Barbican Music Library’s current exhibition, Celebrating Seven Decades of Quo, is the first ever public exhibition dedicated to one of the UK’s most enduring and successful rock bands: Status Quo. The exhibition focuses on telling their story through music and memorabilia, including original handwritten lyrics to ‘Caroline’ and ‘Down Down’, along with tour-related posters, photographs, and over 40 of the band’s key albums.
The exhibition is a collaboration with the official Status Quo Fan Club – From the Makers Of…(FTMO…) – who provided the majority of the exhibits, and Status Quo fan and record collector Andy Campbell, whose 44 albums make up one of the walls of the exhibition. Alongside gold discs and handwritten lyrics, some of the more unusual items of memorabilia include Status Quo beer bottles (no one has drunk the contents… yet!), and Royal Doulton Toby Jugs of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt – they seem to split opinion! There’s also plenty of Status Quo vinyl to listen to and live footage to watch, and lots of other memorabilia.
The exhibition has proved a hit with Status Quo fans, who have come from far and wide to visit – one visitor signed the guest book saying they’d come from California! All have been delighted to find a free exhibition in the Barbican dedicated to their favourite group with the opportunity to buy associated merchandise provided by the Fan Club. It has already garnered over 170 positive comments in the guest book (and counting), with the profile of the Library raised in the process.
The library is very grateful to Yvonne and Paul Hanvey, who run the band’s official Fan Club, for their hard work in curating the exhibition, and to Andy Campbell for loaning a selection of his LPs. The exhibition runs until 22 May 2023.
Image by Charlotte Jones, Assistant Librarian at the Barbican Library