Back to Back is the sixteenth studio album by English rock band Status Quo and released in November 1983. For the first time in the group's history, it featured four singles, "Ol' Rag Blues" (highest position No. 9), "A Mess of Blues", originally a hit for Elvis Presley (No. 15), "Marguerita Time" (No. 3), and "Going Down Town Tonight" (which reached No. 20 in a different, re-recorded version to the album version.) The album entered the UK chart at its highest position of No. 9.

It was the last recorded before the group temporarily disbanded in 1985 and therefore the last to feature original bass guitarist Alan Lancaster and drummer Pete Kircher. Lancaster co-wrote the first single, "Ol' Rag Blues", with Keith Lamb, lead singer of British bands The Kase, Sleepy Talk and Mr. Toad, and founder and lead singer of Australia's successful glam rock band Hush. Lancaster was angered when the production company declined to release the version featuring his lead vocal (which has since been made available as a bonus track on the 2006 remastered reissue), in preference to that featuring the voice of Francis Rossi. He also made no secret of his dislike of "Marguerita Time", which he thought was too pop-orientated for the group. When they appeared on BBC's Top of the Pops to mime to the single, his place was taken by Jim Lea of Slade, who were also on the programme that week. The Top of the Pops performance was also notable for Rick Parfitt falling into Pete Kircher's drum set near the end of the song while the song kept playing. On the DVD Hello Quo, Parfitt claims that he had planned this action, although many people thought he was drunk. On the same DVD, Alan Lancaster also said that he wasn't so concerned with "Marguerita Time" as he was with "Going Down Town Tonight", which – according to him – was not a Status Quo recording and featured no Status Quo musicians apart from Francis Rossi.

Track listing

  1. "A Mess of Blues" (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman) – 3:23
  2. "Ol' Rag Blues" (Alan Lancaster, Keith Lamb) – 2:51
  3. "Can't Be Done" (Francis Rossi, Bernie Frost) – 3:07
  4. "Too Close to the Ground" (Rick Parfitt, Andrew Bown) – 3:43
  5. "No Contract" (Parfitt, Bown) – 3:40
  6. "Win or Lose" (Rossi, Frost) – 2:35
  7. "Marguerita Time" (Rossi, Frost) – 3:27
  8. "Your Kind of Love" (Lancaster, Ferguson Skinner) – 3:24
  9. "Stay the Night" (Rossi, Frost, Andrew Miller) – 3:02
  10. "Going Down Town Tonight" (Guy Johnson) – 3:33

2006 reissue bonus tracks

  1. "The Wanderer" (Ernie Maresca) – 3:27
  2. "Going Down Town Tonight" [Re-recorded Single Version] (Johnson) – 3:38 - initial releases contain a different mix of the album version, which was mistaken from the single version.
  3. "I Wonder Why" (Rossi, Frost) – 3:59
  4. "Ol' Rag Blues" [Extended Version] (Lancaster, Lamb) – 4:54 - This contained a different mix and also some different vocals for parts of it, as well as being extended.
  5. "A Mess of Blues" [Extended Version] (Pomus, Shuman) – 4:48
  6. "Cadillac Ranch" [Recording during the session for what became The Wanderer single] (Bruce Springsteen) – 4:15
  7. "Ol' Rag Blues" [Alan Lancaster Version containing a different mix and vocals] (Lancaster, Lamb) – 2:49
  8. "The Wanderer" [Sharon the Nag Mix] (Ernie Maresca) – 3:34 - This was released in 1988 as track 4 of the Who Gets the Love CD single

September 2018 Deluxe Edition (CD2) bonus material

  1. "The Wanderer" - Single
  2. "Going Down Town Tonight" (re-recorded version) - Single
  3. "I Wonder Why" - Original B side to cancelled Too Close to the Ground single
  4. "Ol' Rag Blues" - Extended Version - contains different mix and some different vocals at times, as well as being extended
  5. "A Mess of Blues" - Extended Version
  6. "Cadillac Ranch" - Out-take from planned single - song chosen for single was The Wanderer*
  7. "Ol' Rag Blues" - original Alan Lancaster Version containing a different mix as well as vocals.
  8. FRANCIS ROSSI / BERNARD FROST - "Modern Romance" - Extended Version
  9. FRANCIS ROSSI / BERNARD FROST - "I Wonder Why" – Extended Version
  10. BERNARD FROST - "The House" - this was recorded in the mid 70s
  11. BERNARD FROST - "What Do You Want to Hear Today?" - this was recorded in the mid 70s
  12. FRANCIS ROSSI / BERNARD FROST - "Modern Romance"
  15. FRANCIS ROSSI / BERNARD FROST - "Where Are You Now?"
  16. FRANCIS ROSSI / BERNARD FROST - "That's All Right"


Charts and certifications