The Specters

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The Specters / Traffic Jam
General information
Genre (s) Psychedelic rock , pop
founding 1962
resolution 1968
(reformed as The Status Quo )
Founding members
Francis Rossi
Vocals, electric bass
Alan Lancaster
Last occupation
Francis Rossi
Vocals, electric bass
Alan Lancaster
John Coghlan
Roy Lynes

The Specters or Traffic Jam was a British pop band, from which the successful rock band Status Quo emerged after another renaming .


At the beginning of 1962, the London students Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster formed a band called The Scorpions, which had to accept frequent line-up changes in the first few months.

By 1964, however, a permanent line-up was formed which included Rossi (guitar, vocals) and Lancaster (bass, vocals) as well as drummer John Coghlan and keyboardist Roy Lynes . After various small appearances under the name The Specters , the band finally managed to get a permanent engagement in "Butlins Minehead" for the summer of 1965 .

As part of this engagement, the quartet not only met Rick Parfitt , the future rhythm guitarist of Status Quo , but also got the necessary routine that gave them a record deal with the Piccadelly label of the PYE company.

In 1966 The Specters received their first record deal with Piccadilly Records , a subsidiary of Pye Records . In September 1966 the first single I (Who Have Nothing) was released. The Italian original (1961) is by Joe Sentieri , the best-known English version (1963) by Shirley Bassey , the first single from The Specters. Two more ( Hurdy Gurdy Man and We Ain't Got ) followed, but none of the releases were successful.

A new beginning was to take place in 1967 under the name Traffic . However, Steve Winwood , who had just separated from the Spencer Davis Group , had also started a new project called Traffic . Rossi & Co. therefore decided on Traffic Jam and released another single under this band name with "Almost but Not Quite There" in June 1967, which also flopped.

The following decision turned out to be the right one: Rick Parfitt , whom the band had already met in 1965, joined Traffic Jam as the second guitarist , who now changed their name to The Status Quo . The quintet's first single, Pictures of Matchstick Men , was released in early 1968 and was a great success in England, the United States and other countries. Dozens of other hits followed. Roy Lynes left Status Quo in 1970, while John Coghlan stayed with Status Quo until 1981 and Alan Lancaster until the Live Aid concert in 1985.

After Alan Lancaster left, Status Quo's “birthday”, which referred to the 1962 founding of Specters, was also re-dated to 1965.


The Specters

  • I (Who Have Nothing) / Neighbor Neighbor
September 1966, Piccadilly 7N 35339
  • Hurdy Gurdy Man / Laticia
November 1966, Piccadilly 7N 35352
  • (We Ain't Got) Nothin 'Yet / I Want It
February 1967, Piccadilly 7N 35368

Traffic Jam

  • Almost but Not Quite There / Wait Just a Minute
June 1967, Piccadilly 7N 35386


The recordings of The Specters have been republished several times under the name Status Quo . The first comprehensive CD release can be found on:

  • Quotations Vol. 1 - Status Quo the Early Years
October 1987, PRT 8.26699 ZR

Previously unreleased recordings of The Specters can be found on a double CD from 1998. These are the pieces Walking with My Angel, When He Passed By and Spicks and Specks, which was later also named Status Quo in another Version was published.

  • Status Quo - The Singles Collection
June 1998, Castle Communications CCS CD 821

Live at the BBC

In 1966 and 1967 The Specters and Traffic Jam were repeatedly invited by the BBC to record live recordings for various radio programs. Some of these recordings were made available to the public on a re-release of the first Status Quo LP in 2003.

Of The Specters these were the pieces Gloria, I (Who Have Nothing) and Neighbor, Neighbor, of Traffic Jam came the contributions I Do not Want You, Almost but Not Quite There and Spicks and Specks

April 2003, Sanctuary Records CMEDD 718

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Specters | Biography & History | AllMusic. Retrieved December 22, 2017 .
  2. ^ Ticketcorner : Status Quo. Accessed December 22, 2017 (Swiss Standard German).
  3. ^ Making Time - The Specters. Retrieved December 22, 2017 .