on Status Quo's website announced that Over and Out , a solo album planned by Parfitt, would be released posthumously on 23 March 2018. Parfitt had worked on the album during his hiatus from the band following a heart attack in 2016, completing vocal and guitar tracks, but dying before he'd had an opportunity to produce it. Guest musicians helping to complete the album included Brian May of Queen, Chris Wolstenholme of Muse, former Status Quo bassist Alan Lancaster and current bassist John "Rhino" Edwards and co-produced by Parfitt's son Rick Parfitt Jnr. [24] The album entered the UK charts in its first week of release at number 3 and the German album charts at number 10.

Musical equipment

One of Parfitt's guitars, the one synonymous with his legendary image was a white 1965 Fender Telecaster. In addition he also played a Gibson SG Junior, a 1981 Zemaitis tuned to a B, a Schecter Telecaster, a Fender Esquire, a custom-made Fender Telecaster Thinline, a Gibson Melody Maker and a Chet Atkins acoustic guitar. He also used Status Slipstream guitars in different configurations. For amplification, Parfitt used Marshall JCM800kk (Kerry King signature) or JCM900 amplifiers with 4x12 cabinets, combined with VOX AC30 amplifiers and a Roland GP8 signal processor and a Boss CE-7 as his clean boost pedal. [25]

Personal life

Drugs, alcohol and health issues

Following a heart attack, Parfitt had a quadruple heart bypass in 1997 at the age of 48, when he was told by doctors that he could die "at any time" unless he changed his lifestyle of drugs, smoking and heavy drinking. [26] At the height of the band's fame, Parfitt and his long-time Status Quo partner Francis Rossi were notorious for drinking and drug use, with Parfitt claiming to have been spending up to £1,000 a week on cocaine, and up to £500 a week on vodka. [27] In his later life, following several health issues, Parfitt led a more sober life, stating in a 2014 interview that he had not smoked cannabis for 27 years and had not used cocaine for 10 years. [28]

He had a throat cancer scare in December 2005. [29] He suffered a heart attack in December 2011 and underwent surgery on the following day. [30]

On 1 August 2014, while on a European tour with Status Quo, Parfitt was hospitalised in Pula, Croatia, forcing the cancellation of six shows on the tour. [31] He had suffered a heart attack while on his tour bus after performing a concert in Austria, and had a stent inserted. [32] He later told the Daily Mail he was pleased to have suffered another heart attack as it had forced him to stop smoking and drinking after 50 years. [33]

On 14 June 2016, after playing with the band in Antalya, Turkey, he suffered another heart attack and was hospitalised again. [34] His management described his condition as serious. [35] Parfitt was clinically dead for several minutes, resulting in mild cognitive impairments. [36] The band announced that their ongoing tour would continue with Freddie Edwards, son of bassist John "Rhino" Edwards, as a temporary replacement. [37] On 22 June it was announced that Parfitt had been flown home to the UK and was described as "comfortable" in hospital in London, where he was undergoing more tests. [38] He had a defibrillator fitted into his chest. [39] In September 2016 it was announced that he would not be well enough to tour in the autumn, [40] and he did not intend to tour with the band for the foreseeable future. [41]

Family and relationships

In 1973, Parfitt married his first wife, Marietta Boeker, and in 1974 they had their first son, Richard, better known as Rick Parfitt Jnr, a sports car racer and musician. The couple also had a daughter, Heidi, who drowned in the family swimming pool at the age of two. [42] [43] [44]

This tragedy, combined with Parfitt's alcohol abuse and cocaine habit, led to the couple divorcing. Parfitt was linked romantically to Page 3 girl and glamour model Debee Ashby in the mid-1980s. [45] He went on to marry his second wife and former girlfriend, Patty Beedon, in 1988. [28] They had a son, Harry, in 1989. They divorced eight years later in 1996 when Rick Parfitt had an affair with Marietta Boeker.[ citation needed ] Patty wrote a book about their life together in 1998 entitled Laughing All Over the World: My Life Married to Status Quo. [46]

Parfitt subsequently became engaged to fitness instructor Lyndsay Whitburn, whom he married in 2006 after a three-month courtship . The couple remained married for the remainder of Parfitt's life, and had twins Tommy and Lily in 2008, although by the time of Parfitt's death, the couple had been separated for several months. [43] [47]

Death and tributes

Parfitt died in a Marbella hospital at lunchtime on 24 December 2016 from sepsis, after being admitted on Thursday evening, 22 December, following an infection of a pre-existing shoulder injury. [48] His funeral was held at Woking Crematorium on 19 January 2017. [49] [50]

Following the news of his death, friends and associates of the band took to social media to express their condolences. Among these were Brian May of Queen, The Who, Peter Frampton and broadcaster Chris Tarrant, on whose show - Tiswas - Status Quo appeared. Former and current bandmates including drummer Jeff Rich also offered condolences. [51] A tribute page dedicated to Parfitt appeared on the band's official website including messages from Francis Rossi and manager Simon Porter, [52] as well as on the website of former Quo drummer John Coghlan. Coghlan personally paid tribute to Parfitt at a concert with his spin-off band, John Coghlan's Quo, at The Half Moon, Putney on 30 December 2016, in which he read out a poem by fan Wilbert Soetens entitled The Rhythm King, dedicated to Parfitt. [53]

