Down the Dustpipe
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|"Down the Dustpipe"|
|Single by Status Quo|
|B-side||"Face Without a Soul"|
|Released||6 March 1970|
|Status Quo singles chronology|
"Down the Dustpipe" is a song written by Australian singer-songwriter Carl Groszman. He was a client of Valley Music, who were affiliated to Status Quo’s management in their early days. The group recorded it, and in Francis Rossi’s words, “it was the first record to feature our soon-to-be trademark boogie shuffle”. It became one of the most popular numbers in their live set. Released as a single in March 1970, it took the media by surprise as it was so different in sound from their previous work. Radio 1 presenter Tony Blackburn dismissed it on air the first time he played it with the comment, "Down the dustbin for this one."
A demo version of the song was recorded by Welsh band Man, who were hired by Pye Records as a studio band. They taught their arrangement of the song to Status Quo, who adopted it without changing much. In the future, whenever the two bands met, Man found it entertaining to keep reminding Status Quo of who did the original arrangement for their hit single.
The harmonica was played by Bob Young, a former member of pop group The Attack, best known for a cover version of "Hi Ho Silver Lining" in 1967 which lost out to a more successful recording by Jeff Beck. Young had recently joined Status Quo as their roadie, but became an unofficial member, playing harmonica on several subsequent recordings and co-writing many of their singles and album tracks.
Although it was initially ignored by Radio 1, it made the charts largely through the group’s increasing popularity as a live band, and reached number 12 in the UK charts in July. Its slow progress gave it a 17-week stay in the Top 50, something never achieved by any of their subsequent, more well-known singles.
It remained unavailable on Status Quo's LPs until the release of the compilation 'The Best of Status Quo' in 1971, and has appeared on several compilations since then. The band re-recorded it on their 2003 album 'Riffs', the new version being similar to the original but about 20 seconds longer.
The song was reprised, in 2014, for Status Quo's thirty-first studio album Aquostic (Stripped Bare). It was featured in the ninety-minute launch performance of the album at London's Roundhouse on 22 October, the concert being recorded and broadcast live by BBC Radio 2 as part of their In Concert series.
- 1970: Down the Dustpipe / Face Without a Soul [p] 45 rpm Vinyl 7" Pye / 7N 17907
- 1977: Down the Dustpipe - 2:03 - (C. Groszmann) / Mean Girl - 3:53 - (Rossi/Young) / In My Chair - 3:14 - (Rossi/Young) / Gerdundula - 3:19 - (Manston/James) 12" Pye, Release 13. 05. 1977
- Rossi, F., Parfitt, R. & Wall, M., 'XS All Areas: The Status Quo Autobiography' (Sidgwick & Jackson, 2004)
- Rossi, F. & Parfitt, R., 'Just For The Record' (Bantam Press, 1993)
- Leonard, Deke, "Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics: The Legend of Man, a Rock'n'Roll Band" (Northdown Publishing, 1996)
- "Status Quo Concert Setlist at Roundhouse, London on October 22, 2014 - setlist.fm". setlist.fm. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- "Status Quo - Acoustic". Radio 2 In Concert. bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2015.