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Paper Plane
Status Quo
Anyone old enough to remember the early 70s might have fond memories of doing "The Shoulder Bop" to Paper Plane. With thumbs in front belt loops and facing their partner, moving twice to the right then twice to the left, this could keep many a Quo fan happy for at least three minutes.
Status Quo
Song facts
Composer Francis Rossi and Robert Young
Genre Rock
Album Piledriver
Released 1973
UK Chart 8
This was the first Status Quo record release since the band signed to the new Philips label called Vertigo, and proved a turning point for the band's fortunes. The introduction of 12-bar riffs and irresistible hooks proved to be winning formula that the record buying public lapped up.

The lyrics for Paper Plane were originally written by Bob Young, the band's road manager who went on to co-write many Quo classics. Starting life as a poem which was later adapted for recording purposes, the song would become an important release, seeing them gain a welcome top ten UK hit in January 1973. The band's mode of transport found its way in the song's lyrics as well, with "'three grand Deutche car" mentioned in the verse. This was in fact a Mercedes 600 series that the band used to travel to concerts during that time.

The success of Paper Plane, with its driving, heavier sound featured on the acclaimed album Piledriver, released in time for Christmas 1972. The album cover, with the image of the band playing with heads down and legs apart, set a pose that has stayed with Status Quo ever since.

During Status Quo's live session on The Ken Bruce Show of 9th September 2005, Sold On Song caught up with Francis Rossi to chat with him about songwriting ...

Question: What instruments do you use to write your songs? You're famous for playing a Fender Telecaster - do you use this for songwriting as well?
Answer: I sometimes use an acoustic - it depends.  If I diddly on Fender it's during practice. I practice about two hours a day, in the evening. If I find any riffs I put them down on cassette. When I get into writing mode I'll use the piano or try an acoustic . The songs come out differently when sitting down and strumming on the acoustic then you would if you use a piano. Most of the time I'll stick to electric though.

Question: Do you still get your songwriting inspirations in the strangest of places, or is it more 9 to 5 now?

Answer: it very rarely happens to me when I'm on the road. It usually happens when i'm diddling or practicing. For some reason the pieces I write on the piano stay in my head. I don't have to record it. If I write on an acoustic or electric guitar, I have to put them down on tape. Quite often it's the mood that you capture, so I have to put it down. Even the following morning, that "little something" might have been lost.  

Listen to Francis Rossi on the Quo sound
Francis Rossi
Francis Rossi answers the critics who accuse Status Quo of playing the same three chords for all these years.


Other versions
Rick Parfitt
 Status Quo performed Paper Plane in their Radio One session on 20th November 1972

Paper Plane was the first single I ever bought - I've been rockin' with the Quo ever since

Mark, Camden Town

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Songwriting tips

Before going into the studio is as important as when you are in it. More in The Songwriting Guides

Working with other songwriters can expand your skills and bring new inspiration. More in The Songwriting Guides
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Status Quo official site
Quoratory - The UK's biggest unofficial Status Quo website
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