Status Quo’s long-lost 1974 appearance on The Midnight Special has finally been found
The recently launched YouTube channel from iconic US TV series The Midnight Special continues to post footage that hasn’t been seen in decades, and Status Quo are the latest beneficiaries.
The most recent clip to appear on the channel features the Frantic Four playing Big Fat Mama, and is taken from the show broadcast on April 19, 1974. It’s an unusual choice: the track wasn’t from the band’s current album, the previous year’s Hello. Nor was it a preview of material from Quo, which would released the following month. Instead, the band played a live favourite from 1972’s Piledriver.
We’ll probably never know why this track (the only one they played on the show) was chosen. Rick Parfitt’s voice is largely shot, and Francis Rossi’s guitar solo certainly isn’t his best, but when it all comes together – as it does at the 2’50” mark – it’s a vivid reminder of how powerful Statius Quo could be.
Quo’s episode was hosted by soul legend Curtis Mayfield – who performed four songs – while the other performers included two more soul acts in The Impressions and Gladys Knight & The Pips, plus folk musician Phil Ochs and Green Eyed Lady hitmakers Sugarloaf.
Status Quo would return to the US in August 1974, playing a mix of small club gigs and larger shows, sharing the stage with the likes of Montrose, Rory Gallagher, Todd Rundgren, Little Feat and Sly & the Family Stone.
Other artists who performed on The Midnight Special – whose appearances will presumably become available over the coming months – include Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Kiss, Elton John, AC/DC, Badfinger, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton, Genesis, Heart, Little Feat, Prince, Roxy Music, Steely Dan, Thin Lizzy and ELO