A Rockapaedia Obituary
Band: Status Quo
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Rick Parfitt died aged sixty-eight on 24th December 2016 in a Marbella hospital from sepsis, after being admitted on the previous evening following an infection of a pre-existing shoulder injury. His funeral was held at Woking Crematorium, U.K. on 19th January 2017.
In April 2015, along with his wife Lyndsay and Julian Hall, Rick Parfitt set up "Status Homes", a real estate company based in Marbella, Spain.
Following a heart attack, Rick Parfitt had a quadruple heart bypass in 1997, when he was told by doctors that he could die "at any time" unless he changed his lifestyle of drugs, smoking and heavy drinking. At the height of the band's fame, Rick Parfitt and his long-time Status Quo partner Francis Rossi were notorious for drinking and drug use, with Rick Parfitt claiming to have been spending up to £1,000 a week on cocaine, and up to £500 a week on vodka. In his later life, following several health issues, Rick Parfitt led a much more sober life, stating in a 2014 interview that he had not smoked cannabis for twenty-seven years and had not used cocaine for ten years.
Rick had a throat cancer scare in December 2005. He suffered a heart attack in December 2011 and underwent surgery on the following day.
On 1st August 2014, while on a European tour with Status Quo, Rick Parfitt was hospitalised in Pula, Croatia, forcing the cancellation of six shows on the tour. He had suffered a heart attack while on his tour bus after performing a concert in Austria, and had a stent inserted.
On 14th June 2016, after playing with the band in Antalya, Turkey, he had another heart attack and was hospitalized. His management described his condition as serious. Rick Parfitt was clinically dead for several minutes, resulting in mild cognitive impairments. The band announced that their ongoing tour would continue with Freddie Edwards, son of bassist John "Rhino" Edwards, as a temporary replacement. On 22nd June it was announced that Rick Parfitt had been flown home to the UK and was described as "comfortable" in hospital in London, where he was undergoing more tests. Rick had a defibrillator fitted into his chest. In September it was announced that he would not be well enough to tour in the autumn, and he did not intend to tour with the band in future.
In 1973, Rick Parfitt had married his first wife, Marietta Boeker, and in 1974 they had their first son, Richard, better known as sports car racer and musician Rick Parfitt Jnr. The couple also had a daughter, Heidi, who drowned in the family pool at the age of two.
This tragedy, combined with Rick Parfitt's cocaine habit, led to the couple divorcing, and Rick going on to marry his second wife and former girlfriend, Patty Beedon, in 1988. They had a son, Harry, in 1989. They divorced when Rick Parfitt had an affair with Boeker, before reuniting in 2000.
Parfitt and Beedon split up again when he secretly became engaged to fitness instructor Lyndsay Whitburn, whom he married in 2006. The couple remained married for the remainder of Rick Parfitt's life, and had twins Tommy and Lily in 2008, although by the time of Rick Parfitt's death, the couple were separated. Rick Parfitt was born on 12th October 1948 in Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom.. His father was an insurance salesman who Rick called a 'drinker and a gambler' and his mother worked in cake shops. Rick described his upbringing as "wonderful", and described his childhood self as a "typical naughty boy". Rick Parfitt first started to learn to play the guitar at the age of eleven.
In 1963 Rick Parfitt was playing the guitar and singing in The Prince of Wales Feathers, a pub on Warren Street in Camden, London, when his father was approached by an agent from Sunshine Holiday Camp on Hayling Island who gave Rick Parfitt a performing job. At the camp Rick Parfitt joined Jean and Gloria Harrison, performing at the time as the double act The Harrison Twins, to form a cabaret trio called The Highlights. Following the season, the Harrison Twins' manager Joe Cohen, who had been one of the Keystone Cops, arranged for The Highlights to perform at Butlins in Minehead. It was at Butlins that Rick Parfitt met future Status Quo partner Francis Rossi, who was playing with Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan in a band called The Spectres. After Rick Parfitt became friends with the band, their manager Pat Barlow invited him to join the group as they needed another singer.
In 1967, Traffic Jam changed their name to The Status Quo beginning Rick Parfitt's almost 50-year career in the band. Early successes came with the Rossi-penned hit "Pictures of Matchstick Men". The single became the group's only Top 40 hit in the United States, peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. Though the follow-up was the unsuccessful single, "Black Veils of Melancholy", they had a hit again the same year with a Marty Wilde song, "Ice in the Sun", which climbed to number eight. The band's 1972 album Piledriver, which reached number 5, spent a total of 37 weeks on the UK Albums Chart.
The band's more popular songs during the early 1970's include "Paper Plane", "Caroline", "Down Down", "Rain", "Rockin' All Over the World" and "Whatever You Want". "Down Down" topped the UK Singles Chart in January 1975, becoming their only UK number one single to date. In 1976, they signed a pioneering sponsorship deal with Levi's.
The 1976 hit "Mystery Song", co-written with Bob Young, was composed after Rossi had laced Rick Parfitt's tea with amphetamine sulphate during the sessions for the Blue for You album. Rossi later said: "He was playing the riff when we left the studio, and he was still playing it when we came back the next day!"
Quo were highly successful in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand throughout the 1980s and 90s, and were the opening act for 1985's Live Aid, and they continue to be successful in the present day. By February 2015 they had sold over 118 million records worldwide. In 2013 and 2014, Rick Parfitt and Rossi reunited temporarily with original Quo bandmates Lancaster and Coghlan for a series of reunion concerts on what would be called the "Frantic Four" tour.
Rick Parfitt and Rossi were appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours 2010.
At the time of Rick Parfitt's death, he was the longest lasting member of Status Quo aside from Francis Rossi; who co-founded the band in 1962. He wrote some of their greatest hits, sometimes in collaboration with the group's keyboard player Andy Bown, among them "Whatever You Want", "Again and Again", and "Rain".
In 1984, the year before Status Quo would open Live Aid, Rick Parfitt and Rossi appeared on the Band Aid charity single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?". Bob Geldof asked Rossi and Rick Parfitt to take part, knowing that although the group were from an entirely different musical era and background, their consistent chart success and fame would bring a certain amount of credibility to the project from the rock fraternity and ensure that the group's loyal following of fans would buy the record in large numbers.
Rick Parfitt recorded a solo album 'Recorded Delivery' in 1985, but it was never released. Among the musicians on the record were bassist John "Rhino" Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich, formerly with the Climax Blues Band and Judie Tzuke.
In 2006 Rick Parfitt released his guitar refacing overlay invention, the "guitar facelift", which was licensed by guitar manufacturer Fender.
In December 2009 Rick Parfitt teamed up with Rolf Harris for the single "Christmas in the Sun", following on from the 2008 Status Quo hit "It's Christmas Time" which Rick Parfitt wrote with current songwriting partner Wayne Morris.
In 2013, Rick Parfitt and Rossi starred as themselves in Bula Quo!, a comedy film in which the duo find themselves becoming accidentally involved with mafia operations on Fiji. The film was generally poorly-received by critics. An album was released alongside the film.