There are records which could only have topped the charts in January (a phenomenon I’ve always known as the “Babylon Zoo effect”, though it far predates them). And there are records which are somehow January-ish: “Down Down” is one of them. A bracing, uncomplicated dollop of rock as the decorations go down and the festivants look ruefully at their waistlines. In the Summer this might be stodgy, the sort of number one that squats at the top and muscles brighter hits out the way. At this time of year though its hooky, muscular action is far more palatable.
Quo are an odd band – their reputation (such as it is) rests on the idea that almost all their records, barring the early stuff, sound exactly the same. As a result of this they are both icons and figures of vague fun – the Coronation Street plot from a few years back, where one middle-aged character idolised the band and just missed out on meeting them, couldn’t really have worked with any other group. Quo had the right comedy-drama combination of being a believable band for a bloke that age to admire, without being a respectable one. You could imagine a female character of equivalent age having Barry Manilow at the heart of the storyline, or an older or squarer one admiring Cliff. Which comparisons suggest that emotionally Status Quo are part of a light entertainment tradition as much as a rock n roll one, yet another point in British music where the two intertwine.