Francis Rossi’s life – Coronation Street, record-breaking and tragic loss

Fans have been stomping to Status Quo's Rocking All Over The World since its release on November 17, 1977, and front man Francis Rossi has not only been rocking for over 50 years, but he has broken world records and even performed at a Battersby family wedding in Coronation Street too.

Born on May 29, 1941, his mother was originally from Liverpool and in his autobiography, I Talk Too Much, Francis revealed this his father's side of the family were ice cream merchants who founded the ice cream parlour chain Rossi's.

Francis began performing with the late bassist Alan Lancaster in the early sixties, with whom he would later form The Spectres alongside John Coghlan and Roy Lynes.

During one concert at Butlins in Minehead in 1965, they crossed paths with Rick Parfitt and the band members became great friends, with Rick joining the band.

Changing their name to The Traffic Jam, they eventually became known as Status Quo in 1967, and had their first hit single, Pictures of Matchstick Men in 1968, which has since been covered by artists including Ozzy Osbourne.

Record breakers

However, they finally achieved their first number one in 1974 with the rock anthem Down Down, and, since then, have released hit singles including Whatever you Want, In the Army Now, Margarita Time and Something 'Bout You Baby I Like.

With over 85 singles and having sold 120million albums across the world, it's no surprise that the group have broken numerous records during their career.

They hold the Guinness World Record for the most hit singles on the UK chart by any band, totalling 66, and also performed on BBC programme Top of the Pops 100 times – more than any group in history.

Both Francis and Rick also provided vocals for the 1984 song Do They Know It's Christmas, and most poignantly opened up Live Aid in 1985 with their anthem Rocking All Over The World.

From there, Status Quo were also awarded a BRIT Award in 1991 for their contributions to music.

Coronation Street stint

Soap fans were delighted too when, in 2005, they made an unexpected appearance in ITV soap Coronation Street for three episodes.

In the storyline, their tour bus breaks down and they make a sudden entrance into the Rovers Return, asking if there is anything to eat.

From there, they get unexpectedly roped into playing at the wedding of Cilla and Les Battersby, before running off to their tour bus at the end of the episodes.

In his autobiography, I Talk Too Much, Francis described the experience as great and said that the actors were brilliant, even revealing that he loves playing the Coronation Street theme tune on his acoustic guitar.

Close friendship

In 2009, both Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt were also made Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and continued to tour across the world.

However in 2016, Rick died aged 68 from sepsis as a result of an infection from a pre-existing shoulder injury.

Talking to Planet Rock, Francis described Rick as "one of the best friends I've ever had".

He added that he misses him and that he still often dreams about performing concerts with Rick, saying: "I dreamt about him last night and we were doing some sort of gig.

"In fact, when he first died, I dreamt a lot that he was there and I’d say to him ‘what are you doing?’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I thought you were dead!’ ‘No, I was.’"

Family life

Francis continues to tour with Status Quo and lives with his wife Eileen in Surrey.

He has been married to Eileen since 1992, having previously been married to Jean Rossi from 1967-1979, and he also has eight children.

The now-72-year-old musician also told the Sunday People earlier this year that he has taken up drinking smoothies and regular exercise including power walks, hour-long fitness sessions and swimming in order to stay healthy for the performances.

He said: "I’ve been practising in my room at night. I’ve been trying to sing Paper Plane and I get about a quarter of the way through it and it just tires you out."

Francis added: "There is so much energy you use up in performing," and that he was hoping to "build up to 60 lengths for my lungs" in the swimming pool.

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