In June 2017, Parfitt's blue plaque was unveiled on Jubilee Square, in his birthplace in Woking. Among the attendees were Coghlan, and Parfitt's son Rick Parfitt Jnr. [54]

Related Research Articles

Status Quo (band) rock band from England

Status Quo are an English rock band who play boogie rock. The group originated in The Spectres, founded by Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster in 1962, while still schoolboys. After a number of lineup changes, which included the introduction of Rick Parfitt in 1967, the band became The Status Quo in 1967 and Status Quo in 1969.

Francis Rossi British musician

Francis Dominic Nicholas Michael Rossi, OBE is an English singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known as the co-founder, lead singer and lead guitarist of the rock band Status Quo.

<i>Dog of Two Head</i> 1971 studio album by Status Quo

Dog of Two Head is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Status Quo released by Pye Records. At the time of recording, the band consisted of Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan.

<i>On the Level</i> 1975 studio album by Status Quo

On the Level is the eighth studio album of English rock band Status Quo. It features Francis Rossi, Richard Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan. The album's cover art features band members in an Ames room, and on the original vinyl release, the inner gatefold sleeve consisted of informal photos members of the group had taken of each other.

<i>Quo</i> (Status Quo album) 1974 studio album by Status Quo

Quo is the seventh studio album by Status Quo. Issued in May 1974, it features Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan, and reached #2 in the UK. Like its predecessor Hello!, it consisted entirely of songs written or cowritten by the group. The only guest musicians were Bob Young and Tom Parker, who played harmonica and piano respectively on "Break the Rules".

Alan Lancaster British musician

Alan Charles Lancaster is an English bassist, best known as a founding member of the English rock band Status Quo from 1967 to 1985, with brief reunions in 2013 & 2014. As well as contributing to songwriting, he was also one of the lead vocalists on albums and live concerts taking the lead on tracks such as "Backwater", "Bye Bye Johnny", "High Flyer" and "Roadhouse Blues", etc.

<i>Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo</i> 1968 studio album by Status Quo

Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo is the debut studio album by the English rock band Status Quo, released in September 1968. It features a large number of covers, including "Green Tambourine" by The Lemon Pipers.

<i>Hello!</i> (album) 1973 studio album by Status Quo

Hello! is the sixth studio album by the British rock band Status Quo. Released in September 1973, it was the first of four Quo albums to top the UK Albums Chart. It was also the first Quo album on which drummer John Coghlan was credited with songwriting.

<i>Blue for You</i> 1976 studio album by Status Quo

Blue for You is the ninth studio album by English rock band Status Quo, released in March 1976 and is the last album until 1980's Just Supposin' that they produced themselves, which resulted in subsequent albums having a noticeably lighter, more pop oriented sound.

Roy Alan Lynes was the keyboardist and occasional singer with Status Quo. He joined the band in 1964/1965, two years after its foundation.

<i>In Search of the Fourth Chord</i> 2007 studio album by Status Quo

In Search of the Fourth Chord is the twenty-eighth studio album by English rock band Status Quo, released on 17 September 2007. The title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the rumour that the group always plays the same three chords, and a reference to the album In Search of the Lost Chord by British rock band The Moody Blues. The album's artwork is a parody of the Indiana Jones films.

"Break the Rules" is a single by British rock band Status Quo in 1974. It was included on the album Quo.

"Rain" is a single from British rock band Status Quo's album Blue for You. It was written by Rick Parfitt.

"Living on an Island" is a single released by the British rock band Status Quo in 1979. It was included on the album Whatever You Want and featured Rick Parfitt on lead vocals.

"Roadhouse Medley " is a single released by the British Rock band Status Quo in 1992. It was included on the album Live Alive Quo.

<i>Aquostic (Stripped Bare)</i> 2014 studio album by Status Quo

Aquostic is the thirty-first studio album by English rock band Status Quo, first released on 17 October 2014. Produced by Mike Paxman, this is the band's first completely acoustic album and the first recorded with drummer Leon Cave. Its cover features a photograph by Canadian singer Bryan Adams. The album earned a Gold certification in January 2015.

Richie Malone

Richie Malone is an Irish musician who plays rhythm guitar for English rock band Status Quo. Malone first played with the band in July 2016, when previous guitarist Rick Parfitt was no longer able to tour due to a heart attack. Parfitt died in December 2016, and Malone became his permanent replacement.

"Forty Five Hundred Times" is a song by British rock band Status Quo. It is the final track on their 1973 album Hello!, almost ten minutes long and regularly performed live. The group's frontmen, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, have said it is one of their favourite songs by the band, with Parfitt using a special dropped tuning.


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