The wonderful Rick Parfitt OBE

Whilst I was at school in the early to mid 1970’s, I remember writing the names of my favourite bands all over the cover of one of my books. I still have that book somewhere. I had Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP and of course, Status Quo. They were, like the other bands i just mentioned, enormous and brilliant… Quo had massive hits in the UK and around the world, saying that, not so much in the USA, but big hits almost everywhere else. In the late 1970’s Status Quo had another whopping great big hit with a Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Foggerty hit), ‘Rocking All Over The World’. Now, the good looking, blonde geezer in Quo, Rick Parfitt, heard the John Foggerty version of that song on the radio in his car. According to Rick, he told me that it was a bit of a light bulb moment when he heard it. The original song was slow and melodic. Rick thought, “hold on, we could do this and it could be really rocky”. The next thing Quo had it on their new album, which incidentally was produced by the genius and lovely guy, Pip Williams. They had to quickly do a music video for the British TV show ‘Top of the Pops’. Then all of a sudden, entering stage left, was the quite young and eager me! I was asked by Ivor Arbiter, the boss of Soho Sound House, and Fender importer, to go and photograph Status Quo. They were using products that Ivor Arbiter was importing and distributing throughout the UK & Europe. I arrived, as instructed, at a studio called Ewarts in Wandsworth, South London, around lunchtime. As I arrived, I walked straight into the band, or at least 3 out of 4 of them. There were so many people there. It was very busy. They hadn’t started filming yet. They were standing and chatting whilst two people were standing on a short ladder to the right hand side of the stage. Those two people who I didn’t know were, (Tour manager) Bob Young & their manager, Colin Johnson. They were hanging up a puppet. This was supposed to look like Alan Lancaster, Quo’s Bass guitarist, who was still in Australia and was going to miss this video recording. Everyone thought it was very funny having a puppet hanging there. Anyway, the band took their places, the music started and they did their first take of the Quo version of ‘Rocking All Over The World.’ I have to be honest here, I was absolutely stunned. I had never heard it before and I LOVED it. I was excited and was a little overwhelmed being there with one of my favourite bands. This wasn’t the first of my favourite bands that I had worked with, but, nonetheless, I was very excited. The director of this video was Mike Mansfield. He had produced and directed many music videos and TV shows. He took a shine to me, but that’s another story and one that will go in my book..

 This was taken during the filming of ‘Rocking All Over The World’. You can see the hanging puppet on the right replacing the absent Alan Lancaster. Also, the reason i was there in the first place, the Vox AC30 amplifiers behind the band..

This was taken during the filming of ‘Rocking All Over The World’. You can see the hanging puppet on the right replacing the absent Alan Lancaster. Also, the reason i was there in the first place, the Vox AC30 amplifiers behind the band..

Anyway, I photographed the making of this video and loved every second of it. Towards the end of the filming, Colin Johnson, the bands manager, said to me that he had a bit of work for me. He told me to be at a film studio next week and bring my overnight bag, as well. So, next week I arrived at, I think, Bray Film Studios, near Windsor in the UK. I found the hangar where Status Quo were rehearsing. I told security that I was with the band. There was nobody there when I got there at about 9am. However, the place was full of Status Quo equipment, amps, guitars, drums etc.. So, I sat there like an obedient puppy for about 6-7 hours, just wondering if this was a wind up and they had been and gone, leaving some equipment behind that would soon be collected and stored away. Then suddenly I heard the giant shutter doors opening at the end of the hangar. I thought, here we go, who is this then? In drove a metallic green Porsche 911. It parked in the corner and out jumped Rick Parfitt. The road crew had also arrived and walked in. Then suddenly another Porsche 911 arrived and it was metallic light blue, out jumped Francis Rossi. Then a white Range Rover and this time, the fabulous drummer, John Coghlan. Alan Lancaster arrived by limo as he had come straight from Australia. Then another Porsche arrived, I thought who is this then? Out jumped their tour manager, Bob Young. I thought to myself, blimey, Quo look after their tour manager! I subsequently, found out that Bob was co-writer of many of Quo’s big hits.. So, that might explain the Porsche. The band then immediately started rehearsing. They were loud, tight and it was bloody exciting for me.

