Exhibition Review: Celebrating Seven Decades Of Status Quo @ Barbican

on Sunday, May 21, 2023
Celebrating Seven Decades Of Status Quo at Barbican Centre, London (16 Feb - 22 May 2023) // Words: Saam Das

British rock outfit Status Quo have been "rocking all over the world" (ahem) since the Sixties, with over fifty UK Top 40 charting singles and twenty five UK top ten albums, making them one of the most successful bands of all time. Unsurprisingly, they've built up a considerable fanbase over the years, culminating in a free new exhibition based within the Library of the Barbican Centre in London, Celebrating Seven Decades Of Status Quo.

Lovingly organised by the official Status Quo fanclub (From The Makers Of) alongside collector Andy Campbell, the Celebrating Seven Decades Of Status Quo is a veritable smorgasbord of memorabilia, taking attendees on a time travelling tour through the band's history. There are tour posters aplenty, Gold certified records, handwritten lyrics, ticket stubs and press coverage from over the years, and much, much more.

The comprehensive exhibition explores Status Quo's humbler beginnings, from playing Butlin's shows (where the band's founders met future member Rick Parfitt) and going through a variety of name changes. Early single releases are on display, including the aptly titled 'Almost But Not Quite There'.

The subsequent success of the bandis covered decade by decade, with various collectables ranging from Status Quo-themed beers to amusingly captioned Toby Jugs. The band's incredible longevity is captured well through archive performance footage as well as an entire wall of their album covers, noting each record's UK charting peak. We also get an intriguing look at the collage-led process behind the album artwork for 'If You Can't Stand The Heat', complete with invoices.

For any music fan, Celebrating Seven Decades Of Status Quo is a fascinating glimpse into the history of one of the UK's most iconic bands.

Celebrating Seven Decades Of Status Quo runs until 22 May 2023 at London's Barbican Centre, with free entry. Find more info at barbican.org.uk.

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