Friday, January 25, 2013

Rockin' All Over the World

What's your idea of history? The Iron Age, the Tudors, the Victorians -  at least a hundred years ago, well maybe fifty?  For all you rock and roll fans the 80s definitely rank up there in the historical stakes now, I'm afraid.

When Status Quo came to town in 1986 the Advertiser reported that their fans ‘delighted local residents with their impeccable behaviour.’ Although concert goers began arriving at the venue around 5.30 by 11 pm the park was silent with police praising the behaviour of the fans.

The Quo played to 4,500 fans in the big top at Faringdon Road Park, the highlight of Allied Dunbar Arts Festival week in 1986. The legendary rock band already had a twenty year career behind them when they played on the former GWR Park in Swindon.  Their set list included perennial favourites such as Down, Down and Whatever You Want and their 1985 Live Aid concert opener Rockin’All Over the World.

“What they lost on subtlety and finesse they gained on raw excitement,” said Advertiser reviewer Barry Leighton. “They may be limited but they are immensely entertaining.”

In 1986 the Advertiser was describing Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt as veteran rockers, but their story was far from over.  Declared the hardest working band of 2009 by the Performing Rights Society, the rock duo was awarded OBE’s the following year for their services to music and charity.

And in 2013 the original line up of Rossi, Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan, are performing a series of UK dates opening at the Glasgow O2 Academy on Sunday March 10.  Sadly they won’t be visiting the GWR Park in Faringdon Road, Swindon though.

Whatever your favourite period of history might be you're guaranteed to find something to interest you in a brand new history magazine called Swindon Heritage.  Visit the website on for a taster or come along and meet the editorial team at Swindon Central Library February 2 where copies of the magazine will be on sale.

Francis Rossi and Rick Parifitt receiving their OBE's from the Queen in 2010.

A 1905 William Hooper view of the GWR Park - published courtesy of Paul Williams and Swindon Local Studies

The magnificent glass houses at the former GWR Park visit Swindon Local Studies for more Swindon images 

Exciting new local history magazine - visit the website on

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