 A quick rehearsal before we all jumped on the tour bus. That was my first tour with Status Quo..

A quick rehearsal before we all jumped on the tour bus. That was my first tour with Status Quo..

Just a handful of people standing in front of them watching and listening to them. After about an hour, Colin Johnson said, okay everyone, ‘On the bus please” I remember looking at Colin Johnson and just waited for him to look at me and give me a nod or something. I didn’t know if I was going on this tour bus or not. He then did look over and said, “come on Danny boy, get on the bus'“. I then joined the band on the tour bus.

 I had some of my best times on the road with Status Quo. Here is one inebriated Rick Parfitt in his hotel bed singing away. I think this was The Albany Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland.

I had some of my best times on the road with Status Quo. Here is one inebriated Rick Parfitt in his hotel bed singing away. I think this was The Albany Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland.

 Me with most of the band on the road in the early days.. Yes, I did have hair! Thats me with the fro! L-R Bob Young, Andrew Bown, John Coghlan, Danny Clifford, (Quo’s driver) and sitting on the floor with his arms round my leg is the wonderful Rick Parfitt..

Me with most of the band on the road in the early days.. Yes, I did have hair! Thats me with the fro! L-R Bob Young, Andrew Bown, John Coghlan, Danny Clifford, (Quo’s driver) and sitting on the floor with his arms round my leg is the wonderful Rick Parfitt..

This was my first tour with the incredible Status Quo. I very quickly formed a close friendship with them and long association until today.

 Every time Rick bought a new car (which seemed like every week) he asked me to his house to take some photos.. Here is one of his vintage Rolls Royce’s..

Every time Rick bought a new car (which seemed like every week) he asked me to his house to take some photos.. Here is one of his vintage Rolls Royce’s..

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Sound Check at Wembley Arena, London.

 Rick pretending to hitch hike whilst we were out in the English countryside. Quo were promoting a beer & cider that they had put their name to. We were on an farm at the time when we shot this.

Rick pretending to hitch hike whilst we were out in the English countryside. Quo were promoting a beer & cider that they had put their name to. We were on an farm at the time when we shot this.

Sadly, we lost the wonderful Rick Parfitt a while ago, which was a shock and, at the time, quite unexpected. In fact, Rick had been unwell and had had yet another heart attack, but, we didn’t expect it to end.. Strangely, Rick and I had been emailing each other just before he left us. It was all rather surreal. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on the time when Rick left us all, but, I do try and remember the good times and there were many. He had such a great sense of humour and not to forget what a great musician he was. He was one of the greatest rhythm guitarists I have ever heard. I was away in Los Angeles last week and whilst I was there, I saw all over social media that it would have been Rick’s 70th birthday at the time. I was a bit too busy to write my own little bit commemorating what would have been Rick Parfitt’s 70th birthday. So, I raise a non alcoholic drink to you, ‘Tricky Ricky’ and wish you a Happy 70th Birthday, Mate!

 Rick & Francis in a shed on a farm. They were obviously discussing the best way to grow tomatoes!

Rick & Francis in a shed on a farm. They were obviously discussing the best way to grow tomatoes!

 This was Rick’s favourite shot of himself. I had just produced a big print for him just before he left us. One of his son’s Harry now has that. This reminds me, I must offer a print to his other children as well.

This was Rick’s favourite shot of himself. I had just produced a big print for him just before he left us. One of his son’s Harry now has that. This reminds me, I must offer a print to his other children as well.

 A cheeky looking Rick whilst we were on one of our outings…

A cheeky looking Rick whilst we were on one of our outings…