Dec 24, 2016: Rick Parfitt, Status Quo Guitarist—Obituary

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Rick Parfitt

With one week to go in 2016, the Grim Reaper struck again, claiming Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt on Dec. 24. Best known in the U.S. for the 1968 #12 hit “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” the group has enjoyed a far higher profile in the U.K. and internationally.

Parfitt suffered a heart attack on June 15, 2016, after a show with the band in Turkey the previous evening. He had a previous attack and then quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1997 and subsequent heart attacks in 2011 and 2014.

On the British classic rock band’s Facebook page, the group’s manager Simon Porter wrote:

“We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away at lunchtime today.

“He died in hospital in Marbella, Spain, as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall.

“This tragic news comes at a time when Rick was hugely looking forward to launching a solo career with an album and autobiography planned for 2017, following his departure from Status Quo’s touring activities on medical advice.

“He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, fellow band members, management, crew and his dedicated legion of fans from throughout the world, gained through 50 years of monumental success with Status Quo.

“Rick is survived by his wife Lyndsay, their twins Tommy and Lily and Rick’s adult children Rick Jnr and Harry. No further comment will be made at this time and Rick’s family, and the band, ask for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time.”

Related: Parfitt was mourned by Brian May, The Who and more

After his ’97 bypass, the admittedly hard-living Parfitt was told he might die at any time by his doctors if he didn’t change his lifestyle of drinking, smoking and drug use. He told England’s Daily Mail that he was in fact pleased to have suffered another heart attack in 2014 as it had finally forced him to stop smoking and drinking after 50 years.

Related: Our feature on “Pictures of Matchstick Men”

In 1984, Parfitt and Status Quo co-founder/lead singer/lead guitarist Francis Rossi appeared on the charity single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with Band Aid. Quo was the first act to perform at 1985’s Live Aid at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Quo earned an astonishing 60 hits in the U.K. In the U.S., though, only one other song besides “Matchstick Men” reached the Hot 100.

Parfitt was born in Surrey, U.K., on Oct. 12, 1948, and got his start as a teenaged performer playing at a pub. He joined the band in 1967 when they were looking for an additional singer and remained with them for 49 years. He was awarded an OBE in 2010.

Related: Musicians we lost in 2016

Best Classic Bands Staff

2 Comments so far

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  1. Ray
    #1 Ray 24 December, 2018, 13:49

    Hands down, Rick was my favorite musician of all time. His passing was a devastating loss.

    Reply this comment
  2. mick62
    #2 mick62 25 December, 2023, 03:20

    God bless Rick Parfitt!
    Status Quo remain my favourite band of ALL time!

    Reply this comment

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